Saturday Evening The Birth of John the Baptizer

Fourth Sunday of Announcement

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as we begin and until we conclude.
May mercy and compassion be poured forth upon us
in this world and the next.
O Lord, our God, to you be glory for ever.
O Most High
Creator of all,
you established the earth and filled the skies with
heavenly lights.
By your great power, you willed that your
Forerunner be born of a barren woman.
It was his voice that you sent before you in the desert
to announce your coming and call your people back to you.
Grant us voices which praise and confess you,
and tongues which glorify and thank you,
now and for ever. Amen.
Peace be with the Church and her children.
Glory to God in the highest,
and peace on earth and good will to all.
Praise the Lord all you nations,
glorify him all you peoples,
for steadfast is his mercy toward us,
and the truth of the Lord endures for ever.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
now and for ever.
and peace on earth and good will to all.

Lord, have mercy on us and save us.
O God,
you sent John the Baptizer and messenger as a succulent fruit
taken from a dried vine.
Make the fruits of virtue and works of holiness flourish in us.
Grant us, in memory of your Forerunner,
to be able to exalt and glorify you all the days of our lives, and for ever. Amen.
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear?
The Lord is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid?

Psalm 27
When evildoers come at me
to devour my flesh,

My foes and my enemies
themselves stumble and fall.

Though an army encamp against me,
my heart will not fear;

Though war be waged upon me,
even then will I trust.

One thing I ask of the Lord;
this I seek:

To dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,

That I may gaze on the loveliness of
the Lord
and contemplate his temple.

For he will hide me in his abode
in the day of trouble;

He will conceal me in the shelter of his tent,
he will set me high upon a rock.

Even now my head is held high
above my enemies on every side.

And I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of gladness;

I will sing and chant praise to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, the sound of my call;
have pity on me, and answer me.

Of you my heart speaks, you my
glance seeks;
you presence, O Lord, I seek.

Hide not your face from me;
do not in anger repel your servant.

You are my helper: cast me not off;
forsake me not, O God my savior.

Though my father and mother forsake me,
yet will the Lord receive me.

Show me, O Lord, your way,
and lead me on a level path,
because of my adversaries.

Give me not up to the wishes of my foes;
for false witnesses have risen up against me,
and such as breathe out violence.

I believe that I shall see the bounty of the Lord
in the land of the living.

Wait for the Lord with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
now and for ever. Amen.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear?
The Lord is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid?

Lord, have mercy on us and save us.
O God,
you sent your angel into the sanctuary to announce to Zechariah the birth of your Forerunner.
Since Zechariah doubted your power,
you bound his tongue until the day of the birth of your
Open our mouths so that they may praise you,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
to you be glory for ever. Amen.

Psalm 141:1-4
O Lord, to you I call; hasten to me;
harken to my voice when I call upon you.
Let my prayer come like incense before you;
the lifting up of my hands, like the evening sacrifice.
O Lord, set a watch before my mouth,
a guard at the door of my lips.
Let not my heart incline to the evil
of engaging in deeds of wickedness
With men who are evildoers;
and let me not partake of their dainties.
Psalm 142
With a loud voice I cry out to the Lord;
with a loud voice I beseech the Lord.
My complaint I pour out before him;
before him I lay bare my distress.
When my spirit is faint within me,
you know my path.
In the way along which I walk
they have hid a trap for me.
I look to the right to see,
but there is no one who pays me heed.
I have lost all means of escape;
there is no one who cares for my life.
I cry out to you, O Lord:
I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land
of the living.”
Attend to my cry,
for I am brought low indeed.

Rescue me from my persecutors,
for they are too strong for me.
Lead me forth from prison,
that I may give thanks to your name.
The just shall gather around me
when you have been good to me.
Psalm 119: 105-112
A lamp to my feet is your word,
a light to my path.
I resolve and swear
to keep your just ordinances.
I am very much afflicted;
O Lord, give me life according to your word.
Accept, O Lord, the free homage of my mouth,
and teach me your decrees.
Though constantly I take my life in my hands,
yet I forget not your law.
The wicked have laid a snare for me,
but from your precepts I have not strayed.
Your decrees are my inheritance forever;
the joy of my heart they are.
I intend in my heart to fulfill you statutes
always to the letter.
Psalm 117
Praise the Lord, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!
For steadfast is his mercy toward us,
and the truth of the Lord endures for ever.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
now and for ever. Amen.


The Hymn, “The Resurrection of Christ” (page 165) may
be sung following the Evening Psalms.
Praise, glory and honor to the Son,
the Eternal Word, the Ray of the eternal Father;
before his incarnation he sent his messenger to prepare his way.
To the Good One is due glory and honor this evening,
and all the days of our lives,
now and for ever. Amen.
To you we sing praise today, Messenger, Forerunner, and Baptizer.
You are the child announced by an angel of God.
You are the voice crying in the desert,
the prophet who—while still in the womb—knew the mystery of
his Lord.
You are the Middle Covenant, bringing to an end the old law and inaugurating the new.
You are the greatest among the children of women, who
announced the Most High.
You are the Announcer, born of a barren woman to witness to
the child born of the Virgin.
Holy child,
son of a priest of the Lord,
sign of God’s Mercy and apostle of the kingdom of peace,
you are the star pointing out the true Light coming
into the world,
the moon encircling the eternal sun.
You are the Messenger of the Lord, the beacon of churches
and monasteries.
Today, Zechariah rejoices and his tongue is unbound.
Today, Elizabeth, whose long wait has come to an end,
gives thanks.
Today, every mountain leaps for joy.

We beseech you, prophet of the Most High,
obtain for us from your Lord his grace which works wonders,
that our souls may be adorned with good works and that we
may witness to the true faith.
With Zechariah, your father, and Elizabeth, your mother,
we give thanks to the Son you desired to see while still in
the womb.
We shall praise the Father, who made you a messenger of his
beloved Son,
and glorify the Holy Spirit, with which you were filled before your birth.
Glory to the Holy Trinity for ever. Amen.
At your birth, O John, the peoples rejoice and the nations
You enable them to see the Son of God and have a path to him.
May your prayer come to our aid, alleluia.
God chose John while still in the womb of his mother,
and sanctified him before birth,
that he might announce the coming of his Son and espouse the
holy Church to him, alleluia.
Today, the Church celebrates the memory of the birth of the
prophet of the Son.
May God help us through the prayer of the blessed one he has
chosen, alleluia.
Today, Zechariah rejoices and Elizabeth leaps for joy.
Their child will prepare the way of the Lord.
May God come to our aid through his prayer, alleluia.
O God,
extend your right hand over your believing people and bless
your flock.
With this incense, accept the prayer which we raise to you today in memory of the birth of your Forerunner.
Enable us to praise and exalt you with spiritual hymns,
with your Father and your Spirit,
now and for ever. Amen.

Today, Zechariah rejoices and praises arise from his house.
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who has visited and
delivered his people.
Today, the Church rejoices at the birth of the Forerunner, who prepares the way of the Lord and, through penance,
prepares us to receive the Lord.
The Church does not usually celebrate the earthly birthdays of the saints, but rather their birthdays in heaven, namely the day of their deaths when they obtain their crown of glory.
However, in the case of John the Baptizer, we celebrate his earthly birth—his coming into the world to announce the Son.
John’s coming was filled with marvels. The angel announced his birth. Because of his doubt Zechariah was struck dumb. John leaped with joy in the womb of his mother when visited by the Virgin. He was sanctified at that time by the Holy Spirit. As soon as John was born, Zechariah was able to speak and sing the beautiful song of “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,” a hymn the Church continues to sing even today.
The angel predicted that many would rejoice at John’s birth and that he would be great in the sight of God, and holy, ascetic, and just before the people. He will bring many back to God. He will be the Forerunner of the Savior and return the hearts of parents to their children, and the unbelievers to the wisdom of the just. He will prepare for God a holy people.
The words of Jeremiah the prophet are applied to him:
“Before I found you in the womb I knew you, before you were
born I dedicated you a prophet to the nations. I appointed you.
Say not I am too young. To whomever I send you, you shall go.
Whatever I command you, you shall speak. Have no fear before
them because I am with you to deliver you. See, I place my
words in your mouth. I set you over nations and over kingdoms
to root up and to tear down, to destroy and to demolish, to build and to plant.  They will fight against you, but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord”
(Jeremiah 1: 3, 7, 10, 19).

The prophet Malachi says, “I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me” (Mk. 1, 2; Lk. 7,27). This messenger is John the Baptist. He ended the law and the prophets and was praised by the Lord himself.
Some months before the Lord began his preaching ministry, John came out of his solitude and appeared near the Jordan River, as the Forerunner of the Lord predicted by the prophets. He impressed the crowds by his poverty, austerity of life, severity of preaching and the practicality of his exhortations. His ministry was quite successful. Many people came to him to receive his baptism and confess their faults as he announced the imminence of the messianic kingdom. He was so humble that he declared himself unworthy to untie the sandals of the Lord. “I have baptized you in water; he will baptize you in the Holy Spirit” (Mark 1:8). He will separate the sinners from the just.
When Jesus came to be baptized, John wanted to withdraw, saying that it was he who should be baptized by the Lord, but Jesus insisted. John said, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,” and told his disciples to follow Jesus. When the disciples complained that Jesus was becoming more and more popular, John said, “He must increase and I must decrease.”
He reproached Herod for his scandalous conduct and was put in jail. In prison he sent his disciples to Jesus. He wanted them to follow him and to let Jesus declare himself as the Savior predicted by Isaiah. John was praised as superior to all the faithful of the Old Testament.
A Reading from the Book of Genesis
Genesis 21: 1-13
The LORD took note of Sarah as he had said he would; he did for her as he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time that God had stated.
Abraham gave the name Isaac to this son of his whom Sarah bore him. When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God had commanded. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Sarah then said, “God has given me cause to laugh, and all who hear of it will laugh with me. Who would have told Abraham,” she added,
“that Sarah would nurse children! Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”Isaac grew, and on the day of the child’s weaning, Abraham held a great feast.

Sarah noticed the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham playing with her son Isaac; so she demanded of Abraham:
“Drive out that slave and her son! No son of that slave is going to share the inheritance with my son Isaac!” Abraham was greatly distressed, especially on account of his son Ishmael. But God said to Abraham: “Do not be distressed about the boy or about your slave woman. Heed the demands of Sarah, no matter what she is asking of you; for it is through Isaac that descendants shall bear your name. As for the son of the slave woman, I will make a great nation of him also, since he too is your offspring.”
A Reading from the Prophet Isaiah
Isaiah 49: 1-6
Hear me, O coastlands, listen, O distant peoples. The LORD called me from birth, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name. He made of me a sharp-edged sword and concealed me in the shadow of his arm. He made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me. You are my servant, he said to me, Israel, through whom I show my glory. Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength, Yet my reward is with the LORD, my recompense is with my God. For now the LORD has spoken who formed me as his servant from the womb, That Jacob may be brought back to him and Israel gathered to him; And I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD, and my God is now my strength! It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.

O Son, by your resurrection you saved your Church from error:
hear our supplications and have mercy on us.
You reconciled heaven and earth, grant peace to your Church and keep her children in the light of the cross.
Glory to the Father, who gave a child to Zechariah and Elizabeth; adoration to the Son, who sent the Forerunner to prepare
the wedding feast; thanksgiving to the Holy Spirit, who
enabled Zechariah to rejoice and loosened his tongue for
praise. May God have mercy on us through the prayers of
the just who serve his mysteries.
Little child, you are the prophet of the Son of the Most High and the voice which cries out before the King of kings. you are
the voice which moves every man that he might understand
that after you, comes the Word.
Blessed are you, O Christ, who sent the Messenger before you.
Blessed is the One who gave joy to the mountains of Judea
on the occasion of the birth of the Forerunner. By the
prayers of the Forerunner, may God have mercy on us.
Praised be God, who chose his servant while still in the womb; adoration to the Son, who sent one before him as a voice
and an announcer; thanksgiving to the Holy Spirit,, who,
through John, shook the consciences of the people and led
them to repentance.
Let us remember the prophets, apostles, and martyrs, all those who have labored and suffered in the vineyard of the Lord:
Saint James, Saint Maron and his companions, Saint
Ephrem, the harp of the Holy Spirit. O God, through their
prayers, strengthen the weak, comfort the sick, grant
pardon to the deceased and forgive the faults of us, poor
Exalt, O Lord, the memory of your Mother and your saints;
through their prayers grant pardon to us and our deceased.
Through the prayers of your Mother, the prophets, apostles
and martyrs, watch over the living, and in your mercy
forgive those who have died.

Let us thank, adore, and praise the holy and glorious Trinity: Father, Son, ✛Holy Spirit. Amen.
Lord, have mercy
Lord, have mercy
Lord, have mercy
Holy are you, O God;
Holy are you, O Strong One;
Holy are you, O Immortal One;
have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Lord, forgive us and have mercy on us.
Lord, hear us and have mercy on us.
Lord, accept our worship and our prayers.
Lord, come to our assistance and have mercy on us.
Our Father, who are in heaven;
hallowed be your name;
your kingdom come;
your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil,
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours,
now and for ever.
O Lord, the night and the day are yours;
you uphold the light and the sun.
Through your power you direct the sequence of the seasons.
O Lord,
you have brought the day to its close and called forth the night; be for us that great Day that never ends.
In the evening let your light shine in our hearts,
and in the darkness of the night

enlighten us with the knowledge of your truth.
And so, through all the days of our lives,
we shall praise you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
To you be glory and may your mercy rest upon us,
now and for ever.
Let us thank God for all the graces he has bestowed on us
this day which has passed in calm and peace.
Let us recall our failings against the commandments of God
and the Church in thought, word, deed and omission
We ask for God’s pardon as we pray:
“Forgive us, Jesus!”
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Glory be to you, O Lord.
Glory be to you, O Lord.
Glory be to you, O Lord.
Father in heaven,
by your living and holy name,
keep us from evil and lead us not into temptation;
for we call upon you, O Lord, our God, our constant hope,
glory to you for ever.
O Lord, our Lord,
may our humble worship be pleasing to you;
may our prayers come before you and our actions give
you honor.
Let you mercy, kindness, help, graces and divine love
be poured abundantly upon us poor sinners,
both in heaven and on the earth
which you have created in your goodness.
O Lord, our God, to you be glory for ever.

Peace be with you.
And also with you.
O God,
through the prayers of your Mother and the saints who have
believed in you;
through the prayers of the prophets, apostles, martyrs and
through the prayers of the just, the priests, the holy fathers, pastors and teachers of the truth faith;
and through the prayers of N., Pope of Rome, N., our Patriarch, and N., our Bishop,
forgive your people and have mercy on your flock.
May God bless, forgive, sanctify, purify, and keep each of the faithful united with us in this spiritual office.
May mercy and compassion be upon us and all the faithful who
dwell here.
May peaceful rest be granted to those who have died in the faith.
May the faithful who live here experience the protection of
Christ’s victorious cross.
May we and all his servants, who adore him with bowed heads,
receive the mercy of the holy and glorious Trinity
Father, Son, ✛ Holy Spirit, to whom be glory now and for ever.
May God forgive your sins,
pardon your failings,
and deliver you from the power of the enemy.
May he grant you the remission of your offenses.
Go in peace, and pray to Christ for me.