St. Zechariah, prophet of the Old Testament.

Today is the feast of St. Zachariah, the prophet of the Old Testament. Here is the entry in the Martyrologium Romanum with a translation.

1. Commemoratio sancti Zachariae, prophetae, qui populum de exsilio in terra promissionis reversurum prophetavit eique regis pacifici nuntium attulit, quod Christus Dominus triumphali suo ingressu in Sanctam Civitatem Ierusalem mire implevit.

The commemoration of Saint Zechariah, the prophet, who prophesied that the people would return from exile into the land of promise, and announced the news of the King of Peace to it (the people), which Christ the Lord fulfilled with His triumphal entrance into the holy city of Jerusalem.

And now for the patristiblogger angle.   The Fathers comment on the Book of Zechariah. Here is St. Augustine on Zechariah 5 (about the vision of the flying scroll and the woman in the Ephah)  He deals with false oaths in a letter to his good friend Alypius, by this time the bishop of his home town of Thagaste (ep. 125):

As to the suggestion you [Alypius] made in your letter that we should examine together the nature of an oath extorted by force, I beg of you, do not let our discussion turn crystal-clear matters into murky ones. If a servant of God were threatened with certain death, so that he should swear to do something forbidden and wicked, he still ought rather to die than to swear, so as not to commit a crime in fulfilling his oath. But in this case, … it was only the persistent shouting of the people that was forcing the man not to any crime but to what could be lawfuly done, if it were done. And… the only thing to fear was that a few violent men, mingled with a crowd of mostly good ones, might seize the occasion to start a riot, under pretence of virtuous indignation, and might break out into some accursed disturbance to satisfy their passion for robbery. And when even this fear was unfounded, who would think that perjury could be commited even to avoid certain death, much less loss or some kind of physical injury? That individual called Regulus had never heard what the holy Scriptures say about the wrongfulness of a false oath. He had learned nothing about the sickle of Zechariah, and obviously he had not sworn to the Carthaginians by the sacraments of Christ but by the filthiness of demons. Yet he did not so fear certain torture and a horrible sort of death as to take his oath under complusion, but he went to meet them to avoid perjuring himself, because he had sworn an oath of his own free will.

I wonder if this reminds anyone of any current events.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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