Three readings and a Responsorial Psalm are reminding me of the Law, but more so…the hope, on this Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time.
In the first reading from Zechariah 12:10-11 & 13:1, Zechariah warns of some key elements of end-time prophecy:
Zechariah 12:10 “’Thus says the LORD: “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and petition; and they shall look on him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him as one mourns for an only son, and they shall grieve over him as one grieves over a firstborn.”
First, it is the blood line of King David that the Jews are to recognize as the Messiah, where the spirit of grace and petition will come. Jesus himself, comes from the blood line of David, however is not accepted as the Messiah because he did not come as a warrior to conquer Rome, however, he came as a Lamb to conquer sin for all who will believe in Him. For those that will believe that He is the Messiah, all sins will be paid for, and all prayers and petitions will be heard, by the one who was pierced by the spear at the cross, when the last bit of the blood has been shed for us sinners. We are not worthy of such a glorious, selfless act of grace. Our debts of sin have been paid, and we have nothing to give for this—other than our adoration.
Secondly, it is the believers that have been saved by the blood of this perfect Lamb that has been slaughtered and selflessly sacrificed. They, undoubtedly, mourned and grieved. They loved Jesus, they travelled with Jesus, they ate with Him; they watched Him cure the sick, heal the inflicted and raise the dead—mind you, always in huge crowds to give proof for the unbelievers; they learned from his unorthodox teachings, often criticizing the sin of greed, power and extortion within the Temple—the scribes and Pharisees. Yes—in fact, Zechariah was right! The inhabitants of Jerusalem would mourn as they mourn for an only son, and grieve like they would grieve for a first-born child.
Thirdly, Zechariah looks back at the battle at Megiddo where King Josiah was killed immediately as punishment for the people for not keep the commandments in the finding of the Book of Laws in the Temple of Yahweh, found in: 2 Kings 23:29 “In the times, Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt was advancing to meet the king of Assyria at the River Euphrates, and King Josiah went to intercept him; but Necho killed him at Megiddo in the first encounter.” Yes, Zechariah looks back at those who did not follow the Laws, but in his prophecy, he sees the future of another battle in “the mountains of Megiddo”, which goes by another name in Hebrew—Armageddon. Ah yes, once again, those that choose not to follow the “New Laws” clarified by Jesus (1. Love God with all your heart, mind, and soul. 2. Love your neighbor as yourself.) will again see the bloody battle at “the mountains of Megiddo.”
Zechariah 12:11 “On that day the mourning in Jerusalem shall be as great as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the plain of Megiddo”. Zechariah 13:1 “On that day there shall be open to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, a fountain to purify from sin and uncleanness.”
Zechariah warns of one last chance to get it right: for those whose hearts are not hardened.
In the Responsorial Psalms 63:1-2, 4-5 and 7-8 we are reminded in our response of where our heart and soul needs to be and staying focused despite feeling lonely or lost: This was written by David while wandering through the desert of Judah: “My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.” The rest of the Psalm 63:1-2: “O God, you are my God whom I seek; for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water. Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary to see your power and your glory, For your kindness is a greater good than life; my lips shall glorify you.”
Psalms 63:4-5 “Thus will I bless you while I live; lifting up my hands, I will call upon your name.
As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied, and with exultant lips my mouth shall praise you.”
Psalms 63:7-8 “You are my help, and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.
My soul clings fast to you; your right hand upholds me.”
In the Second Reading from Paul’s letter to the Galatians, we learn of the fact that all humanity can be saved; it is not just for the Chosen People in which he was sent, the Jews in Galatians 3:26-29: “Brothers and sisters: Through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendant, heirs according to the promise.” We are all created equal. Thanks to the encounter with the Canaanite woman and her daughter[i] where faith among Gentiles was equal with the Chosen People of Israel. It’s what we do with this privilege that determines our eternal destination; it’s our choice, and WE NEED TO CHOOSE WISELY!!
Finally in Luke 9:18-24, we see that Jesus is still concerned that the people that he encounters and even his closest twelve still don’t know who he is and what his mission is. He is still worried he they still doesn’t get it! “Once when Jesus was praying in solitude, and the disciples were with him, he asked them, ‘Who do the crowds say that I am?’ They said in reply, ‘John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.’ Then he said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter said in reply, ‘The Christ of God.’ He rebuked them and directed them not to tell this to anyone.
He said, ‘The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.’ Then he said to all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.’”
 The daughter of the Canaanite woman healed
Mk 7:24 He left that place and set out for the territory of Tyre. There he went into a house and did not want anyone to know he was there; but he could not pass unrecognized.
Mt 15:22 And suddenly out came a Canaanite woman from that district [whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him Mk 7:25], started shouting, “Lord. Son of David, take pity on me. My daughter is tormented by a devil,” [and came and fell at his feet Mk 7:25].
Mt 15:23 But he said not a word in answer to her. And his disciples went and pleaded with him, saying, “Give her what she wants, because she keeps shouting after us.”
Mt 15:24 He said in reply, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.”
Mk 7:26 Now this woman was a gentile, by birth a Syro-Phoenician, and she begged him to drive the devil out of her daughter.
Mt 15:25 But the woman had come up and was bowing low before him. “Lord,” she said, “help me.”
Mk 7:27 And he said to her, “The children should be fed first, because it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the little dogs.”
Mt 15:27 She retorted, “Ah yes, Lord; but even little dogs [under the table Mk 7:28] eat the scraps that fall from their masters’ table.”
Mt 15:28 Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, you have great faith. [For saying this you may go home happy Mk 7:29]; let your desire be granted. [The devil has gone out of your daughter Mk 7:29].” And from that moment her daughter was well again.
Mk 7:30 So she went off home and found the child lying on the bed and the devil gone.
Excerpt taken from Page 46 of “Wake Up! You Know Not the Day or the Hour”, Eric McNamara, Outskirts Press, 2013