Biblical Readings for each day's Mass,
(for the Liturgical Year 2021)

Tuesday, September 28 2021
Week 26 in Ordinary Time

1st Reading: Zechariah 8:20-23

Peoples of every nationality will embrace the faith of the Jews

Thus says the Lord of hosts: 'Peoples shall yet come, the inhabitants of many cities; the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, "Come, let us go to entreat the favour of the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts; I myself am going." Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to entreat the favour of the Lord.'

Thus says the Lord of hosts: 'In those days ten men from nations of every language shall take hold of a Jew, grasping his garment and saying, "Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you."'

Responsorial: Psalm 86

R./: The Lord God is with us

On the holy mountain is his city cherished by the Lord.
 The Lord prefers the gates of Zion to all Jacob's dwellings.
 Of you are told glorious things, O city of God! (R./)

Babylon and Egypt I will count among those who know me;
 Philistia, Tyre, Ethiopia, these will be her children
 and Zion shall be called 'Mother' for all shall be her children. (R./)

It is he, the Lord Most High, who gives each his place.
 In his register of peoples he writes: 'These are her children'
 and while they dance they will sing; 'In you all find their home.' (R./)

Gospel: Luke 9:51-56

The Journey begins as Jesus proceeds towards Jerusalem

When the days drew near for him to be taken up, Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, "Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?" But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village.

Hope in a hopeless place

The book of Zechariah shows the effort of the eponymous prophet to restore a dispirited community and spur them to action in rebuilding their dilapidated city. After a half century of exile in Babylon the first batch of exiles had returned to Jerusalem, with great expectation of a glorious future. But the reality they faced was quite different. The city of Jerusalem was decimated; its population very poor and struggling to survive. Along with the material misery there was also the emotional loss to be dealt with.  Most of those who returned still had relatives in exile, and separation separation from family was a great sadness.  In all of this, Zechariah writes to communicate God’s promise of new hope.

Chapter eight contains clear promises of a brighter future. Zechariah offered a positive vision for the people. Later he says "their hearts shall be glad as with wine. Their children shall see it and rejoice." (Zech 10:7). The new deal was to encompass the entire community, from the older folk sitting in the streets to the children playing.

The mention of children had warm emotional significance. Many families with young children would not have risked the arduous journey from the Babylonian exile back to Jerusalem. Those had chosen rather to stay in Babylon, in the fertile land of exile. Also among those who had not gone into exile, sickness and poverty had taken its toll. Hence the vision of a renewed Jerusalem with its happy children was intended to create a positive vision for the future of the community. (fromWarner D’Souza)

In face of rejection

Rejection is a painful experience, especially if we are it comes on whome we depended for help. Such a rejection can leave so us angry or bitter, we might be tempted to retaliate in kind. Jesus experienced rejection, when he was denied entry to a Samaritan village. He was obviously a Jew heading for Jerusalem, and that made them reject him with a firm and heartless "keep out." Just as hatred was a standard Samaritan response to Jews, so the disciples’ anger was a standard Jewish response to Samaritans. They were so angry as to call on God to curse the hostile village. They wanted savage revenge.

How differently Jesus responded to the Samaritan rejection. He simply turned around and walked away, to preach his message elsewhere. He kept his serenity in the face of hostility and rejection, opting to peacefully accept their choice. This kind of patience is meant to become our trademark too. Who we are, and how we relate to others, must not be totally reactive, or dictated by how they treat us. How we behave in the face of rejection should be guided by something deeper, by our relationship with the Lord and our being formed in his spirit.