Thursday September 23 20021
25th Week in Ordinary Time
St Pius of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio)
Hag. 1:1-8; Ps. 149:1-2,3-4,5-6,9;
Lk. 9:7-9 (Ps Wk I)
In 586 BC, Jerusalem fell. The Temple was destroyed. The Jews were exiled to Babylon (Iraq). About 50 years later (538 BC), Cyrus, the Persian king, allowed the Jews — to return to their homeland and rebuild their Temple.
The Jews began rebuilding their Temple but were unable to complete it for various reasons. It was not until 520-516 BC (22 years later) that the Temple was restored. This is the context for the Haggai passage today.
What was significant, in the opening sentence, was that, during the “first day of the… month” (v 1), where there was a new moon and therefore was a holy day – “the word of the Lord was addressed through the prophet Haggai” (vs 1, 3). It was the first time ever, a prophet’s voice was heard after their return from exile. A holy day was a good time to listen to what a prophet might have to say.
God rebuked the Jews for misplacing their priorities. Instead of rebuilding the Temple (v 2), which “lies in ruins” (v 4), their preoccupation was with their own houses. As a result, instead of enjoying God’s abundant blessings, they became a people always in need. So, God said to them, “these people” (v 2, rather than ‘My people’), “Reflect carefully how things have gone for you” (vs 5, 7).
Are there issues in our life that we need to address before God? Would ignoring them be disobedience to fulfilling God’s will or dishonouring God? Are our priorities properly placed?
Lord, give us the courage to reflect carefully on how things have gone for us.
Sometimes, being a Christian means going against doing what comes naturally. The whole world does what comes naturally, and that is why it needs salvation.