Reconciliation Lectionary: Zechariah 1:1-6

mary-the-penitent.jpgProphets from Elijah to John the Baptist urged people to repentance. Such advice often went unheeded. They also remind us this has all happened before.

The post-Exilic community, in joy at the return from Babylon, clearly needed a repeat of the old message. The prophet offers his resume:

In the second year of Darius,
in the eighth month,
the word of the LORD came to the prophet Zechariah,
son of Berechiah, son of Iddo:

And launches into the message:

The LORD was indeed very angry with your (ancestors) …
and say to them:
Thus says the LORD of hosts:
Return to me says the LORD of hosts,
and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts.
Be not like your (ancestors) whom the former prophets warned:
Thus says the LORD of hosts:
Turn from your evil ways and from your wicked deeds.
But they would not listen or pay attention to me, says the LORD.
Your ancestors, where are they?
And the prophets, can they live forever?
But my words and my decrees,
which I entrusted to my servants the prophets,
did these not overtake your (ancestors)?
Then they repented and admitted:
“The LORD of hosts has treated us
according to our ways and deeds,
just as he had determined he would.”

Scripture scholars suggest that this introductory passage to the book is more or less the prophet offering his bona fides to the community. While I’m sure the sentiment is heartfelt and true, biblical scholars are not sure exactly if Zechariah is addressing a specific problem, at least based on what follows in this  book.

No matter. A general call to repentance is good, especially for Lent, I suppose. And this passage is short enough– maybe just verses 2-6, for the reconciliation of an individual penitent.

That last reminder may be apt: eventually God treats us “according to our ways and deeds,” just as he has done for those of former generations.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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