We are Happy to be the Remnant Gathered around the Obedient Son of the Father

Homily for Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent

by Fr. Tommy Lane

Zephaniah in the first reading sees that Jerusalem is in a mess (Zeph 3:1-2). He describes the city as rebellious, polluted and tyrannical. Its underlying problem is that it does not trust in God. However amazingly he also sees a bright future when not only Jerusalem but all the nations will be obedient to God. This future begins when God will purify the lip of the people (Zeph 3:9). Although not evident in English translations, in these verses (3:9-10) Zephaniah uses the same Hebrew words used in Genesis 11 describing the Babel incident or he plays on those words so Zephaniah foresees a reversal of Babel, he foresees Pentecost. When that reversal of Babel, Pentecost, happens, he says there will be a humble and lowly remnant who will take refuge in the name of the Lord (3:12-13). That remnant is the Church.

Those who allow their hearts to be touched by God are those who belong to the remnant. The heart has to be open to God’s invitation. Not everyone who is invited to the Church accepts the invitation with full heart. In the Gospel (Matt 21:28-32), one son in Jesus’ parable says no but then does what he is supposed to do while the other says yes but does not do it. This parable is told by another Son, the Son of God, who said and did his Father’s will. We are happy to be part of the remnant gathered around him, and pray that our hearts will always be open to him that we may always say and do the Father’s will.

Today (December 13th, Memorial of St. Lucy) we give thanks to God for one of the remnant, St. Lucy, who was martyred during the Diocletian persecution in Sicily around the year 304. Her name, Lucy, is derived from “lux,” “light.” She is invoked to intercede for those with illnesses of the eyes and the Collect today asked that through her intercession we may behold things eternal.

© Fr. Tommy Lane 2016

This homily was delivered in Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland.