25 September 2013

The Peculiar Case of King Cyrus

Today's readings.

Today's Homily:

The great drama of the Deutoronimistic Historian continues from the Pentateuch into the historical books – Chronicles and Kings – and then into Nehemiah and Ezra.  And the drama is this, whenever the People of God are unfaithful to the designs of their God through religious infidelity and political machinations, ruin visits the People through a variety of sicknesses, plagues, invasions and exiles. 

Today’s reading from Ezra finds the People of God in a period of rectification – that is to say, an engagement with re-developing a situation of right relationship with the Lord.  Ezra thus offers a prayer of thanks and supplication in celebration and recognition of what the Lord has done.

The character in all of this, the person to make it possible is King Cyrus – not a Jew, but rather the pagan king of Persia.  Cyrus both declares the exile over and announces a decree that the Jerusalem Temple should be rebuilt.  For his efforts, he will receive the stunning title in Jewish prophetic of “Cyrus the Lord’s anointed” – the christo – Christ - of the Lord in the Latin, or the l·mshich·u – Messiah – in the Hebrew (Isaiah 45:1).

There may be time in our own live that we find ourselves ministerially or fraternally unhinged: seemingly in an exile of our own, whether it comes from Babylonians or a self-imposed exile.  In these situations, we are called to remember our daily consolations come from the Spirit of the Lord, yet not always in the form we’d like to think.  In other words, our returning from a thousand little exiles don’t come from ourselves but in a time and place and means of God’s choosing

The twin challenge are to 1) be ever watchful for the unexpected Cyrus’ in our lives, and 2) be ever ready to, upon our freedom, assist in the building of the Temple of God that has Christ as its headstone.

1 comment:

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