SATURDAY OF THE TWENTY-SEVENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Joel 4: 12-21
Thus says the LORD:
Let the nations bestir themselves and come up
to the Valley of Jehoshaphat;
For there will I sit in judgment
upon all the neighboring nations.
Apply the sickle,
for the harvest is ripe;
Come and tread,
for the wine press is full;
The vats overflow,
for great is their malice.
Crowd upon crowd
in the valley of decision;
For near is the day of the LORD
in the valley of decision.
Sun and moon are darkened,
and the stars withhold their brightness.
The LORD roars from Zion,
and from Jerusalem raises his voice;
The heavens and the earth quake,
but the LORD is a refuge to his people,
a stronghold to the children of Israel.
Then shall you know that I, the LORD, am your God,
dwelling on Zion, my holy mountain;
Jerusalem shall be holy,
and strangers shall pass through her no more.
And then, on that day,
the mountains shall drip new wine,
and the hills shall flow with milk;
And the channels of Judah
shall flow with water:
A fountain shall issue from the house of the LORD,
to water the Valley of Shittim.
Egypt shall be a waste,
and Edom a desert waste,
Because of violence done to the people of Judah,
because they shed innocent blood in their land.
But Judah shall abide forever,
and Jerusalem for all generations.
I will avenge their blood,
and not leave it unpunished.
The LORD dwells in Zion.
The Lord is king! Let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad! Clouds and thick darkness are all around him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. Fire goes before him, and consumes his adversaries on every side. His lightnings light up the world; the earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his righteousness; and all the peoples behold his glory. All worshipers of images are put to shame, those who make their boast in worthless idols; all gods bow down before him. Zion hears and is glad, and the towns of Judah rejoice, because of your judgments, O God. For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.
The Lord loves those who hate evil; he guards the lives of his faithful; he rescues them from the hand of the wicked. Light dawns for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart. Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name!
While he was saying this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!”
In today’s scriptures we see two very dramatic sides to God. We see his wrath and his blessings on his people. In the first reading, we read about the terror of the day when the Lord comes. The Lord will roar from Zion and the sun, moon, and stars will withhold their brightness. He will avenge the blood of his people and dwell in their land. Then, in the psalm, we read how God is powerful and terrifying in his judgments. Yet, light dawns for the righteous and God rescues his people from the hand of the wicked. Lastly, in the gospel, Jesus declares how blessed are the people who hear the word of God and obey it.
Today’s readings should strike both fear and reassurance in our hearts. We read how God’s judgements for the wicked are truly terrifying. Yet, he restores his people and calls those blessed who obey his word.
As we watch the events unfolding in the world, cling to God’s word. Stand in faith knowing that God saves and restores his people. No matter the confusion and violence you see in the world today, hold fast to the word of God. Praise him today and, in everything, obey his word.