Tuesday of the third week of Advent in year B

Posté par diaconos le 15 décembre 2020

Messianic salvation is promised to all the poor

Mardi de la troisième semaine de l'Avent de l'année B dans CatéchèseZephaniah (צְפַנְיָה in Hebrew) is the ninth of the twelve little prophets of the Bible; he lived during the reign of Josiah, king of Judah, and was a contemporary of the prophet Jeremiah in the 7th century B.C. He is the author of the Book of Zephaniah, which is part of the Tanakh or Old Testament. Book of Zephaniah Located in the kingdom of Judah, the Book of Zephaniah probably predates by a few years the reform initiated by Josiah in 622 BC. Its message invites Judeans to turn to their God so as not to suffer the same fate as the kingdom of northern Israel, invaded a century earlier. In the Book of Zephaniah he prophesied the Day of Judgment. The attribute of Zephaniah is the lantern. It is explained by the passage in the prophecies where the Lord threatens the city of Jerusalem with imminent destruction: « At that time I will bring the light of the lamps into the most hidden places of Jerusalem » (Chapter I, verse 12).

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With the prophet Zephaniah we are transported to the beginning of the reign of the young king Josiah (So 1,1). So it was around the years 640-630 that the prophet Zephaniah denounced the infidelity of Judah and Jerusalem.  The presence of pagan cults, introduced under the influence of the Assyrian power, was a provocation to God. In his first oracles (So 1-2), Zephaniah denounced this compromise towards these foreign fashions in which princes and priests were led astray. Fifty years before the deportation of Judah and the prophets Jeremiah and Baruch, Zephaniah despaired of the perdition of the sons of Israel and announced his ruin, but also his salvation.

From the book of the prophet Zephaniah

Thus says the Lord: Woe to the rebellious, the impure, Jerusalem, the tyrannical city! She did not listen to the call, she did not accept the lesson, she did not trust in the Lord, she did not come near her God. Then I will cleanse the lips of the peoples, that all may call upon the name of the Lord and serve him with one accord.

 From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, those who worship me, my scattered children, will bring me my offering. In that day thou shalt no longer be ashamed of thy wickedness, of thy iniquities against me: for then I will take away from thee those who boast insolently, and thou shalt cease to strut about upon my holy mountain. And I will leave a poor and little people in thee, and they shall take the name of the Lord for refuge. This remnant of Israel shall do no more unrighteousness; they shall speak no more lies; in their mouths shall be no more deceitful speech. But they shall feed and rest, and no one shall frighten them. (So 3, 1-2.9-13)

# The best known Biblical figure bearing the name Zephaniah is the son of Cushi, and great-great grandson of King/ Hezekiah, ninth in the literary order of the Twelve Minor Prophets. He prophesied in the days of Josiah, ruler of the Kingdom of Judah (640–609 BCE), but before Josiah’s reform in 621 BCE, and was contemporary with Jeremiah, with whom he had much in common. The unique source containing the minimal knowledge of his personality and rhetorical and literary qualities is the short, three chapter book of the Old Testament which bears his name. The scene of his activity was the city of Jerusalem, which he seems to know well. The existence of two Zephaniahs linked to the book is considered purely hypothetical. In Christianity : He is commemorated with the other minor prophets in the calendar of saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church on July 31. On the Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar and in the Roman Martyrology, he is commemorated on December His book is an inspiration for the hymn, Dies irae.

The final promise

The prophet Zephaniah spoke to Jerusalem to make her understand the consequences of her sins. The judgement of the Lord was the only way to bring salvation to Israel. He passed suddenly from Nineveh to Jerusalem.

« For then I will give the peoples pure lips, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD to serve him with one accord. » This piece indicated the goal and described the wonderful fruit of the judgment: the confessors of the name of the LORD from among the Gentiles brought him their offerings; the saved remnant of Israel humbly trusted in the LORD, had no more enemies to fear and were glorified.

The lips of these peoples were defiled by the names of the false gods they invoked : « I will be your betrothed for ever ; I will be your betrothed in justice, righteousness, grace and mercy » (Hosea 2, 19); their hearts were transformed by their language and their worship. According to Jerome, the Jews concluded from these words that all peoples came to speak only one language, as in the beginning, and that this language was Hebrew.

This purification of the lips took place, until that hour, through the missionary work of the Church. These men who walked together were the converted Gentiles and Jews, united in the kingdom of God as in one spiritual homeland. After beginning by showing the salutary consequences of the judgment among the nations, the prophet ended with Judah, whose situation was changed in every detail.

The multitude of the scattered was personified, as in the expression the daughter of Zion, under the image of a young girl: « And the daughter of Zion remained As a hut in a vineyard, As a hut in a field of cucumbers, As a city spared.  « (Isaiah 1:8) The nations farthest away showed their zeal for the LORD by bringing back to him his former worshippers, the scattered members of the chosen people.

A humble and puny people. These two words, almost synonymous in Hebrew and often found together in the Old Testament, express the feeling of powerlessness to do good and the need for divine grace for salvation; from this naturally flows the one who will trust in the name of the Lord.

Deacon Michel Houyoux

Links to other Christian websites

◊ Catholic for live : click here to read the paper → Reading for Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent

Reflections on the sacred liturgy : click here to read the paper → Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent

Preachment of  : Cathedral o St John the Baptist (Norwich)

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