Today's reading is the opening of Luke. It begins with a dedication to Theophilus, who may have been the patron who sponsored the two-volume Christian history of Luke and Acts. Then it begins the story with the angelic prophecy of the birth of John the Baptist, who will be born to on aging couple. John will be like Elijah reborn; he will bring a powerful message of rebuke, trying to encourage people to repent their sins and return to true faith in God. As such, his father is instructed to raise him as a holy man, without strong drink or wine. Zechariah is so overwhelmed by the message -- and rather doubtful -- he loses the power to speak until the child is born.