Memorial of Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Priest, and Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, and Companions, martyrs
Tension reigns today between Iran (modern Persia) and Israel (the Jewish state that incorporates most of the former Kingdoms of Judah and of Israel). The Iranian government has threatened to destroy the State of Israel. Meanwhile, Israel has led violent forays into Iran to assure that the radical Muslim nation does not develop nuclear weapons
The first reading from the Book of Ezra shows that relations between the two nations have not always strained. In fact, with a long history of association, Iran and Israel have shared many ups and downs. A peak, recounted in the reading from the Book of Ezra today, sees King Cyrus of Persia promoting the reestablishment of the Temple in Jerusalem. Jerusalemites have been living as exiles in Babylonia for seventy years when Cyrus allows them to return to their homeland.