The zeal of Jesus is the love of the cross
Fr. Jordi Rivero
Etym. Latin zelus, eagerness; from Greek z_los
Zeal is love in action. It is a strong emotion of spirit, based on deep affection, that
1- Seeks to obtain what is loved.
"I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how I am constrained until it is accomplished!" -Luke 12:49-50
Notice that Jesus looks forward to his "baptism", his immersion in the passion. The cross is "the hour" to which his entire life was oriented. This is because the Cross reveals to the fullness his zeal, his fire of love. Jesus would not save us any other way because no other way would reveal the full truth of His infinite love. The cross is his zeal. The cross is love without boundaries. The cross is the victory of love over the forces of evil.
Christ's zeal is the uncontainable fire of love in his heart. It is the Holy Spirit. It is the fire that he came to bring to earth. His act of love at the cross pierces his heart and releases an ocean of love upon the world.
Christian zeal is manifested by an impelling desire to advance the Kingdom of Christ, sanctify souls, and advance the glory of God by making him better known and loved, and thus more faithfully served. This fire of the Holy Spirit moves us to unity in love without fear of the cost. Those who possess it are perceived by those who don't as fanatical because it is beyond the standards of the world.
"We should all be animated by an ardent zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Whoever loves God cannot see with indifference an attack on his honor. If he sees his neighbor going the wrong way, he does everything to bring him to good and if he fails, he groans and prays for him. So you do? If you have no zeal, realize that you have no love. Zeal is the sign that God has descended to a soul" -St. Bernard.
2- Removes what stands in the way
"Take these things away; you shall not make my Father’s house a house of trade." His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for thy house will consume me."-Jn 2:17-18
Zeal removes all that gets in the way of union with the beloved. Once we find the treasure we will gladly sell all to posses it. That is why saints spare no sacrifice for the sake of union with God. Zeal for God makes the cross a joy.
The greatest obstacle in the way is our fear of giving ourselves for we fear suffering and death. Jesus overcame these by becoming a victim of love. As a victim he gave himself completely and brought down the fire of Pentecost. Now he seeks victims of love because he desires that His fire be kindled. But very few respond.
To have zeal then is to have the same fire of love by which Christ layed down His life on the cross.