Body and Blood of Christ

Zechariah

Yemenite_Jew

Zechariah was a Temple priest who belonged to the division of Abijah, the eighth of twenty-four divisions of priests who carried out, in turn, the daily service of the Temple. Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth were saintly Israelites who faithfully observed the law of God. Like Abraham and Sarah, he and his wife were elderly, and, humanly speaking, must remain childless. Hence the child to be born was in a special way a gift of God, a child of grace like Isaac and Samuel. To Zechariah had fallen the highest priestly duty of burning fresh incense on the altar which stood before the Holy of Holies. It was an auspicious moment for a divine message. A startling message indeed: in old age he will father a son - to be born of his elderly and barren wife!

Zechariah's request for a sign betrayed understandable scepticism. The sign he received was also a rebuke; he will be dumb and deaf. The ceremony of offering incense was simple and brief and the people who awaited the priestly blessing wondered at the delay. When the priest emerged they recognised in his dumbness the effect of a vision, while he conveyed as much to them by signs. Zechariah was not one of the priests who lived in Jerusalem; his home was in a village in the hill country of Judaea. Soon after, in line with the heavenly message, his wife Elizabeth conceived.

Zechariah was a righteous man. He was human enough, however, to be taken aback. The ways of God can seem very strange, incredible indeed, even to a saintly man.
                                                                                      Wilfrid Harrington.

 

 

 

 

 

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Tapestry detail from the Vatican Museum depicting the Ressurection of Christ

 

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