Scripture in Depth
Reading I: Zechariah 12:10-11; 13:1
The original meaning of this passage from Deutero-Zechariah is highly uncertain, but one thing is clear: the New Testament Church (Jn 19:37 and Rev 1:7) took it as a messianic prophecy, referring either to the crowd’s seeing the pierced Christ on the cross (John) or to the ungodly at the parousia (Revelation).
It has been argued that this text underlies all the references to “seeing” the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven (for example, Mk 13:26). In Christian interpretation, therefore, this text refers to the remorse that at the last judgment will overtake all who rejected Christ on earth.
It is arguable that this reading would be more appropriate for Advent or Holy Week. At this season of the year, when we think of the Christian life in the Spirit and of the pilgrimage of the Church from Pentecost to the parousia, it may serve as a reassurance to the community that the cause for which it stands—the gospel of Christ crucified—is certain of ultimate vindication.
Responsorial Psalm: 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
Many of the psalms are intensely personal, but when they were taken over for liturgical use they acquired a corporate meaning, the “I” of the psalmist being expanded to embrace the whole people of God.
In the person of Jesus Christ, who is the true Israel, the psalm is narrowed down again to a single person; but then it expands once again to include the body of Christ, which in him can apply the words to itself.
God’s people on pilgrimage pass through a dry and weary land where there is no water. But in the sanctuary, as they assemble to celebrate the liturgy, they have a pledge and assurance of the ultimate vindication of Christ’s cause.
They feast together on “marrow and fat” and praise God with joyful lips, even in the midst of the dry and weary land.
Reading II: Galatians 3:26-29
As we continue to read Galatians, we emerge from the long disputation on justification to something we feel we can really understand: the unity of the baptized in the Church, transcending all barriers of nationality, race, social standing, and sex.
But Paul could never have written this purple passage unless he had argued through the whole question of justification.
Only because baptism is the sacrament of justification are all these barriers of nature and history transcended; they are not transcended by being declared indifferent or due to misunderstanding.
Only when a person receives the forgiveness of justification imparted in baptism are these very real differences of nature, history, and culture overcome.
That people are one is an eschatological truth, a truth only “in Christ Jesus.”
Gospel: Luke 9:18-24
Peter came to his confession “The Christ of God,” not because he knew the correct doctrine of the incarnation in advance, but because of his encounter with the person of Jesus, watching him work and hearing him speak.
The doctrine of the incarnation is not the presupposition and premise of our understanding of Christ but the conclusion of our encounter with him.
That is why it is putting the cart before the horse to approach the Gospels with this kind of question: If Christ is divine, why could he not do (or say, or know) this or that?
We hear first what he says and see what he does, and then, as we encounter the presence of God in him who is truly human, we confess with Peter, “You are the Christ of God.”
For Jesus, however, to be the Christ was not a dignity to be claimed but a mission to be worked out, a mission that inevitably led him to the cross. And to follow him, to believe that he is the Christ, God present for us in human form, is to be called likewise to take up the cross “daily,” as Luke alone of the evangelists says. We have to die daily with Christ in order that we may rise again with him.
**From Saint Louis University