READINGS for 2007-09-25
BRICK BY BRICK
Let the governor and the elders of the Jews continue to work on the house of God; they are to rebuild it on its former site – Ezra 6:7
The company I work for went through a rough patch a couple of years back. We had major problems with leadership. Many employees were grumbling and restless. People were clashing over personal values and beliefs. Morale was low. The company was breathing air full of resentment and mistrust. It was a difficult time for everyone, myself included. I wanted to throw in the towel so many times, but something always held me back. It was like the Lord was saying, “Stay. Hang on. You are where you are supposed to be.”
What can I say except that God was right.
I’m happy I stayed because things are so much better now. Our organization is in the process of recovery.
I believe that we are working not only for a business turn-around, but a psychological and spiritual turn-around as well. As we improve systems and operations, we must also work on valuing people and healing relationships.
Renewing the organization also means leaving behind a lot of negative attitudes and bad habits. We may still be the same company with the same name, but as we rebuild it one fortified brick after the other, we know that a stronger and better organization will rise. Cotics C.
What needs rebuilding and renewing in your life?
Father, help me build my life around You. Make my heart Your home.
Now it is the turn of King Darius the Mede to assist the Jews in the return to their homeland. The Temple of God is eventually rebuilt and this feat is celebrated with many sacrifices and much fanfare. This now means that the ritual life of the Jewish nation can be resumed according to the law of Moses; this is truly a day of the Lord to celebrate. We also begin to realize from these texts how important the Promised Land is to the Jews – something that should give us some insight into the struggle of the Jews today to protect their fledgling state.
7 Let the governor and the elders of the Jews continue to work on that house of God; they are to rebuild it on its former site. 8 I also issue this decree concerning your dealing with these elders of the Jews in the rebuilding of that house of God from the royal revenue, the taxes of West-of-euphrates, let these men be repaid for their expenses, in full and without delay. 12 I, Darius, have issued this decree; let it be carefully executed. 14 The elders of the Jews continued to make progress in the building, supported by the message of the prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, son of Iddo. They finished the building according to the command of the God of Israel and the decrees of Cyrus and Darius [and of Artaxerxes, king of Persia]. 15 They completed this house on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius. 16 The Israelites — priests, Levites, and the other returned exiles—celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy. 17 For the dedication of this house of God, they offered one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, and four hundred lambs, together with twelve he-goats as a sin-offering for all Israel, in keeping with the number of the tribes of Israel. 18 Finally, they set up the priests in their classes and the Levites in their divisions for the service of God in Jerusalem, as is prescribed in the book of Moses. 19 The exiles kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. 20 The Levites, every one of whom had purified himself for the occasion, sacrificed the Passover for the rest of the exiles, for their brethren the priests, and for themselves.
P S A L M
Psalm 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5
R: Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
1 I rejoiced because they said to me,“We will go up to the house of the LORD.” 2 And now we have set foot within your gates, O Jerusalem. (R) 3 Jerusalem, built as a city with compact unity. 4 To it the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD. (R) According to the decree for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the LORD. 5 In it are set up judgment seats, seats for the house of David. (R)
G O S P E L
Jesus is not being rude or discourteous to His kinfolk. He is merely taking the opportunity to use the situation to teach us all that the most important kin-relationship we have is to God and it is built on our obedience to His will. This is far more important than our bloodlines will ever be. Yes, it can be interesting to search for one’s family tree origins, but it is far more important to search out God’s will and follow it.
19 Then his mother and his brothers came to him but were unable to join him because of the crowd. 20 He was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside and they wish to see you.” 21 He said to them in reply, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”
think: The most important kin-relationship we have is to God and it is built on our obedience to His will.
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Zephaniah 1-3
Family ties are very important in all cultures. Even in animals, family ties are observed to be significant.
There are normally two ways by which family ties are established.
The first way is by blood. Consanguinity means being related by blood. The second is by legal action, as in the case of marriage or adoption. Affinity is the usual term used to mean this second way of being related. We also speak about an “extended family.” To this intimate circle belong those who are not related to us by blood or some legal action but by deep friendship. As we go through life, there are persons with whom we have shared many profound moments and memorable experiences. These persons eventually become “family” to us.
Jesus presents to us a fourth way. He anchors our relationship on a more solid and lasting bond. We are related to Him when we do the will of God. Jesus is the Son of God and anyone related to Him is related to God in a very intimate way. We believe that the sacrament of baptism makes us children of God. Moreover, those who become children of God, in and through Jesus His Son, are therefore brothers and sisters to one another.
To do the will of God is to be holy. Let us do God’s will; let us be holy. We belong to a family bigger and better than blood, law, and friendship can establish. We are called to be saints. Fr. Bobby T.
REFLECTION QUESTION: How important is my ties with God and His other children?
Father, You have made us Your children in and through Jesus Christ, Your Son. As your children, may we be the source of Your pride and joy. Keep us always united as Your family here on earth and in heaven. Amen.
St. Sergius, pray for us.
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