September 30, 2017 – Saturday in the 25 Week of the Church Year

Saint for the day: Jerome (345 – 420)

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

Zechariah 2:5-9, 14 – 15a – Jeremiah 31:10 – 13 – Luke 9:43b-45

“The Angel spoke … ‘I will be for her an encircling wall of fire, says the Lord, and I will be the glory in her midst.” (Zechariah 2:9)

 We’ve been hearing readings from the Old Testament in these days which often bombards us with images that are not always clear to us with our 21st Century minds. We’ve heard about a lot of measuring as the people are brought into a place of safety with shepherds to watch over them and take care of them. Today we’re given some examples of how the Lord gathers His people and encircles them with a wall of fire – so that He will be glory in their midst. Fire, in the Old Testament, is usually a clear sign of God’s presence to His people but we know that it is also used as a symbol of purification. That’s the part that most of us turn away from. Even though we know that it is also a symbol of the Holy Spirit’s presence we often turn away from anything that is going to change us – especially when we don’t know the full extent of that change. If there’s anything we learn from the Old Testament – and even from saints whose feasts we often celebrate – we know that we can’t expect to wear the crown if we haven’t borne the Cross. This theory shouldn’t surprise us since it’s right there in today’s Holy Gospel: “Jesus says, ‘the Son of Man is to be handed over…’ but they didn’t understand this saying.”(Luke 9:44)

 Go back up to today’s Responsorial Psalm from Jeremiah where we hear, “The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.” As you read through this psalm, put your name in wherever it fits so that you get a present-day sense of The Lord working in your own life. We have to remember that we’re not just reading these scriptures for somebody else to hear. We’re reading them for ourselves, too! That’s why I always encourage folks to grab on to as many words as you can that give you some better insight into how God wants to reveal His presence to His people – US. The bottom line, though, is very often along the lines of our need for refinement or purification which people of all ages have very often bulked at. In some ways, we’re like the disciples, and can’t readily grasp the full meaning of what we hear. Maybe we have to more like the apostle, Thomas, when he encounters the risen Lord and say, “Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief!”(Mark 9:24) Or, maybe like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus who used the term, “Were not our hearts burning within as He explained the scriptures to us?”(Luke 24:32) I guess the “bottom line” I’m going for would end up being our request to the Lord, to continue revealing Himself to us even when we don’t totally understand how it all happens. In that sense, we are all “a work in progress” and our song needs to be, “From glory to glory He’s changing me from earthly things to the heavenly.” (2nd Corinthians 3:18)

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