July 7, 2023

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

The Sunday Readings

Msgr. Owen CampionThe first reading for Mass this weekend is from the Book of Zechariah.

Zechariah was of the priestly caste and was born in Babylon. His birth occurred during the time when many Jews were in forced exile in the Babylonian capital.

He went to the Holy Land with his grandfather when the exile was ended. It might be assumed that he was either a youth or a young adult when he made this trip, as few grandparents at the time lived long enough to see their grandchildren reach middle age.

Finally in the Holy Land, he devoted himself to the care and study of the Scriptures. Obviously, he saw himself and was regarded by others as a prophet.

He met a violent death, being murdered apparently in the temple precincts.

Whatever his age, it was likely that he would have seen and experienced himself the enthusiasm of the people as they left the despised Babylon and began their journey home.

The reading for this weekend captures this great joy. All wrongs were to be righted. To lead the people into a new day of peace and prosperity, God will send a messiah who will enter the holy city of Jerusalem with great humility, seated on an ass.

This image was to be a part of the event of Palm Sunday many centuries later when Jesus entered Jerusalem days before his passion, death and resurrection.

St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans provides the second reading. In this selection, Paul repeats the theme so often given in his writings. Christians not only follow Christ in their own walk through life. More than that, the Lord becomes part of them. They become part of Jesus. Christian discipleship forges this strong bond.

The last reading is from St. Matthew’s Gospel. Jesus continually encountered people well educated in the Scriptures. Often, they opposed the Lord. Yet, in the minds of many at the time, they were the wisest and most learned in society.

Understandably, Jesus had to insist that the wisest in popular consensus were not the wisest after all. By contrast, the Lord says that humble and innocent children often can better see the most profound of truths.

Jesus, however, does not abandon people to drown in the sea of their own pride and ignorance. Rather, he calls them and reaches out to them. Confronting all the obstacles of life is not easy, but it is a burden lightened by the support that comes from Jesus, the Son of God.


The Gospel this weekend presents facts indispensable to Christian doctrine and to achieving Christian holiness. None of us, in the last analysis, is perfectly insightful. Original sin has robbed us of our good vision. We all look at a world with blurred vision, out of focus. Everything is distorted and unclear. We are myopic.

In this fog, we are afraid. Uncertain, nervous, we think only of ourselves. In our inadequacy, even though not identified, we exaggerate ourselves. We make ourselves greater than we are.

We deceive ourselves. We trick ourselves into thinking that we can find the way on our own. We cannot. Only God can show the way.

Mercifully, happily for us, God shows us the way in Jesus. He not only leads us, but also gives us a share in his divine life. As true believers, we live in Jesus and the Lord lives in us.

The key to attaining this relationship is our humility, our trust in God, all empowered by the grace of God.

We do not have to yearn for God without relief. God awaits our call. He loves us with an everlasting, perfect love. He will come to us. Thus, with Zechariah, we can rejoice that the Lord comes to us. †

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