This weekend is Saturday the 5th and Sunday the 6th of July, beginning the Fourteenth Week of Ordinary Time.

Dean, Lee, and Mills sing I cry Holy.

Through the readings we have prayed this week, anyone who wants to be a disciple has been challenged strongly. “Let the dead bury their dead.” “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” “I hate, I despise your festivals.” “I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.” You could be forgiven for feeling by this point a little bruised, a little wounded. Why does God seem so anxious to put us in our place, to speak harsh words to those who want only to serve him?

The truth of the matter is, of course, that God doesn’t want to put us off or hurt us. What he does want is for us to follow him with our eyes fully open, knowing the cost of discipleship. God knows that the plans he has for the world are bound to provoke opposition. He knows, too, that anyone who speaks in God’s name will sometimes have to pay the price for being on God’s side. He knows, because he remembers all that happened when he himself came into our world as a human being like ourselves.

Listen now to this reading from the Prophet Zechariah, that speaks of the hopes that the Jewish people had for the day when the one to be sent by God finally arrived.

Zechariah speaks of a time of universal peace, a time presided over by the King God has appointed, a time of widespread rejoicing. What is your first reaction when you hear these promises?
The King who is coming is both triumphant and humble, a forceful leader and yet one who remains close to his people. Could you imagine yourself following a leader of that kind? What would that be like?

The people of Jerusalem are instructed to “rejoice greatly” when all this come to pass. What would God have to do to lead you to rejoice greatly in this way?

Later Christian tradition applies these words to the entry into Jerusalem that Jesus made on Palm Sunday, at the start of his Passion. As you listen again, see if this context changes the way in which you hear these words, how they feel or what they mean to you.

As this time of prayer draws to a close, take a moment to ask God for whatever you need to meet the challenge of being a disciple.