(First century)
St. Zachary and St. Elizabeth were the father and the mother of St. John the Baptist, the last and the greatest of the prophets and the harbinger of Jesus.
St. Zachary’s story is told in the first chapter of St. Luke. He spoke one of the three canticles of the New Testament, which is known as the Benedictus. It is recited in the prayers of priests as part of their liturgical worship.
St. Zachary was inspired by God through an angel to give St. John the Baptist his name. St. Zachary was martyred in the Temple of Jerusalem by the Jews. The martyrs of the Old Testament run from A to Z, from Abel, the son of Adam and the first martyr, to Zachary, the father of John the Baptist and the last martyr of the Old Testament.
St. Elizabeth was the cousin of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was to her that Mary went after she had conceived her Child, and after she learned that Elizabeth had conceived hers.
The second phrase in the Hail Mary, “Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,” was given us by St. Elizabeth. And so, her memory is beautifully kept in the Rosary, where this phrase is mentioned 53 times. St. Elizabeth’s first greeting to Our Lady, when she saw her standing in her doorway was: “Whence is this to me that the Mother of my Lord should come to me!” This was a sheer and unequivocal way of proclaiming Mary, her own cousin, to be the Mother of God.
Adapted by A.J. Valentini