In today’s first reading (Isaiah 50) the prophet speaks of all the suffering he has been willing to undergo in his vocation of prophecy. From “buffets and spitting” to violent death he is called to endure whatever comes from those who refuse the messages he [or she] is compelled to offer in the service of truth, the word of God. We know this from the prophets of our own time, mindful of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as we just remembered the 50th anniversary of the Selma March. Jesus spoke the word of God in his very being and today Psalm 69 speaks of his motivation as he continues the journey toward crucifixion. It says: I have become an outcast to my brothers, a stranger to my mother’s sons, because zeal for your house consumes me.
The word zeal (from the Greek zelos) speaks loudly to me. It has many meanings. Among them are: passion, ardor, love, fervor, fire, avidity, devotion, enthusiasm, eagerness, keenness, gusto, vigor and intensity. Today I will carry it with me in all of its iterations, pondering the level of my zeal for “God’s house” and joining myself to the mind of Jesus as I move deeper into the experience of this Holy Week.