Loss, illness, hunger, worry. The pandemic has thrown the world into conditions of potential despair. Is God angry with us? Has God forsaken us? Where is our salvation?
Similar sorrows and questions accompanied the Israelites during their long Babylonian exile. In recent daily mass readings we have lamented along with them as they longed for lost ways of life and reflected on their offenses to God. However, in the Scripture readings this weekend, sorrow gives ways to rejoicing as Psalm 145 assures us that: “The Lord lifts up all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed.” Even more, the prophet Zechariah foretells the arrival of a new King, a king of peace and restoration, whose reign will be forever.
Who is this King who fulfills Zechariah’s prophesy? The Gospel of Matthew gives a most intimate view of his person. He is humble and mild. He is a king whose whole being is in dialogue with God and points toward the power of God. He is generous with his wisdom. He is transparent in his words. He is at home with commoners. He offers to lead his people from bondage to freedom by way of their relationship with him. He is a king who wants to work side by side with us if we are willing to take on the yoke of faith and fidelity and pull as one in the direction of salvation.Christ’s love is the way out of despair.