12th Sunday of Ordinary Time
June 19, 2016
Reginald H. Fuller
Reading I: Zechariah 12:10-11; 13:1
The original meaning of this passage from Deutero-Zechariah
is highly uncertain, but one thing is clear: the New Testament
Church (Jn 19:37 and Rev 1:7) took it as a messianic prophecy,
referring either to the crowd’s seeing the pierced Christ on
the cross (John) or to the ungodly at the parousia (Revelation).
It has been argued that this text underlies all the references
to “seeing” the Son of man coming on the clouds of
heaven (for example, Mk 13:26). In Christian interpretation,
therefore, this text refers to the remorse that at the last
judgment will overtake all who rejected Christ on earth.
It is arguable that this reading would be more appropriate for
Advent or Holy Week. At this season of the year, when we think
of the Christian life in the Spirit and of the pilgrimage of
the Church from Pentecost to the parousia, it may serve as a
reassurance to the community that the cause for which it standsthe
gospel of Christ crucifiedis certain of ultimate vindication.
Responsorial Psalm: 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
Many of the psalms
are intensely personal, but when they were taken over for liturgical
use they acquired a corporate meaning, the “I” of
the psalmist being expanded to embrace the whole people of God.
In the person of Jesus Christ, who is the true Israel, the psalm
is narrowed down again to a single person; but then it expands
once again to include the body of Christ, which in him can apply
the words to itself.
God’s people on pilgrimage pass through
a dry and weary land where there is no water. But in the sanctuary,
as they assemble to celebrate the liturgy, they have a pledge
and assurance of the ultimate vindication of Christ’s cause.
They feast together on “marrow and fat” and praise
God with joyful lips, even in the midst of the dry and weary
Reading II: Galatians 3:26-29
As we continue
to read Galatians, we emerge from the long disputation on justification
to something we feel we can really understand: the unity of
the baptized in the Church, transcending all barriers of nationality,
race, social standing, and sex.
But Paul could never have written
this purple passage unless he had argued through the whole question
Only because baptism is the sacrament of justification
are all these barriers of nature and history transcended; they
are not transcended by being declared indifferent or due to
Only when a person receives the forgiveness
of justification imparted in baptism are these very real differences
of nature, history, and culture overcome.
That people are one
is an eschatological truth, a truth only “in Christ
Peter came to his confession “The Christ of God,”
not because he knew the correct doctrine of the incarnation
in advance, but because of his encounter with the person of
Jesus, watching him work and hearing him speak.
of the incarnation is not the presupposition and premise of
our understanding of Christ but the conclusion of our encounter
That is why it is putting the cart before the horse
to approach the Gospels with this kind of question: If Christ
is divine, why could he not do (or say, or know) this or that?
We hear first what he says and see what he does, and then, as
we encounter the presence of God in him who is truly human,
we confess with Peter, “You are the Christ of God.”
For Jesus, however, to be the Christ was not a dignity to be
claimed but a mission to be worked out, a mission that inevitably
led him to the cross. And to follow him, to believe that he
is the Christ, God present for us in human form, is to be called
likewise to take up the cross “daily,” as Luke alone
of the evangelists says. We have to die daily with Christ in
order that we may rise again with him.
Reginald H. Fuller
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Preaching the Lectionary:
The Word of God for the Church Today
Reginald H. Fuller and Daniel Westberg. Liturgical Press. 1984 (Revised Edition), pp. 478-480.
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