- Reading I: Joel 4:12-21
- Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 97
- Gospel Reading: Luke 11:27-28
The Judgment of the Nations and the Vindication of Israel
Images of the spreading locusts somehow overlap with images of judgment and harvest. We have seen how judgment is illustrated with images of harvest. With Joel however the apocalyptic vision of the invading locusts somehow trigger visions of judgment and harvest appear on the one hand in relation to the nations to be judged and on the other as the end-result of Israel’s vindication.
The Valley of Jehosaphat is name of the valley where God will judge the nations. It is also called Valley of Decision in (v.14). The present "Valley of Jehosaphat" (the Kidron Valley) which name is traceable only to the 4th century AD is not referred to here.
What was announced in Joel 2:18-27 will be realized after the Lord has passed decisive judgment on the nations that have caused Israel so much pain and anguish. The Day of the Lord will also be the Day of Jerusalem and Judah.
Blessed are the Breasts that Suckled You
The exchange between Jesus and the woman also has the effect of recalling to the readers’ or listeners’ ears statements earlier made that are worded in a similar way as the macharism. Going backwards, there is the saying about the word of Jesus convoking and gathering together his family (8:21). Then, there is the comparison between the man who hears and does the words of Jesus with someone who builds his house on a firm foundation ( 6:47-48). Further, if one would trace backwards the first time that the participle phulassontes was used, one would find the shepherds who were keeping watch when the angels first announced the news (2:8) Again, the fact that it is a woman from the crowd who utters the blessing also recalls Elizabeth’s exchange with Mary, the Mother of the Lord, she who was called "Blessed" on account of her faith in the news that the angel uttered (1:42). The blessing of the woman, finally, recalls the figure of Mary, the first one who kept the word of the angel and gave it a space within her (1:28). This chain of resonances is evoked at this point of the narrative in preparation for the subsequent sections where the prophetic utterances of Jesus will be directed to Israel’s accepted custodians of the Word of God.(vv. 37-54)
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