Grace to you!
For those who have been following our daily reflections since we began in January 2016, you may have noticed that since this year, our weekday reflections are, for the most part, based on the first readings of the day. This is because, the previous year, we focused on the gospels.
The goal is that by the end of the three-year cycle of the Church's calendar, we will have reflected on virtually every reading the Church provides for our liturgy through the three-year cycle.
Today, we begin with the opening chapter and first six verses of the Book of Ezra. Here we read of how God inspired Cyrus, King of Persia, a non-Jew, to plan and authorize the rebuilding of the temple of God in Jerusalem. The Babylonians destroyed the temple in 586 B.C.
Cyrus followed the Lord’s inspiration. He respected the religious rights of the Jews. He was a just man who knows that justice is good for all, irrespective of where they come from and their race, color or creed. His name is ever remembered in history as a disciple of justice and true brother of his fellow men and women.
Not only did he authorize the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem for the displaced people of Israel, he also set them free to return to their right place, their land. As a form of restitution, he decreed that adequate funds and treasures be made available to them so they could rebuild. Unlike what we see in some circles of leadership today where the leader pretends to support sacred values of life and rights, but behind the scenes stifles initiatives that would make such claims flourish.
Cyrus’ action is just. It is social justice. It is respecting the human right to freedom, religion and pursuit of happiness. His gesture, which happened years, thousands of years before the Declaration of Human Rights, should be a lesson for us today.
Despite the claims of human rights, hardly do many in authority measure up to the example of Cyrus. Perhaps we should reflect on this gesture and allow it to impact our relationships.
Are we with God, with human rights, with true freedom in the sacred duty of rebuilding or are we tearing down and causing more hate, division and exploitation?
Better to build or rebuild and heal than to tear down, exploit and hate.
Praying for the grace of social justice and social charity in all we do. Amen
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Monday Week 25 A: Ezr 1:1-6; Lk 8:16-18]
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.