Tuesday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
(Ezra 6:7-8.12b.14-20; Luke 8:19-21)
Washington, D.C. is said to be the first important city created without a church at its center. Rather the city features the huge domed capital building, the stately White House, and the tributes to three of the country’s greatest presidents. It was no doubt a deliberate omission on the part of the city’s planners. They may well have meant no affront to the Almighty but only wanted to stay clear of religious preference. In any case, the Jews in today’s first reading do not hesitate to give due prominence to the house of God.
At this juncture in history the Jews are a broken people. Their once great royalty has been humiliated and deposed. Their capital was destroyed, and many of its citizens sent into exile. Then the Persians conquered Babylonia, and their kings, Cyrus and Darius, came to the people’s rescue. The kings allowed the Jews to return to their native land and even contributed funds to rebuild the temple. Once again God is seen as taking pity on lowly Israel. The temple being constructed will be a tribute to Israel’s merciful Lord.
Likewise we must recognize God’s eternal mercy. Beyond family and community, God has given us His Son, Jesus Christ, to follow. He himself serves as a kind of temple. In him we offer fitting praise to the Father. In him we find the locus of peace.