Elizabeth and Zechariah never stop praying that God would bless their marriage with a child, even though it seemed impossible as they grew elderly. Zechariah was a priest in the temple in Jerusalem. One day, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and announced that he and Elizabeth would have a son. Gabriel told him to name the child John. Zechariah did not believe Gabriel. He asked for a sign that Gabriel’s words were true. At once, Zechariah became unable to speak. He was not able to talk again until John was born, many months later. Zechariah’s first words were, “Blessed be the Lord!” (Luke 1:67).
Elizabeth had a much younger cousin, our Blessed Mother, Mary. Mary, too, had been visited by the angel Gabriel, who told her that she had been chosen to be the mother of God’s Son. Gabriel told Mary that Elizabeth was also expecting a child although she was very old. Mary traveled to the hill country where Elizabeth and Zechariah lived. Mary wanted to help Elizabeth as she waited for the birth of her child.
The moment Mary arrived, Elizabeth recognized the blessing Mary had been given by God. Elizabeth greeted Mary with these words: “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Luke 1:42). We say these words today each time we pray the Hail Mary.
Elizabeth and Zechariah’s son grew up to be John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin. We honor Elizabeth and Zechariah as saints. Their lives teach us to trust always in God.