The Twelve Minor Prophets on the Way to Emmaus

May 6, 2014 at 7:31 pm Leave a comment

Homily for Third Week of Easter: Cycle A

ROME, May 04, 2014 (Zenit.org) –

Acts 2:14, 22-33; Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11; 1 Peter 1:17-21; Luke 24:13-35

On the way to Emmaus, Jesus opens the Scriptures to the two disciples and shows them how it was necessary that the Christ suffer so as to enter into his glory. Every Sunday, the Liturgy of the Word is like a walk to Emmaus. We read this Gospel on Easter Wednesday and saw how Jesus fulfilled the five books of Moses and the four major prophets. Today, we look at the twelve minor prophets and how their prophecies and actions are fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

The prophet Hosea is commanded by God to marry a harlot, symbolizing how Israel has forsaken the Lord. He foretells the day when Judah and Israel will be restored under one head. “The children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king” (Hosea 3:5). God loves his people in spite of their unfaithfulness, and calls them to repentance. The people will respond and seek God and say: “Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn, that he may heal us; he has stricken, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him” (6:1-2). God is merciful and desires mercy rather that sacrificial offerings (6:6). God will lead the people of Israel and bend down and feed them (11:4); he will save his people from death (13:14); he will heal their faithlessness. Jesus fulfills the prophecies of Hosea, for he is the Bridegroom, who enters into a wedding covenant with Israel and the Gentiles, even though they have been unfaithful. He is the Son of David who reunites the Judah and Israel. He raises up the people by calling them to share in his death and resurrection through Baptism. He is the merciful high-priest who offers himself in sacrifice, washing away our sins and saving us from the throes of death. Through his incarnation, the Son of God bends down from heaven, leads the people of Israel and feeds them with bread from heaven.

The prophet Joel calls for a return to the Lord (2:13) and foresees an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the age of the Messiah (2:29). John the Baptist echoes this call and proclaims that the Messiah, Jesus Christ, will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. At the Last Supper, Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit to the Apostles and this promise is fulfilled on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:16-21). Today’s first reading recalls Peter’s spirit-inspired preaching on that great day.

Amos was commanded by the Lord to prophesy to Israel that they will be punished because they trample the poor underfoot (2:7). The people must seek good and not evil, hate evil and love good and establish justice (5:14-15). Even though Assyria will send the northern tribes of Israel into exile, God promises to raise up the fallen booth of David (9:11). Jesus is the Son of David, who restores justice and seeks out the lost tribes of Israel.

Obadiah foretells that Edom (Mount Esau) will be brought down because of the violence committed against Jerusalem. Edom gloats over the misfortune of Judah and they will be destroyed, while a remnant on Mount Zion will escape. Jesus is persecuted by King Herod, an Edomite, at the time of his birth. Herod’s kingdom comes to an end, while Jesus’ Kingdom – established in the hearts of his disciples on the night of the Last Supper and through his passion and death – will last forever.

In his preaching, Jesus refers directly to the sign of the prophet Jonah, which looks forward to his crucifixion and resurrection. Just as Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish and is returned to dry land, so Jesus spends three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Matthew 12:38-41) and is raised up on the third day. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is the greatest sign that he is the Messiah and Son of God.

Micah prophesies that the Lord is coming forth out of his place and will come down to earth (1:3). God will gather the remnant of Israel like a sheep in a fold, like a flock in its pasture (2:12). The king will lead them as a shepherd. Micah also prophesies that the Messiah, the ruler in Israel, will come from Bethlehem (5:2). Jesus is both the Good Shepherd (John 10:11) and the sheep gate (John 10:9), who leads the people as their king. He descends from King David and was born in Bethlehem. Through his passion, Jesus mercifully casts our sins into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19).

Nahum prophesies the destruction of Nineveh, the oppressor of God’s people. Through his death and resurrection, Jesus destroys the kingdom of the evil one and frees the people from slavery to sin. Those who plot against the Lord will be conquered; the lions (Nahum 2:11, 12) are destroyed by Jesus Christ, the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5). Jesus is the stronghold in the day of trouble and knows those who take refuge in him (Nahum 1:7).

Habakkuk complains and asks God why he allows the wicked to swallow up those who are more righteous. God answers him that the righteous live by faith (2:4). In his concluding prayer, the prophet looks forward to the salvation of God’s anointed (3:13). There is rejoicing in the Lord and joy in the God of our salvation (3:18). Jesus calls men to believe in him and be saved. He is the Messiah, the anointed one, and the answer to Habakkuk’s question. In Jesus, we rejoice because we are saved in him.

Zephaniah speaks about a remnant, humble and lowly who will seek refuge in the name of the Lord (3:12). He promises that the King of Israel, the Lord, will stand in the midst of Israel (3:15). Jesus calls his followers to imitate his humility and meekness (Matthew 11:29) and proclaims that through him and in him “the Kingdom of God is in your midst” (Luke 17:21). The humble and the righteous will be hidden on the day of the wrath of the Lord (Zephaniah 2:3).

Through the prophet Haggai, God commands the people to rebuild the temple. God promises to overthrow the kingdoms of the nations and establish Zerubbabel as the Lord’s signet ring (Haggai 2:23). Jesus’ risen body is the new Temple of God; he is the descendant of Zerubbabel (Matthew 1:12), who rules as king over all the nations.

The prophet Zechariah foretells of a royal priest, the Branch, who will build the temple of the Lord and shall sit and rule upon the throne of the Lord (6:12-13). Israel’s King will come in humility, riding on a donkey (9:9). He will restore Judah and Israel and gather them from among the nations (10:6-10). Jerusalem will look upon him whom they have pierced and weep over him and mourn for him (12:10). A fountain will be opened for the people to cleanse them from sin (13:1). On the day of the Lord, living waters will flow from Jerusalem and the Lord will be king over all the earth. Jesus is the royal priest, who promises to raise up the temple in three days. He came to Jerusalem in humility on Palm Sunday and rode upon a donkey. He was pierced on the Cross and, from his open side, flowed blood and water. He is the source of living water and rules as King over all nations.

The prophet Malachi prophesies against the priests who have despised the name of the Lord and polluted his altar with unworthy sacrifices. He foresees the day when a pure offering is offered from the rising of the sun to its setting (1:11). Malachi accuses the priests of corrupting the covenant made with Levi and accuses Judah of profaning the sanctuary of the Lord (2:11). The messenger of the Lord will appear in the temple and purify the sons of Levi so that they present right offerings to the Lord (3:1-3). God is sending Elijah the prophet to turn the hearts of the people before the day of the Lord comes (4:5-6). Jesus tells his disciples that Elijah has come in the figure of John the Baptist, who called the people to conversion. Jesus will accuse the scribes and Pharisees of their corruption and hypocrisy (Matthew 23:1-36; Luke 11:37-12:3). Jesus offers a new sacrifice, pleasing to God, and is constituted our high-priest, not according to the order of Levi, but according to the order of Melchizedek. The Apostles share in Christ’s priesthood and, throughout the centuries, the priests of Jesus Christ offer the pure sacrifice of the Eucharist to God the Father. Like the disciples at table in Emmaus, Jesus, the Word of God, is known to us in the Breaking of the Bread.

 —
Readers may contact Father Jason Mitchell at mitchelljason2011@gmail.com.

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