This week's Dwelling on the Word of God considers this coming Sunday's first reading from the Book of Zechariah.
First reading (Zechariah 9:9-10):
'The Lord says this:
Rejoice heart and soul, daughter of Zion!
Shout with gladness, daughter of Jerusalem!
See now, your king comes to you;
he is victorious, he is triumphant,
humble and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
He will banish chariots from Ephraim
and horses from Jerusalem;
the bow of war will be banished.
He will proclaim peace for the nations.
His empire shall stretch from sea to sea,
from the River to the ends of the earth.'
The Old Testament is often criticised for being violent and unforgiving. Indeed non-believers often quote the Old Testament to portray a ‘God of anger’ and a God who appears to do everything but love his created people.
Yet in this reading from the book of Zechariah we find the real beauty of the Old Testament. We see an optimistic prophecy proclaiming the coming of a king, a king who is ‘victorious’ and ‘triumphant’; a king who is ‘humble’. It is real hope in a divided world where war and destruction so often seem to be the order of the day.
Remember, this book was written many years before Jesus was born, yet it confidently and accurately describes his journey into Jerusalem. It confidently speaks of his proclamation of peace for all and predicts that his empire shall stretch ‘to the ends of the earth’.
Today we must look in the mirror and see that empire. We are the people of Zechariah’s prophecy. We need to be that peace stretching to the ends of the earth, bringing the Good News to all people. We must continue the work of Christ in proclaiming peace, telling the world that Jesus came to earth to save them and that eternal happiness with the Father in heaven is our destiny.
While Jesus was the fulfilment of Zechariah’s prophecy, we must be the fulfilment of Christ’s proclamation of peace.