Scripture: Lectionary 452. Sept.26. Haggai 1:1-8. Psalm 149:1.2.3-4.5-6.9. Luke 9:7-9:
We continue to reflect on the historical work of Ezra which gives us an excellent chronology and at the same time shows us God’s work in salvation history (Heilsgeschicte). The book parallels the time of Jeremiah and the time after the Babylonian Exile. God works within history and we who read these books may be able to transfer some of our insights to reading the signs of the times today. This way Scripture is applied to what we observe and may be going through ourselves. An interpretation of faith is my way of reading these and all of the books of Scripture. This gives us a hermeneutic of hope as well.
We notice that Haggai the prophet now is our first reading. He is mentioned in the book of Ezra and now gives us a prophetic insight into what is happening for Israel at this time. Haggai is contemporaneous with Zechariah the prophet. There are four different written addresses to the people of Israel in this tenth book of the Minor Prophets. We are in the time period of 520 B.C. under the rule of Darius who was also favorable to the return of the Israelites to Jerusalem and their homeland. The time is considered messianic and is ripe for the rebuilding of the Second Temple. He was successful in his words for under Zerubbabel the rebuilding was resumed. The Second Temple was said by Haggai to be more beautiful than the first. Haggai challenges the people to leave their own concerns about building their houses and to concentrate on building the house of God. Together with Haggai, Ezra, and Chronicles we have a three dimensional look at the history of Israel during this epoch under Cyrus, Darius I, and Artaxerxes.
Psalm 149 is appropriate for praising God for the marvels of rebuilding the Temple even though it may pertain to other great deeds of God for the Israelites.
In the Gospel selection we hear of Herod Antipas’ curiosity and amazement of what he hears about Jesus. He would like to see him perform a miracle before him but Jesus avoids that “fox” and will only be in his company at his trial before his crucifixion. The trial brings two unlikely leaders together namely Pilate and Herod who suddenly become friends! Through all of this human history God is at work somehow correcting the crooked lines of the leaders with those of the prophets and Israelite scribes who had a hand in bringing Ezra to us. Haggai and Zechariah speak for themselves. Amen.
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.