St. Luke was a native of Antioch, the capital of Syria. He was by profession a physician; and some ancient writers say, that he was very skillful in painting. He was converted by St. Paul and became his disciple and companion in his travels, and fellow-labourer in the ministry of the Gospel. He wrote in Greek, about twenty-four years after our Lord's Ascension.
Luke Chapter 1
The conception of John the Baptist, and of Christ. The visitation and canticle of the Blessed Virgin. The birth of the Baptist and the canticle of Zachary.
1:1. Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a narration of the things that have been accomplished among us,
1:2. According as they have delivered them unto us, who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word:
1:3. It seemed good to me also, having diligently attained to all things from the beginning, to write to thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,
1:4. That thou mayest know the verity of those words in which thou hast been instructed.
1:5. 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.
Of the course of Abia... that is, of the rank of Abia, which word in the Greek is commonly put for the employment of one day: but here for the functions of a whole week. For, by the appointment of David, 1 Par. 24., the descendants from Aaron were divided into twenty-four families, of which the eighth was Abia, from whom descended this Zachary, who at this time was in the week of his priestly functions.
1:6. And they were both just before God, walking in all the commandments and justifications of the Lord without blame.
1:7. And they had no son, for that Elizabeth was barren: and they both were well advanced in years.
1:8. And it came to pass, when he executed the priestly function in the order of his course before God,
1:9. According to the custom of the priestly office, it was his lot to offer incense, going into the temple of the Lord.
1:10. And all the multitude of the people was praying without, at the hour of incense.
1:11. And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
1:12. And Zachary seeing him, was troubled: and fear fell upon him.
1:13. 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.
1:14. And thou shalt have joy and gladness: and many shall rejoice in his nativity.
1:15. 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 mother's womb.
1:16. And he shall convert many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.
1:17. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias: that he may turn the hearts of the fathers unto the children and the incredulous to the wisdom of the just, to prepare unto the Lord a perfect people.
1:18. And Zachary said to the angel: Whereby shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.
1:19. And the angel answering, said to him: I am Gabriel, who stand before God and am sent to speak to thee and to bring thee these good tidings.
1:20. And behold, thou shalt be dumb and shalt not be able to speak until the day wherein these things shall come to pass: because thou hast not believed my words, which shall be fulfilled in their time.
1:21. And the people were waiting for Zachary: and they wondered that he tarried so long in the temple.
1:22. And when he came out, he could not speak to them: and they understood that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he made signs to them and remained dumb.
1:23. And it came to pass, after the days of his office were accomplished, he departed to his own house.
1:24. And after those days, Elizabeth his wife conceived and hid herself five months, saying:
1:25. Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he hath had regard to take away my reproach among men.
1:26. And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth,
1:27. To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David: and the virgin's name was Mary.
1:28. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
1:29. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be.
1:30. And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.
1:31. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus.
1:32. He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Most High.
And the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father: and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever.
1:33. And of his kingdom there shall be no end.
1:34. And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?
1:35. And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
1:36. And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren.
1:37. Because no word shall be impossible with God.
1:38. And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
1:39. And Mary rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda.
1:40. And she entered into the house of Zachary and saluted Elizabeth.
1:41. And it came to pass that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.
1:42. And she cried out with a loud voice and said: Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
1:43. And whence is this to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
1:44. For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
1:45. And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.