This Sunday we are invited to consider God’s invitation to each one of us—to repentance, to knowing God as our deepest desire, to oneness with others in faith, to following Jesus by imitating his way of life. The readings give us much to ponder.

Zechariah (First Reading) is writing at a time of exile, but there is hope. The Lord will pour out a spirit of kindness and prayer over the people of Israel, and springs of new life will be opened, cleansing the people from their sins. What seems a catastrophe will open them to God in a new way.

First-hand testimony is given in the Psalm. The yearnings of the psalmist are met with the fullness of God’s love.

St Paul (Second Reading) shows that this fullness of God really means that we are all children of the One God. In Christ there are no distinctions, only unity.

Finally, the Gospel reveals the source of this new life and unity with God. The cross, which is Christ’s destiny and the beginning of his life in us, sends us out with strength to bear our own crosses.

This week, we might pray especially for all those around us who carry a heavy burden, asking that they feel able to seek shelter and be strengthened in the shadow of the wings of the Lord.