Tuesday of week 26 of Ordinary Time – First Reading

Commentary on Zech 8:20-23

The last of our three selected readings from Zechariah. It is also the final section of the first part of the book and is another looking forward to a time of messianic salvation. There are more words of encouragement from Zechariah for the Jews who have returned from exile and who are still trying to re-establish their homes in Jerusalem. Things do not look too good right now but Yahweh promises that the time is soon coming when people from even Gentile cities all over will come flocking to Jerusalem, drawn there as if by some magnetic power. “In the future, peoples and citizens of many and strong cities will come; and citizens of one city will approach those of another and say, ‘Come! Let us go to implore the favour of the Lord!’… Yes, many peoples and great nations will seek out Yahweh Sabaoth in Jerusalem and entreat Yahweh’s favour.” This prediction anticipates fulfilment of the promise of Gentile blessing in Yahweh’s covenant with Abraham: “All the communities of the earth shall find blessing in you” (Gen 12:3) Isaiah also has Yahweh say: “My house [Temple in Jerusalem] shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples” (Is 56:7), a saying quoted in Mark’s gospel when Jesus drove the money-changers from the Temple, Mark 11:17) “Yahweh Sabaoth says this, ‘In those days, ten men from nations of every language will take a Jew by the sleeve and say: We want to go with you, since we have learnt that God is with you’.” True godliness in a person will attract others to the Lord. ‘Ten’ indicates a large or complete number in the Hebrew. Incidentally, the word ‘Jew’ for the people of the kingdom of Judah after the exile first appears in Jeremiah. Most of the Old Testament speaks of ‘Hebrews’ and ‘Israelites’. We, as Christians, belong now to what we call the “new Jerusalem”, the People of God. Are people flocking to be part of our “city”? Are they saying, “We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you”?  Is that what they see in us – people truly infused with the spirit of God and Jesus Christ? Are we the salt of the earth, leading people to praise God because of what they see in us? Certainly, there are people every year who are applying to join our communities, people who are received through Baptism every Easter. There are also, alas, those who are leaving our “city” and not coming back. Is it that they no longer can see that God is with us? If that is the case, what changes are needed in our way of living the Gospel?

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