Scripture: Lectionary 455: Zechariah 8:1-8. Psalm 102:16-18.19-21. Luke
We are greeted with consoling words of joy and peace from Zechariah for now
the complete assurance that the people of Israel will all return to
Jerusalem and the Temple will be built. The passage exudes with hope for
the future. True, it is only a remnant of the people who do return, but
they will be blessed with a “new Jerusalem and a beautiful temple that will
be known as one of the seven wonders of the world. God through the prophet
Zechariah gives them and us this wonderful good news: “I will bring them
back to dwell within Jerusalem. They shall be my people, and I will be
their God, with faithfulness and justice.” In Hebrew the word for
faithfulness is “emeth” which means a sure foundation, a true security;
while justices (“tsedakah) is the whole spirit of Old Testament
spirituality and is understood through the beatitudes which Jesus gives to
us on the mount.
Psalm 102 contains the same good news about returning to Jerusalem. It is
contagious for all the other nations become interested and want to cling to
the hem of the Isaelite’s garment so as to go up with them to pray in the
holy city. The thought and imagery is beautiful and convincing. We all
should have such a desire to pray and to go up to Jerusalem with the Lord.
Zion, the special place in Jerusalem, that was established by David is to
be shared with all the tribes—twelve in number. Luke will take this up,
too, in his outlook of universalism when it comes to the Good News Jesus is
proclaiming about the kingdom of heaven. A messianic flavor is present in
this psalm and it carries over into the spirit of the New Testament.
Jesus, the Anointed One, the Messiah gives us words of wisdom in the short
passage for the day. By welcoming and caring for the children with
tenderness and purity of heart enables us to become partners with those
children who represent the kingdom of God on earth. These little ones are
to be protected by all of us with care and pure love—for such are those
made for the kingdom of God.
Jesus adds more wisdom when he scolds his angry apostles who want to do
harm to the Samaritans who do not want them to pass through their territory
to take a short-cut to Jerusalem. Anyone who is not against us is for us.
Jesus is so down to earth and practical when it comes to any moral issue.
We do well to respect his wisdom and live it out in our daily actions and
words to others especially those who are not against us. We need his grace
to do this to those who are really against us, but that grace is there for
the asking. Amen.