Fri, 24 September 2021
(Zec.2:5-9,14-15; Jer.31:10-13; Lk.9:43-45)
“They shall come streaming to the Lord’s blessings.”
The Kingdom is being prepared. And as bleak as things may seem upon this earth, the glory of the Lord awaits us all. This is the message of Jeremiah in our psalm and the message given Zechariah by the angel in our first reading. “I will turn their mourning into joy, I will console and gladden them after their sorrows,” is the word which sustains us.
Zechariah prophesies at the time the Israelites have returned from exile few in number to a rather desolate, broken-down Jerusalem. But in his vision presented today he sees an angel measuring the great city of peace, apparently for its restoration. And to this prophet at this difficult time in which hope is hard to hold on to is delivered this reassurance: “People will live in Jerusalem as though in an open country, because of the multitude of men and beasts in her midst.” The Lord promises to be “the glory in her midst” and an “encircling wall of fire”: “Many nations shall join themselves to the Lord on that day.”
Jeremiah’s message is the same. “He who scattered Israel now gathers them together, He guards them as a shepherd His flock.” Yes, even in the darkest moments of our exile here on this fallen earth, there is hope. For ultimately the Lord’s love will conquer all; in the end we shall “mount the heights of Zion” – our salvation will be fulfilled.
Jesus tries to convey to the apostles the same message. By telling them, “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of men,” He seeks to have them understand – even “in the midst of the disciples’ amazement at all that Jesus was doing” in teaching and healing the people – that when the time of mourning is brought to bear in their lives, when they see Him offered up for crucifixion… when darkness falls upon the land, then they should be assured that the glorious works they find wrought in their midst by the glorious hand of God shall not be dead at all, but only coming to fulfillment.
Our solace is in our sorrow. Happy are we who mourn. For the passing things we are robbed of here, we know will become eternal blessings in heaven. Taste the pain, my brothers and sisters, the blood at the corners of your mouth, and lift your head to see the nations come streaming to His eternal kingdom.
O LORD, into the hands of men Jesus must be delivered
that He might gather them from far-off lands
into the kingdom of Heaven.
YHWH, your people have been scattered to the four corners of the earth, but from there you gather them together as one in your holy City. From mourning you deliver your children that they might come in joy into your eternal presence. O may the nations indeed come streaming to your blessings! May all be surrounded by your wall of protection, with you at our very center.
The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of men. This sacrifice is necessary to fulfill man’s redemption. O LORD, we could not be saved except by His suffering, for blind we were even to our sin until He mounted the wood of the Cross.
But now, dear LORD, what was so concealed from us has been revealed by His blood. Let us follow closely His message and His way, that we might be found celebrating within the length and breadth of your kingdom.