Dec. 14, Lectionary # 189./ Zephaniah 3:1-2,9-13. Psalm
34:2-3,6-7.17-18.19.23. Matthew 21:28-32
The “remnant” refers to the Israelites who were deported to Babylon. They
are converted to the Lord again and will be the start of the nation once
they return to the Land that was promised to them and was theirs before
their deportation. The return to Jerusalem is their hope for the messianic
promises to be fulfilled. They together with the “Poor of the Lord
(Yahweh)” place all their hope and dependence on God; they have no one else
to go to. We are called to have such an absolute trust in the Lord and
thereby place all our hope in the promise of a Messiah in the person of
Jesus. He is coming and will not tarry.
Our reading from Zephaniah also gives hope to all the nations. Once
they,are converted the promises include them as well as the Israelites.
They do convert from their idolatry so good things happen for them. The
resemblances with Isaiah are noticeable both for the theme of the remnant
and the Poor of Yahweh. We see the latter in most of the psalms that are
coming from individuals who plead before God in the Temple.
Jesus is teaching the elders and scribes about the true meaning of yes and
no in the short parable that he gives to them. It has similarities to the
more descriptive and powerful parable called the “Prodigal Son” in Luke
15:11-32. Fr. Vivianio has a practical insight with strong exegetical
force: “The parable, like its better known counterpart in Luke 15:11-22,
the Prodigal Son, contains a psychological truth:the son who first says no
resolves his Oedipal conflict by first rebelling and then obeying.” For us
we realize the many opportunities that the sacrament of Reconciliation
offers us in changing our no to a yes. The self-assured feign a yes to God
but do not really have the same intimacy with God as those who change their
no to a true yes. It is Jesus himself who gives us the greatest response
to God and Paul picked up on this Yes of Jesus in II Corinthians 1:19-20:
“I declare that my word to you is not “yes” one minute and “no” the next.
Jesus Christ, whom Silvanus, Tomothy, and I preached to you as Son of God,
was not alternatively “yes” and “no”; he was never anything but “yes.”
Whatever promises God made are fulfilled in him; therefore it is through
him that we address our Amen to God when we worship together.” Amen (which
means Yes I believe).