I will shake the heavens and the earth
The very day that yet another category four hurricane is about to strike the United States, we have this prophecy in the pre-scheduled first reading (Hg. 2:1-9):
For thus says the LORD of hosts:
One moment yet, a little while,
and I will shake the heavens and the earth,
the sea and the dry land.
God, have mercy.
(Many of us recall this verse from its setting in Handel’s Messiah, especially the solo baritone’s dramatic elaboration of the word "shake" - And I will shay-a-a-a-a-AA-a-a-a-a-a-AA-a-a-a-a-a-AA-a-a-a-a-a-AA-a-a-a-a-a-AKE the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land.)
But the message of today’s first reading is first and last a message of hope.
In its original context, the prophecy is speaking to returning exiles about the restoration of the people and the house of God. The shaking of the heavens and the earth would result in the treasures of the world flowing in to fill the house of God with glory.
This prophecy will have its most perfect fulfillment at the end of time, when all things will be laid at the feet of Christ and every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
In the meantime, this prophecy is also a message of hope to us all: that no matter how the world may shake around us, God is with us and that no matter what terrible things we may have to suffer, he will pull his faithful ones through to a place of peace.
Take courage, all you people of the land,
says the LORD, and work!
For I am with you, says the LORD of hosts.
This is the pact that I made with you
when you came out of Egypt,
And my spirit continues in your midst;
do not fear!