7 Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face.
8 I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children.
9 For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.
Zeal – Fervor for a person, cause, or object; eager desire or endeavor; enthusiastic diligence; ardor. The psalmist is in trouble. He is suffering from exhaustion, alienation and persecution because of false accusations. There are those of us today who become alienated from our families or friends because of trying to live out our faith as Jesus wants us to. In John’s Gospel, Jesus is so incensed by the money-changers in the temple that he overturns their tables and kicks them out of the temple area. He quotes this psalm as the reason for his behavior. We are being asked to examine where our fervor, our ardor, our diligence is found. As baptized Christians we are called to be the apostles of our world now. Does our zeal lead us to carry the good news of Christ into our homes, our workplaces, our neighborhoods? Does our zeal flow over into working to end injustice?
I am appalled at those who claim to be Christian and then choose to quote out of contest, verses from Scripture that justify their behavior. The money-changers used the need for the people to offer sacrifice for their business of selling the animals, but the Bible did not say that they could cheat the people by over-charging them! If we suffer for our zeal for the Gospel, we are suffering just as the psalmist did and as Jesus did. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us that this will happen. We are carrying in our hearts the good news of the Gospel. Do we really understand this privilege? This responsibility?
May our love for Christ and his church enflame each one of us with a burning zeal to make God’s kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.
Almighty and eternal God, your servants in every generation have suffered for being faithful to you. From the earliest days until today, you have brought forth men and women with zeal for your teachings. May we not abandon you if we, too, suffer for our zeal on your behalf. Amen.