(For the audio version of this blog, please visit: http://brothersinchristcmf.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/Mass-Blog-for-the-14th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-2023.mp3)
The Leader we Christians worship is the same one Zechariah anticipated centuries before Christ’s arrival. This ancient prophet anticipated a king who would enter his kingdom, as this Sunday’s first reading (Zec 9:9-10) states, as “a just savior, meek, and riding on an ass.” He would “banish the warrior’s bow” and “proclaim peace to the nations;” and his dominion will be “from sea to sea,” and “to the ends of the earth.”
But if we read further into Zechariah, say to Chapter 11, we see that Jerusalem rejected both him and the coming of the good shepherd he anticipated. Instead, they embraced the false prophets among them who rejected the spirit of the true prophet’s teachings. They surrendered to the flesh imprisoning their own spirits, but didn’t realize their status as prisoners to this world. When Zechariah quits his job as prophet in frustration, they pay him what they see as his due: thirty pieces of silver—the going price for a slave.
Zechariah throws this money at the Temple treasury in testimony to how poorly God’s love is valued.
We can hear the echoes of those coins hitting the walls of our own churches as 21st century world citizens continue to abandon those buildings and the teachings proclaimed within them. Those teachings have been traded for the wages demanded by today’s false prophets who teach that the flesh of men and women are not made one, as the sacrament of matrimony teaches, but interchangeable and transitional. And when the union of flesh DOES result in the creation of new life as God intended, these false prophets teach that the price of THAT life is equally cheap—and expendable.
As a result, many of us moderns are more burdened by, and enslaved to, our flesh than our ancient ancestors were to theirs. The burden that threatens to crush us to death is the pride that politicizes morality. It’s happening slowly, as protesters replace worshippers in our churches and our sins become debatable. “Pride” groups such as “The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence” (Anti-Christ trans “nuns”) have been seen receiving Eucharist for reasons only they would know (and I fear to discover).
False prophecy has become big business in the world of politics.
But Sunday’s gospel (Mt 11:25-30) promises to resurrect the hope God inspired in Zechariah and Jesus inspired in Paul. Jesus said,
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
Also this Sunday, Paul teaches us to cast off the burdens of the flesh to which we’ve clung and, instead, embrace a new way of life (Rom 8:9, 11-13):
“For if you live according to the flesh, you will die,” Paul writes, “but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
Such a life is priceless.