First Reading:  Zephaniah 3:14-18


The Joy of Forgiveness


14 Sing, daughter of Zion! Shout, Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem. 15 YHWH has taken away your judgments. He has thrown out your enemy. The King of Israel, YHWH, is in the midst of you. You will not be afraid of evil any more. 16 In that day, it will be said to Jerusalem, “Don’t be afraid, Zion. Don’t let your hands be weak.” 17 YHWH, your God, is in the midst of you, a mighty one who will save. He will rejoice over you with joy. He will calm you in his love. He will rejoice over you with singing. 18 I will remove those who grieve about the appointed feasts from you. They are a burden and a reproach to you.


World English Bible


There is nothing more joyful as forgiveness. All the great moments in life, birth, sacramental moments, life's transitions, marriage, and death, have the potential to bring people together. When people are brought together in forgiveness, there is relief and peace. These are the cause for joy.


Beginning the passage of joy, Zephaniah symbolizes Jerusalem as a young girl who should be at a party. [14] Why should there be rejoicing? The danger has passed, the enemies are gone, and God is in their midst. [15, 17] And not only does the city have cause for rejoicing; the prophet loudly proclaims God's joy over the return of his people. [17-18] God and the people are together; they are reconciled. There is true joy.


How many times do people have parties only to complain about the company. It's unfortunate that people do not have reconciliation parties and celebrate joy!


With whom should you reconcile this season? What's stopping you?