Patristic Lectionary – Sunday, 12th Week in Ordinary Time (1st Sunday in Trinitytide) – 19 June 2022 – Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
[Consonant with both Anglicanism’s and monasticism’s love of patristic theology-spirituality, this is a series of occasional selections from a two-year lectionary for the Divine Office that draws mostly from patristic writings. The lectionary was initially edited by Stephen Mark Holmes (University of Edinburgh School of Divinity) and subsequently re-edited and formatted by Michele Freyhauf (Durham University). Click here for the link to the lectionary. R. M. Healey’s edition is also used if there are lacunae in the Durham edition. Click here for the link to Healey’s formatting of the lectionary.]
[ Image: Zerubbabel from the _Tree of Jesse_ Window (1533), St. Dyfnog’s Church, Llanrhaedr, North Wales ( Photo by Sonia Halliday ) ]
[ Next selection of readings in this lectionary. ]
Zechariah 3:1 – 4:14
Prophecies Spoken to Zerubbabel and to Joshua the High Priest
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, O Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with rich apparel.” And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments; and the angel of the LORD was standing by.
And the angel of the LORD enjoined Joshua, “Thus says the LORD of hosts: If you will walk in my ways and keep my charge, then you shall rule my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you the right of access among those who are standing here. Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who sit before you, for they are men of good omen: behold, I will bring my servant the Branch. For behold, upon the stone which I have set before Joshua, upon a single stone with seven facets, I will engrave its inscription, says the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the guilt of this land in a single day. In that day, says the LORD of hosts, every one of you will invite his neighbour under his vine and under his fig tree.”
And the angel who talked with me came again, and waked me, like a man that is wakened out of his sleep. And he said to me, “What do you see?” I said, “I see, and behold, a lampstand all of gold, with a bowl on the top of it, and seven lamps on it, with seven lips on each of the lamps which are on the top of it. And there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.” And I said to the angel who talked with me, “What are these, my lord?” Then the angel who talked with me answered me, “Do you not know what these are?” I said, “No, my lord.” Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts. What are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain; and he shall bring forward the top stone amid shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’” Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also complete it. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you. For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel.
“These seven are the eyes of the LORD, which range through the whole earth.” Then I said to him, “What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the lampstand?” And a second time I said to him, “What are these two branches of the olive trees, which are beside the two golden pipes from which the oil is poured out?” He said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” I said, “No, my lord.” Then he said, “These are the two anointed who stand by the Lord of the whole earth.”
St. Cyril of Alexandria
Commentarius in Zachariam Prophetam ( Patrologia Graeca 72:64-65 )
This is the word of the Lord concerning Zerubbabel: Not by great power, nor by force, but by my Spirit, says the Almighty Lord. This is the same as saying that all that Zechariah had just seen would come to completion at the appointed time, not as the achievement of human power, nor by physical force, but by the power of the Holy Spirit, and as a sign from God.
For the Only Son was made a man like ourselves. However, he did not engage in physical combat to set up the Church as a light to the world. Nor did he wield arms in a literal sense, drawing up the two nations in warlike battle-lines around him. He did not even provide the lamp-stand with spiritual lamps, but by the force of the Holy Spirit he first appointed Apostles in the Churches, next Prophets and Evangelists and the rest of the holy assembly, filling them full of God’s gifts and enriching them with the Spirit in abundant profusion.
So it was neither by great power nor by the physical strength of Christ but by the power of the Spirit that Satan was despoiled, and the whole horde of hostile powers fell with him, and that the Israelites and those who formerly worshiped created things rather than the Creator were called through faith to knowledge of God. Lamps were revealed in the Churches too, the saints who shone out together with the lantern, that is, Christ. For they became, as Paul writes in his great wisdom, stars in the universe, holding fast to the word of life.
Again, the fact that it was not by human hand but by his own power as God that Emmanuel saved the world, he solemnly affirmed through the mouth of Hosea. These are his words: but I shall have mercy on the children of Judah, and I shall save them – not by bow and arrow, sword, war, chariots, horses or horsemen, but by the Lord their God. But he gave the clearest message to Zerubbabel, of the tribe of Judah, who was at that time placed in the position of king of Jerusalem. For in case he thought that the splendid and marvellous achievements foretold for him meant wars, and it was fighting that would begin at the appointed time, the Lord had to drive such unsound human thoughts out of his mind, and instead commanded him to understand that it was by activity worthy of God and not by human power that Christ would bring such things to a conclusion. And then we remember saying that in himself Zerubbabel signified Christ, since he was of the tribe of Judah and a king, but he was also this in conjunction with Jesus the son of Jehozadak, so that Emmanuel might be understood as both king and high priest at once in the same person.