11th Sunday – Year B
A Cedar planted in the land of Canaan! (Ezk. 17:22-24)
We read in Ezk. 17:22ff. “I myself will take from the kernel of the exalted cedar, and I will establish it. I will tear off a tender twig from the top of its branches, and I will plant it on a mountain, lofty and exalted” in the land of Canaan. Commentators E. Power and E. May, wrote that this supreme twig is none but the “King Messiah, born from the root of David-Jesse (cf. Is. 11:1). In contrast to Zedekiah, compared to a short vine, the Messiah becomes a magnificent cedar planted on the top of the sacred mountain (cf. Is. 2:2). His reign is universal and all nations will find refuge in Him (cf. Mt. 13:31-32). All kings will recognize his divine origin”. It is the birth of this Savior King Messiah that Gabriel, the angel, announced to the Virgin of Nazareth, “daughter of David” (cf. Lk. 1:26ff., particularly 32-33).
Let’s avoid bad interpretations!
In the West, and particularly in the New World, commentators interpreted this and other similar passage with a “political” twist. Yet, this in no way deals with the Middle East of today and even less with the establishment of a State to the people of the Ancient Covenant. The context of the “prophetic” texts of the Old Testament that prevailed over many centuries substantially differs from the current situation! At the time of the prophets of the Old Testament, the nations and countries surrounding the Jews and the Land of Canaan were pagans. They were immersed in polytheism and they more or less ascribed violence to their “deities”. Since the first century after Jesus Christ, the majority of these peoples accepted Jesus of Nazareth as Savior and as Lord. Even when some moved on to Islam, they did not stop from being monotheists honoring Christ and His Mother.
In front of Pilate, Jesus rejected – and denied – all earthly royalty (Jn.18:36). Shortly before his Ascension he rejected all political and temporal messianism (cf. Ac. 1:6b).
We also “lift our hearts” and with the Resuscitated “seek the things that are above” (cf. Col. 3:1). Let the words of the Psalmist be realized in us “The just one will flourish like the palm tree. He will be multiplied like the cedar of Lebanon.” (Ps. 92 (91): 13).
Fr. P. Madros