1a In the first year of Cyrus,* king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia to issue a proclamation throughout his entire kingdom, both by word of mouth and in writing: 2 “Thus says Cyrus, king of Persia: ‘All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD, the God of heaven,* has given to me, and he has charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 3 Those among you who belong to any part of his people, may their God be with them! Let them go up to Jerusalem in Judah to build the house of the LORD the God of Israel, that is, the God who is in Jerusalem. 4 Let all those who have survived, in whatever place they may have lived, be assisted by the people of that place with silver, gold, goods, and livestock, together with voluntary offerings for the house of God in Jerusalem.’”
5 Then the heads of ancestral houses* of Judah and Benjamin and the priests and Levites—everyone, that is, whose spirit had been stirred up by God—prepared to go up to build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem. 6b All their neighbors gave them help in every way, with silver, gold, goods, livestock, and many precious gifts, besides all their voluntary offerings.
Isn’t it amazing that the King of Persia not necessarily a believer in the God of Israel was moved to allow God’s people to build His temple in Jerusalem. And all of them contributed in every way they could in the divine project.
In the Church of St Anthony of Padua Singapore, we are building an annex building so that we can hold more Cathechism classes, hold talks and retreats, Ministry meetings and much, much more, all for the Glory of God our Father. It would costs and an estimated 5 million dollars! And so we are called, as the exiled people of Israel once was, to help contribute to this project.
But is that all to the message in this First Reading of today from the Old Testament? NO! It is so easy to lose sight of the deeper message contain within it. It is a call to each and everyone of us TODAY to build God’s Kingdom, His temple, within us and thereby his Holy Church the one true Body of Christ. With the gold of our hearts and the silver of our hands all true love and in love with Christ and in Christ.
The Gospel of today also tells us that we should do so without fear of reprisal or of persecution. To be a light for all to see not to be covered with a bowl or to placed under the bed…..
“Open your ears, I tell you, to hear his teaching – and it is this: voluntary poverty; patience in the face of injury; returning good to those who do us evil; being little, humble, oppressed and forsaken in the world; putting up with ridicule, torment, wrongs, insults, detraction, gossip, difficulties, and harassment from the world, from devils seen and unseen, and from our own stinking flesh which (rebel that it is) is always wanting to defy its creator and fight against the spirit. It means suffering with patience and resisting the devils with the weapons of hatred and of love.
Saint Catherine of Siena
+1380, Doctor of the Church