From Abel to Zechariah

“From Abel to Zechariah”
Luke 11:47-54 “in a snailshell”
Thursday of the Twenty-Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
©️2021 by Gloria M. Chang

Woe to you! You build the memorials of the prophets whom your ancestors killed. Consequently, you bear witness and give consent to the deeds of your ancestors, for they killed them and you do the building. Therefore, the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and apostles; some of them they will kill and persecute’ in order that this generation might be charged with the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who died between the altar and the temple building. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be charged with their blood! Woe to you, scholars of the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter.” When he left, the scribes and Pharisees began to act with hostility toward him and to interrogate him about many things, for they were plotting to catch him at something he might say.

Luke 11:47-54

From the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah: the murder of Abel is the first murder recounted in the Old Testament (Gn 4:8). The Zechariah mentioned here may be the Zechariah whose murder is recounted in 2 Chr 24:20–22, the last murder presented in the Hebrew canon of the Old Testament.

New American Bible (Revised Edition) footnote to Luke 11:51

“Sophia-sent prophets” in the first line of the tercet comes from Luke 11:49, in which Sophia tou Theou is translated as “Wisdom of God.”

Truth-telling prophets of Israel suffered from persecution, ostracism, plotting, and murder. Messages calling for conversion of heart, justice, and mercy were met with hostility from the powerful, worldly, jaded, and comfortable. Once done away with, venerating the tombs of the holy men evolved into a pompous, respectable institution.

Jesus did not come to join the line of prophets killed and venerated in a tomb. His resurrection on the third day left behind an empty tomb—the final victory over sin and death.

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One Reply to “From Abel to Zechariah”

  1. Dear GMC, May you shine brightly as you proclaim our Lord. Your reflection reminds me of this Franciscan prayer:

    Risen Lord, you have broken open the tomb of death, and have brought eternal life to those who believe.
    You have brought light where there was darkness.
    Help those who proclaim you to shine brightly
    that they may bring your light to those in darkness.

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