“Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Behold, I will save my people from the land of the east and from the land of the west; I will bring them back, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. They shall be my people and I will be their God, in truth and righteousness.’ Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Let your hands be strong… For before these days there were no wages for man nor any hire for beast; There was no peace from the enemy for whoever went out or came in; For I set all men, everyone, against his neighbor. But now I will not treat the remnant of this people as in the former days,’ says the Lord of hosts.” (Zechariah 8: 7-9a, 10-11) How interesting, that this Scripture-reading (for this Friday of Cheesefare Week) coincides with International Women’s Day. Regardless of whether we subscribe to the politics of “east” or “west,” on women’s issues, here’s what the Lord of hosts says to us: “Behold, I will save my people” from both; “from the land of the east and from the land of the west; I will bring them back,” He says, to a middle-ground that is His kingdom, signified here by “the midst of Jerusalem.” And He invites our “hands” to be “strong,” regardless of “wage”-issues (say, like the notorious “wage gap”), and regardless of “everyone” being set against his (or her) “neighbor,” say, in gender-related resentments, abuses, or simple misunderstandings, in our “#metoo” era. God offers us liberation from “the former time,” marked by “no peace,” if we embrace His authority and His call, to respond to our vocations, which come from Him and not anyone else. So “let our hands be strong,” both men and women, whatever we are called to be or do, in our time and by His grace, so He can do with us what He intends, which is to be our God, and for us to be His people, “in truth and righteousness.” Today let me not focus on the politics of what I am or what I do, but on my New Employer, Who gathers us all into Himself, when we follow the narrow, cross-carrying path of our vocations.

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