As I read the prophet Zephaniah’s word to us this Sunday, I was struck by: “But I will leave as a remnant in your midst, a people humble and lowly, who shall take refuge in the name of the Lord: the remnant of Israel” and I began to reflect on the meaning of “remnant” in our times.
When, in some parishes, a smaller number of people are participating in Sunday liturgy and the congregation has a definite smaller percentage of young adults, some may say that the “remnant” is this somewhat senior congregation – those still left.
It seems however, that today’s two other readings shed light on who the remnant might be in our days. Paul reminds the Corinthians, and us, that when we were called/ chosen not many of us were wise or powerful by human standards, not many were powerful or of the nobility. Rather, God chooses those whom the world deems as foolish, weak, and lowly – those who count for nothing. He reminds us that no one can boast before God. Rather we should boast in the Lord. Truly, God chooses those who are weak, lowly, in need of God. It is because of God that we are in Christ Jesus. Here we find our strength, our riches, the meaning of our lives.
Who is the remnant today? It is those who know they are weak and lowly but have been raised up by the working of God in their lives through Christ Jesus and who proclaim God’s wonderful works by their lives. Mary sang of this in her Magnificat. The Gospel proclaims that the remnant is • those who are poor in spirit • those who mourn at the loss of a loved one and with those who are suffering in the world • those who are meek, those who have a gentle spirit • those who hunger and thirst and work for justice • those who know they have received mercy and are merciful to others • those who have clean hearts • those who bring peace wherever they are and yearn for it everywhere • those who are persecuted for being who they are
If this is who we are, perhaps we are the remnant called to be hope in our world
-Sister Marian Baumler
Sisters of St. Mary of Namur . 241 Lafayette Avenue . Buffalo, New York 14213 . (716) 884-8221