"I will leave as a remnant in your midst a people humble and lowly..." Zephaniah 3:12
God always calls His people to humility and lowliness. He knows that is the only time He can speak to us, and we will listen and obey. He cannot reach us when we think we know it all, when we feel we are doing everything right, when we set ourselves apart from the "sinners" who deserve all the bad things that happen to them.
But there is always a remnant God preserves. In Zephaniah's prophecy, God is angry because His people were rebellious, and did not trust Him. The prophets He called were treacherous and reckless. The priests profaned His sanctuaries. The people knew no shame. Injustice ruled the land. Sound familiar? And yet God, always the Father, preserved a remnant who took refuge in the Lord.
Even within us, no matter how far we go from the right way, how distant we stray from God's path, there will be a "remnant" within us. God will always continue to call us to be His own. He will never give up! He will always persist. In the Gospel reading for today, Jesus admonishes the righteous chief priests and elders, "Let me make it clear that tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you!" (Matthew 21:31) Like God, we too must never lose hope that no matter how bad a person seems, be he an evil drug lord, a corrupt politician or petty thief, there is always room for him in God's Kingdom. Just as there is always room for us!
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