The Vigil of St. John the Baptist
Epistle • Jeremias 1:4-10
Lesson from the Prophet Jeremias.
[The Church applies to St. John the history of Jeremias, who was also sanctified from his mothers womb to be a prophet of God.]
In those days the word of the Lord came to me, saying: Before I formed thee in the bowels of thy mother, I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and made thee a prophet unto the nations. And I said: Ah, ah, ah, Lord God; behold I cannot speak, for I am a child.
And the Lord said to me: Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee: and whatever I shall command thee, thou shalt speak. Be not afraid at their presence: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord. And the Lord put forth His hand, and touched my mouth: and the Lord said to me: Behold I have given My words in thy mouth: lo, I have set thee this day over the nations, and over kingdoms, to root up, and to pull down, and to waste, and to destroy, and to build, and to plant: saith the Lord almighty.
Gospel • Luke 1:5-17
The beginning of the holy Gospel according to St. Luke.
[The angelic announcement of the conception and birth of St. John the Baptist.]
There was, in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zachary, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name Elizabeth: and they were both just before God, walking in all the commandments and justifications of the Lord without blame. And they had no son, for that Elizabeth was barren, and they both were well advanced in years.
And it came to pass, when he executed his priestly function, in the order of his course, before God, according to the custom of the priestly office, it was his lot to offer incense, going into the temple of the Lord; and all the multitude of the people was praying without at the hour of incense. And there appeared to him an Angel of the Lord, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zachary seeing him was troubled, and fear fell upon him; but the Angel said to him: Fear not, Zachary, for thy prayer is heard, and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John: and thou shalt have joy and gladness, and many shall rejoice at his nativity.
For he shall be great before the Lord: and shall drink no wine nor strong drink, and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mothers womb. And he shall convert many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God: and he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias, that he may turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the incredulous to the wisdom of the just, to prepare unto the Lord a perfect people.