We are invited by the readings for this liturgy to listen to some revelations about the personality of God. We are offered a spirit of joy at being included in the number who are counted as God’s friends.
We are invited also to pray with the God who labors for an end to wars and unpeaceful living. Following God’s strange ways will lead to peace, but only for the lowly and meek who will inherit the “new land.” We can pray to allow His burden, which is light, to replace the heaviness of the burden we can be to ourselves and others. God’s ways as offered to us through Jesus are destined to bring peace, and shouts of joy for the inhabitants of the New Jerusalem.
Zechariah encourages the inhabitants of Jerusalem to sing joyfully for they are to be visited by a man of peace. This is how our First Reading opens for this liturgy. Amid all the warrings which will fall upon other tribes and nations, Israel will have a king who will banish the makings for war. He will arrive not on a symbol of war, but on the back of a symbol of gentleness.
Jerusalem, the name means “House of Peace,” will extend the dominion of tranquility and harmony from sea to sea. The king will be a religious leader and a messenger from God.
Jesus, in the Gospel for today, thanks His Father for the group to whom Jesus has, to reveal the new ways of the Kingdom. Jesus has received his personal identity and mission from His Father and in revealing himself to the disciples he is revealing all they need to know of God.
The human mind can not contain infinity, but we can apprehend images, hints, and suggestions. Jesus is more than these and in His person He offers Himself as just the right amount to call forth faith. Jesus is inviting His followers to learn something by watching and listening. The yoke of the Jewish Law and legal demands is heavy and Jesus as the New Law offers relief.
Jesus says that He is humble, meaning absolutely true to who He actually is. The Kingdom he has come to establish is based on such truth, such humility. What Jesus invites his disciples to accept is their simple true selves as well. This is the basis of peace. Jesus believes his true origin and personal mission. He is asking the disciples to enter this relationship with God as well.
This weekend, here in the United States, we are celebrating the event whereby our thirteen original colonies declared their freedom from their Mother Country, England. This precipitated a war for freedom and the eventual establishment of the colonies as states united for protection, strength and prosperity. They did not want a king. They needed a leader and a quite regal person, George Washington, came riding into prominence to bring peace and relief from the over-burdening laws of England. He knew nothing of war, but accepted the call of the colonists to confront the military force of England which had been sent to subdue the American desire for freedom.
Jesus here in this Gospel passage and in so many other verses, proclaims independence from the tyranny of Rome and from the tyranny of the Jewish legal conformities. He offers to his disciples and all who follow Him now, a unity of heart, a freedom to know and receive our truth and the prosperity of the abundant graceful life.
We keep learning of his gentle heart and how to rest in his identity. We do tend to submit to false dependencies which result in wars within and between ourselves. Addictions, obsessions, pretendings, self-hatreds, and other deceptions can attract us to a heavy-burdened life. We learn by our bad experiences the wisdom of going back to Him for rest and recovery. Ultimately our freedom results from our declaring independence from everything false and treacherous. We find rest for our souls in making our personal Declarations of Dependence on Him alone who is true and freeing, peaceful, and gentle on our souls.
“Within Your temple, we ponder your loving kindness God.” Ps. 48
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