Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I Will Purify The People

December 13, 2011

Memorial of St. Lucy

By Beth DeCristofaro

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.
(Zephaniah 3:1-2, 8-9)

The Lord hears the cry of the poor. (Psalm 34:7a)

Which of the two did his father's will?" They answered, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the Kingdom of God before you. (Matthew 21:31)


Lord, help me to embrace the poverty of throwing off my own indulgent ways or needs which rise out of my fears, angers or desires. Help me to seek the poverty which is placing you, Lord Jesus, at the center of my being. Help me to say “yes” and go out to your vineyards where I will reap the rewards of being in your presence all the days of my life.


Although there isn’t much historical evidence, the long tradition which has sprung up around the heroic martyr Lucy stands in stark contrast to the brothers in Jesus’ parable. He spoke about two sons, one of whom did not honor his father’s request, one of whom did after disrespecting his father’s request by saying “no.” Lucy chose to honor her pledge to be a bride of Christ and not only said “yes” to God but chose martyrdom over breaking her pledge.

I once heard a Baptist preacher, all full of fiery and rousing rhetoric ask the question: “If we are supposed to be lights for the world, why is the world so dark?” Maybe Jesus’ parable throws some understanding on his question. How often do we say yes without a real commitment – meaning “no” in the secret of our hearts or say yes but grudgingly. As if we are doing a favor to God! There is little light in that. There is barely a smudge of smoke in a life like that.

The hope and promise, such as what God offers to the people through the prophet Zephaniah and what Jesus explains to the leaders, is that in God there can be salvation. Through Jesus even those of us who say “no” can say “yes.” God is always there, waiting for us with purifying grace.


In what way are we carrying Jesus’ light to the world as we make our way to the Christmas stable? Are we carrying his light or do we seek to throw our own light instead? Treat yourself to some beautiful Christmas sacred music and renew your “yes” as a friend of Jesus.