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Lectionary 189 : Daughter of Zion Advent theme

December 16, 2013


Scripture: Lectionary 189. Dec.17. Zephaniah 3:1-2, 9-13. Psalm 34:2-3,6-7, 17-18,19-23. Matthew 21:28-32:

Zephaniah is not a prophet of doom and gloom, but one of hope.  After he has brought the people to recognize that God will eventually save the remnant of Israel, it becomes clear that his message is similar to that of John the Baptist who is again mentioned in our Advent Gospel for today.  Hope is given to Israel in the third chapter o Zephaniah and that becomes our inspiration for living out this Advent day to its fullest.

His writings are filled with symbolic meanings, metaphors, and word-play. This helps us to have a continued reading and application for our time and not only for the time of Zephaniah who prophesies during the time of the last king of Judah, Josiah( 630 B.C.E.).

Zephaniah’s words fit the theme of Advent which is the coming of the day of the Lord both seen in the birth of Jesus and at his final coming at the end of time.  We accommodate the text to help us to understand how Jesus and his mother Mary are involved in salvation history.  I bring in the person of Mary because the very next two lines speak of the Daughter of Zion and thus help us to reread other prophets who tell us the same thing about the Daughter of Mary.  Here is the text from Zephaniah 3:14-15:

“Sing, O Daughter of Zion, Shout , O Israel.  Be glad and rejoice with all thy heart. O Daughter of Jerusalem. The Lord has taken away thy judgments. He hath cast out thine enemy.  The King of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee. Thou shalt not fear evil anymore.”  (Zeph. 3:14-15).  Mary is among the remnant who has been faithful to God.  She belongs to those who are humble and lowly and among those who take refuge in the name of the Lord.

This prophetic call to the Daughter of Zion is confirmed in other prophets.  For example, Zechariah 2:14-15;  9:9;  Joel 3:21-23.  The message is similar to the Annunciation especially in the greeting and words of Gabriel.  Luke may have depended upon these prophetic verses to compose his Annunciation narrative.

Thus both John the Baptist and Mary help us to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord both at Christmas and at the Day of the Lord.  We continue to appreciate and enjoy these prophecies in this third week of Advent that started with the Gaudete (Rejoice) theme and the lighting of the third candle.  Christ is near!  We cry out Maranatha, Come, Lord Jesus, Come!



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