Oracles were at the heart of the mission of the prophets. Simply put, an oracle is a message from God, spoken by the prophet. In the Old Testament we find 3 major types of oracles, oracles of judgement, warnings and admonitions, and oracles of salvation. Some oracles of judgement are against Israel’s enemies, ‘oracles against the nations’. Some are judgement upon Israel or Judah. In either case, the die is cast. Admonitions warn about the consequence of the failure to repent, and call for repentance; the disaster can be avoided. While much of Zephaniah is dark, with threat of impending disaster, today’s passage is tremendously hopeful, an oracle of salvation. What an image! “God will rejoice over you with gladness, renew you in his love, sing joyfully because of you…” But remember, ‘you’ is not about one individual, it is about daughter Zion, the entire nation. Fast forward to today, God doesn’t pull one of us out of the congregation and start to dance, God rejoices over us all, over a community. Try thinking about the people who sit around you, and the whole congregation that prays with you at Mass. Now envision God singing with joy over the whole assembly!

Monday, December 14, 2015