Zephaniah 3:1-2, 9-13, December 14, 2021

Reading

Thus says the Lord:
Woe to the city, rebellious and polluted,
to the tyrannical city!
She hears no voice,
accepts no correction;
In the Lord she has not trusted,
to her God she has not drawn near.

For then I will change and purify
the lips of the peoples,
That they all may call upon the name of the Lord,
to serve him with one accord;
From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia
and as far as the recesses of the North,
they shall bring me offerings.

On that day
You need not be ashamed
of all your deeds,
your rebellious actions against me;
For then will I remove from your midst
the proud braggarts,
And you shall no longer exalt yourself
on my holy mountain.
But I will leave as a remnant in your midst
a people humble and lowly,
Who shall take refuge in the name of the Lord:
the remnant of Israel.
They shall do no wrong
and speak no lies;
Nor shall there be found in their mouths
a deceitful tongue;
They shall pasture and couch their flocks
with none to disturb them.

Reflection:  

Zephaniah could be talking to our world today with its many issues and problems such as uprisings, unrest, and the environment.  The prophet was addressing the fact people were worshiping false gods who were polluting their minds and hearts with a distorted vision of who God was.  We live in a complex world with a lot of ideas, opinions, and philosophies.  So many seem to form their conscience and principles by popular ideologies, the media or internet, or what they watch on the news channels.  Many times it leaves us with a distorted view of the world and what God intends for us.  How do we form our conscience?  Augustine noted, “The perfection of religion is to imitate the one you worship.”  We worship Jesus Christ; the call of every Christian is to imitate Jesus in all aspects of our life.  It is important we challenge ourselves with the Gospel message of Jesus.  It may be tough to hear, or we do not necessarily agree, but we are challenged to spiritually stretch ourselves to conform our minds and hearts to God, who offers unconditional love and joy.  By doing this we will experience the true peace and hope that only Jesus can offer.