The Holy Jealousy

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Thus says the LORD of hosts: I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I am jealous for her with great wrath.” (Zechariah 8:2)

In today’s first reading, we hear God speaking through the lips of the prophet Zechariah: “I am jealous.” What could this mean? To properly understand God’s jealousy, let us find out where else in Scripture that God describes himself as jealous. This brings us to the book of Exodus and precisely to the Ten Commandments. Speaking through Moses, God declares:

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a JEALOUS GOD. (Exodus 20:2-5)

God is jealous for our sake because He alone is God and nothing else can take His place in our lives. This is why the saying is so true that “our hearts are restless until they rest in God.” Unfortunately, we spend a lot of our energies in life trying to find a replacement for God even without knowing it. This is what fuels our craze for material possessions, our drive for all kinds of pleasures and our insatiable quest for power.

Even the disciples of Jesus are not left out of this innate quest for power. In our Gospel passage, we find them arguing seriously about who is the greatest among them. Jesus brought a small child into their midst and said: “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest.” (Luke 9:48).

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, enlarge my heart to always give you the worship that you deserve. May I never try to find your replacement in my life. Amen.

Bible Study: Zechariah 8:1-8, Psalm 102 and Luke 9:46-50).

Fr. Abu