June 21, 2013

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time / Msgr. Owen F. Campion

The Sunday Readings

Msgr. Owen CampionThe first biblical reading for this weekend is from the Book of Zechariah. It is possible to know some details about this prophet. He was of the priestly caste, and was born in Babylon during the Captivity. As a young man, he began to prophesy in the sixth century BC.

In the same mode as the other prophets, Zechariah called the people of his time to faithfulness and to obedience to God’s law. Also, he reminded the people of God’s love and goodness. God forgives sin. God strengthens. God heals.

This reading this weekend refers to an unnamed victim of the destruction of Jerusalem. This victim will be greatly mourned. The victim was uncompromisingly true to God.

Pious Christians have applied it to Jesus, the Son of God and Redeemer, as they have read this Scripture.

For its second reading, the Church presents a lesson from the Epistle to the Galatians. This reading states that each person is a child of God because each person, through the Incarnation, is a human brother or sister of Jesus. Each believer has been “clothed” with Christ.

The Lord is intimately and indelibly a part of each sincere Christian. Each believer belongs to God, in Christ.

St. Luke’s Gospel is the source of the last reading. In this passage, Jesus asks how the Apostles view him. Peter replies that Jesus is the “Messiah of God” (Lk 9:20). Peter’s confession on faith in Jesus reveals two important catechetical points.

The first is that Peter spoke for the Twelve. The Gospel recorded Peter’s statement. Secondly, Peter was inspired and wise enough to recognize Jesus. Go no farther than the four Gospels to find evidence of Peter’s importance in the unfolding of salvation in Jesus.

The Lord then declares that true discipleship is more than a warm feeling of somehow vaguely being connected with Jesus. Following Christ is no occasional choice, of being faithful at this moment, but selfish at the next.

Discipleship is a wholehearted identification with the Lord, verified by literally walking with Christ through the difficulties of life. Each true disciple must also carry the cross as Jesus carried the cross.


The first reading was from Zechariah. Born when Jews were held in captivity in a foreign, hostile environment, Zechariah eventually benefited from being in the generation that was released from this captivity and was able to return to the Jewish homeland.

Important to understanding Zechariah, he, and his contemporaries, never saw this release from Babylon as the result of mere luck or coincidence. Rather, in their minds, God rescued them.

It was the ancient Hebrew way of looking at things. All happened in God’s good time. All good came from God. Such a perception would have formed the answer to any question about God that might have come before Hebrews in ancient times.

Galatians obliquely refers to God’s love. God sent Jesus to humanity. In Jesus, humans can become nothing less than heirs to eternal peace. In Jesus, humans become brothers and sisters of the Son of God, with God their Father in a most special sense.

In St. Luke’s Gospel, Peter proclaims the Lord as the “Christ of God,” the messiah, the bearer of life and hope.

Hearing this reading from Luke, we all should look into our hearts and decide what answer we would give were the Lord to question us, “Who do you say that I am?”

It might seem that echoing the words of Peter would be easy. It is not. The Lord, speaking in the Gospel, tells us that true fidelity to Jesus has its cost. Very often the cost is high. Paying the price is as daunting as carrying the cross. Jesus reminds true believers that they must follow on the road to Calvary. †

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