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BIBLE READING I (MALACHI 3:19-20), NOVEMBER 13

BIBLE READING I (MALACHI 3:19-20), NOVEMBER 13

Week 33 of Year C, Sunday

For you the sun of righteousness will shine out.

The day is coming now, burning like a furnace, and all the arrogant and the evil-doers will be like stubble. The day that is coming is going to burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, leaving them neither root or stalk. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will shine out with healing in its rays.

V. The word of the Lord. R. Thanks be to God.

 
 

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CANDLEMAS – BIBLE READING I (MALACHI 3:1-4)

The Lord God says this: Look, I am going to send my messenger to prepare a way before me. And the Lord you are seeking will suddenly enter his Temple; and the angel of the covenant whom you are longing for, yes, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.

Who will be able to resist the day of his coming? Who will remain standing when he appears? For he is like the refiner’s fire and the fuller’s alkali. He will take his seat as refiner and purifier; he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and then they will make the offering of the Lord as it should be made. The offering of Judah and Jerusalem will then be welcomed by the Lord as in former days, as in the years of old.

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

 
 

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23rd DECEMBER, BIBLE READING (MALACHI 3:1-4, 23-24)

I AM GOING TO SEND YOU ELIJAH THE PROPHET BEFORE THE DAY OF THE LORD COMES.

The Lord God says this: Look, I am going to send my messenger to prepare a way before me. And the Lord you are seeking will suddenly enter his Temple; and the angel of the covenant whom you are longing for, yes, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. Who will be able to resist the day of his coming? Who will remain standing when he appears? For he is like the refiner’s fire and the fullers’ alkali. He will take his seat as refiner and purifier; he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and then they will make the offering to the Lord as it should be made. The offering of Judah and Jerusalem will then be welcomed by the Lord as in former days, as in the years of old.

Know that I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before my day comes, that great and terrible day. He shall turn the hearts of fathers towards their children and the hearts of children towards their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a curse.

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

 
 

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THE SALVATION HISTORY OF ALL MANKIND AS REVEALED IN THE BIBLE: AS A PREPARATION FOR THE GOSPEL TO SPREAD TO ALL, GOD FACILITATES A UNIVERSALLY SPOKEN LANGUAGE FOR JEWS AND THE REST OF THE KNOWN WORLD

THE BOOKS OF THE MACCABEES IN THE BIBLE ILLUMINATE THE CONTINUOUS AND STEADY UNFOLDING OF GOD’S SALVATION PLAN FOR ALL MANKIND. WITHOUT READING THOSE BIBLICAL BOOKS, QUITE AN AMOUNT OF THE REST OF THE BIBLE MAKES AS MUCH SENSE AS TRYING TO UNDERSTAND THE “WHODUNNIT” WHEN SEVERAL CHAPTERS TOWARDS THE END OF AN AGATHA CHRISTIE BOOK HAVE BEEN RIPPED OUT.

KING HEROD

“From the time of Malachias (perhaps shortly before the reforms of Esdras) no prophet had appeared in Israel. The Chosen People were left by God to keep faith in Him without the inspiring activity of the prophets. In the period between Malachias and Herod there is evidence that the faith of many was weakened. Many fell victim to the Hellenising tendencies of the Seleucid dynasty [for details about this, as described in the Holy Scriptures, please see the previous episode of “The Salvation History As Revealed in the Bible” posted 2 days ago]. On the other hand, the Macchabaean revolt shows that many retained a firm hold on their ancient faith. The final defeat of the Macchabaean ambitions by Herod the Great did not mean that the religion of Jahweh had perished or that God had deserted His people.

On the contrary, to those who like ourselves can look back over history, there are not lacking signs that the divine plan for the salvation of mankind was maturing during this long period of divine silence. God had promised that His blessings would be brought to the world through the descendants of Abraham. Through His prophets He had foretold that all the nations would be brought to worship Jahweh. While this great gathering of the nations to Jahweh had been slightly foreshadowed by the inclusion of isolated individuals in the company of the people of God, until this period there did not appear any significant developments pointing to the accomplishment of God’s design for universal salvation. But during this period signs of the maturation of the divine plans appear.

IMPORTANT SIGNS OF THE MATURATION OF THE DIVINE PLANS APPEAR

These signs are chiefly three: the Diaspora of the Chosen People, Hellenism and the establishment of the Roman Empire. It is these three factors in universal history which we must now consider, with a view to perceiving their role in the accomplishment of God’s will to save man.

THE DIASPORA

The word ‘Diaspora’ was a term used by Jews to signify the Jews who lived outside the Promised Land given them by Jahweh. In 857 B.C. some Jews had gone to live in Damascus after Achab had defeated the king of Syria. The ten northern tribes had been deported to Assyria by Sargon. The kingdom of Juda had been deported to Babylon by Nabuchodonosor. The ten northern tribes were apparently assimilated by their conquerors, for they disappear from history. But many of the kingdom of Juda returned to Palestine under Zorobabel, and later under Esdras and Nehemias.

The evidence shows, though, that many of the Jews remained in Babylonia. There is also historical proof that a Jewish colony was established at Elephantine in Egypt. Later, after Alexander the Great had founded the city of Alexandria in Egypt, many Jews went there and established a Jewish colony. By the time of Herod the Great the Jewish colony at Alexandria seems to have numbered a million souls. From Alexandria it is legitimate to suppose that they emigrated to other ports throughout the Mediterranean world. At any rate, by the time the Roman Empire was established the Jews were to be found dispersed throughout the Mediterranean world.

This dispersion of the Jews so widely through the parts of the civilised world then known to them meant that at least some knowledge of the existence and character of Jahweh, the only true God, had gone beyond the borders of Palestine, had penetrated the lands of people who still worshipped false gods and practised idolatry. It represented at least a beginning of God’s efforts to bring all men back to Himself.

This view is reinforced by three facts: first, the preservation of Jahwism among the dispersed Jews; second, the translation of the Sacred Books of the Jews into Greek, the common language of the nations within the scope of Roman domination, and third, proselytism.

AN AMAZING FACT

It is an amazing but true fact that the Jews, even though dispersed throughout a pagan world, preserved their faith in Jahweh. With the exception of the ten northern tribes who become lost to history as an independent entity or group once they are deported to Assyria, the other Jews throughout the Diaspora retain their identity both as Jews and as worshippers of Jahweh. Through all antiquity this is a singular fact.

Other peoples may have emigrated from their own lands but they ceased to retain their own identity and, for want of a better word, their insularity, their own allegiance to their religion and their God. There remained always between the different Jewish communities spread throughout the world and the centre of Jahwistic worship at Jerusalem a close bond. Communication between the dispersed Jews and the mother-centre at Jerusalem continued throughout this period. With the exceptions of the Jewish communities at Elephantine and Leontopolis in Egypt, the Jewish communities in the Diaspora preserved their faith in the one true God by meeting in their synagogues once a week to read their Sacred Books and meditate on their message.

At Elephantine and Leontopolis, perhaps contrary to the best traditions of their faith, the Jews actually built temples in which they offered sacrifices to Jahweh. In this way the Jews preserved their faith in the one true God. In this way they gave an example to the non-believing nations of the world of faithfulness to the one true spiritual God.

THE SEPTUAGINT

Because they were living in lands foreign to their original homeland, they lost contact with their mother tongue. But so great was their devotion to their religion and to its long tradition that they produced a translation into Greek, the one language understood throughout the Mediterranean world, of their own Sacred Books. This translation was known as the Septuagint.

Entirely apart from its value to the Jews in enabling them to remain true to their ancient religious traditions, it also served the greater purpose of revealing to the world at large the treasures of God’s dealings with the human race. It would not be correct to overestimate the influence of the Septuagint on pagan thought or life before the advent of Christianity. On the other hand, it would be foolish to deny that it did provide to the unbelieving nations of the world an opportunity to discover the written record of God’s relations with the world of man since the beginning of time.

THE JEWS MANIFESTED ALWAYS AN AIR OF MORAL SUPERIORITY

Lastly, a an indicationof the influence of the Diaspora of the Jews in preparing the world at large for the extension of God’s salvation to all men, there is evidence of proselytism. It is true that the attitude of the Jews throughout the Roman Empire drew down upon them the hatred and the ridicule of many. Wherever they went they lived together, in isolation from their fellowmen.

They despised the gods and religions of the people in whose midst they dwelt. Despite the social superiority of their pagan neighbours the Jews manifested always an air of moral superiority. This naturally begot in their neighbours a feeling of suspicion and hatred. They were regarded as atheists because most had no temples and offered no sacrifices. To an idolatrous world the crowning proof f this was the fact that Pompey, the Roman general, found no statue to a god in the Temple at Jerusalem when he entered the Holy of Holies there.

THE BLESSINGS OF JAHWEH WERE TO BE EXTENDED TO ALL NATIONS

Yet, despite this somewhat general feeling that the Jews were to be despised and shunned, converts to Judaism were made. During this period the very fact of the dispersion of the Jews among the nations of the world brought about a widening of the viewpoint of the Jews themselves. Though they still continued to regard themselves as the Chosen People of God, they began to allow others to participate in the privileges of God’s Chosen People.

Although in Palestine itself the Jews, at the time of the repatriation and ever after, rejected the offers of the Samaritans to join with them in the worship of Jahweh, outside Palestine the Jews did not reject the desire of the pagan peoples to turn to the true religion. Undoubtedly this somewhat contradictory attitude was due to the fact that the Samaritans wished to worship Jahweh while still worshipping other false gods. But it was also due to some extent to the realisation on the part of the Jews of the Diaspora of the fact that even their prophets had foretold that the blessings of Jahweh were to be extended to all nations.

ANOTHER SIGN OF THE PREPARATION OF THE WORLD FOR THE PROMISED SALVATION

A second sign of the preparation of the world for the salvation promised by Jahweh was the extension of Hellenism during this period. Hellenism might be described approximately as the diffusion of Greek culture, Greek customs and ideas through the world from India to the Atlantic coast. It began with the conquests of Alexander the Great. It was the ambition of Alexander to bring the whole world the benefits of Greek culture. The vast extent of his conquests helped to make this dream a reality. Through his own conquests Greek culture pervaded in the world of Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, Syria, Palestine and Egypt. Because the Romans accepted the essential features of Greek culture, Hellenism penetrated also the world of western Europe and northern Africa.

From the point of view of preparing the world for the accomplishment of God’s plan for human salvation Hellenism did two things. First, it broke down the barriers of national feeling and prepared men’s minds for the idea that all men might be one community. Only a universal idea was necessary to bring this idea to realisation. The universal love of God for all men could be such a universal idea. Second, Hellenism gave to the world from India to the Atlantic a universal language, Greek. Surely a universal language would be of inestimable advantage in propagating a universal religion.

WHY GOD BROUGHT FIRST ALEXANDER THE GREAT AND LATER THE ROMAN EMPIRE

The third factor in preparing the world for the advent of God’s plan to save men was the establishment of the Roman Empire. The conquests of Alexander were great, but those of the Roman Empire were even more magnificent. The Romans subdued all of southern Europe, northern Africa, Greece itself, Asia Minor, Syria and Palestine. For several centuries they brought to these areas a reign of peace. This Pax Romana, the Roman peace, would make it possible for a universal religion to spread easily.

The Romans established good roads, both land and sea roads throughout their empire. It is true that they did this to enable themselves to control their holdings more efficiently. But these wonderful roads, free from brigandage and piracy, enabled men to travel easily from one part of the empire to the other. It thus enabled ideas or religious movements to spread easily throughout the empire. In this way it made it easy for God’s love of all men to become known rapidly and effectively.

THE ‘MYSTERY RELIGIONS’ ACCUSTOMED PEOPLE IN A VERY VAGUE WAY WITH THE NOTION OF A NEED FOR REDEMPTION

As part of Hellenism and the general atmosphere of the Roman Empire, it is also worthy of mention that the religious ideas of the Mediterranean world were also undergoing a change at this time. While the worship of the traditional gods of Rome and Greece continued, there is also observable at this time a trend to a more spiritual form of worship. In the third century before Christ the worship of Serapis, a ‘saviour’ god, had spread from Alexandria in Egypt through the Roman Empire. The mystery religions, as they are known, even though in a vague way, began to popularise the same notion of a need for redemption. More precisely, they accustomed the people to the notion of a union with divinity. This notion was not so concrete as the notion of the Divine Presence which was part of Judaism. But it was at least the beginning, a preparation for the extension of the Divine Presence to the whole world.

THE ADVENT OF THE SALVATION OF THE HUMAN RACE IS IMMINENT

Thus, while it might have seemed as if God had deserted His Chosen People, had given up His plans to save the world during this period, a closer view of the historical situation reveals a different picture. During this period God worked, especially through the Macchabees, to preserve the faith of His Chosen People. On the other hand, through the Diaspora, the spread of Hellenism and the establishment of the Roman Empire, He seems to have been preparing the world at large for the advent of His salvation of the human race.”
– Martin J. Healy S.T.D., 1959

 

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THE STORY OF THE REPATRIATION IN THE BIBLE; ANOTHER STORY OF GOD’S GREAT LOVE (FROM 538 B.C. ONWARDS)

UNDERSTANDING THE BACKGROUND TO THE ONGOING WEEKDAY-OLD-TESTAMENT-READINGS

“In the year 538 B.C. Cyrus gave the people of Israel permission to return to their own country and to rebuild the temple of Jahweh. Naturally no emigration on a large scale could be attempted at once. Any sizeable caravan would require extensive preparations: the gathering of animals for transport, the amassing of provisions, the appointment of leaders, and even the determination of those who were to go.

LEAVING BABYLON

Since at least fifty years had passed since the arrival of the children of Israel in Babylon, a whole new generation existed who had known no other home than Babylon. Many of these had prospered in the new land. It was only natural that some of these should choose to remain in the only land they knew. On the other hand it seems reasonable to suppose that many had not prospered and would be only too happy to seek their fortunes in the old homeland. In addition there was a strong group dedicated to the worship of Jahweh, with a strong desire to restore the Temple of Jahweh at Jerusalem and to provide for the pure worship of the one true God. This latter group was, no doubt, the vital core around which the preparations for the return were built.

TWELVE LEADERS

In the spring of 538 B.C. the exiles began their return journey to Jerusalem. The caravan counted 42,360 Israelites, some 7,000 slaves and numerous horses, mules, camels and asses. At the head of the group were twelve leaders. The number was probably intended to remind the people of the twelve tribes of the nation, and so to signify that it was the whole race of the Chosen People who were returning to their home and to the worship of their God.

There is some doubt about the identity of the leader of the whole caravan. Esdras tells us that Cyrus entrusted the caravan and the governorship to Sassabasar, ‘the prince of Juda.’ But there is also mention of Zorobabel, a grandson of Joachim who had been king of Juda. Historians are undecided as to whether or not Sassabasar and Zorobabel are the same person. But it does seem clear that some time after the arrival of the Israelites in Jerusalem the people are governed by Zorobabel, a descendant of the House of David, and by Josue, the high priest, a descendant of Seraias, the last high priest at Jerusalem before the Exile.

The first concern of the people who returned was to establish themselves either in their old homes and estates or in new ones. Some were fortunate enough to find their old homes or land unoccupied. Others no doubt had to buy back their former houses or land.

THE SAMARITANS

Seven months after their return they were able to rebuild an altar to Jahweh on the spot where the previous Temple altar had stood. In the second month of the second year of their return they laid the foundations for the rebuilding of the Temple itself. The Samaritans asked to be allowed to take part in the work of rebuilding the Temple. The Samaritans were a mixed people – Babylonians, Syrians, Arabs and the Israelites who remained in Samaria after the fall of the kingdom of Israel in 721 A.D. The foreign peoples adopted the worship of Jahewh as symbolised in the golden bull at Bethel. They do not seem to have renounced entirely the worship of their own gods.

The repatriated Israelites refused the offer of the Samaritans. They were afraid that the idolatrous nature of the Jahwistic worship of the Samaritans might prevent or taint the pure spiritual worship of Jahweh which they felt obliged to restore at Jerusalem. This refusal made the Samaritans hostile both to the returned settlers and to the project of rebuilding the Temple. The hostility of the Samaritans and probably the lack of material resources prevented the continuance of the work.

HOME COMFORTS RATHER THAN BUILDING GOD’S HOUSE

It was not until the year 520 B.C. that the task of rebuilding the Temple was taken up again. On August 29 of that year, when the people had assembled at the altar of Jahweh, the prophet Aggaeus addressed Zorobabel and Josue, the high priest: ‘Thus saith the Lord of hosts, saying: This people saith: The time is not yet come for building the house of the Lord… Is it time for you to dwell in ceiled houses, and this house lies desolate?’ (Aggaeus [Haggai] 1: 2 and 4). The prophet then told them that they had not prospered as much as they had hoped because, while they had exerted great efforts to provide for their own homes and comfort, they had neglected to build a house for God. The people accepted the word of the prophet, especially after he had told them, ‘I am with you, saith the Lord’ (Aggaeus [Haggai] 1:13). On September 21, under the leadership of Zorobabel and Josue, the work of rebuilding the Temple began.

NOT AS SPLENDID AS SOLOMON’S TEMPLE

It was apparent, however, to those who could remember the former Temple, that the resources of the people would not allow them to build a Temple equal to Solomon’s Temple. This disheartened them, but God again sent the prophet Aggaeus to console them in their efforts. ‘Take courage all ye people of the land, saith the Lord: and perform (for I am with you saith the Lord of hosts) the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of the land of Egypt. And my spirit shall be in the midst of you: fear not. For thus saith the Lord of hosts: Yet one little while, and I will move the heaven and the earth and the sea and the dry land. And I will move all nations: and the desired of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts’ (Aggaeus [Haggai] 2:5-8). God then promised them that the glory of this new Temple would surpass the glory of the Temple of Solomon.

ZECHARIAH: A MYSTERIOUS MESSAGE

At this same time God also sent the prophet Zacharias [Zechariah] to strengthen the people in their resolution to rebuild the Temple of Jahweh. Through Zacharias God promised to be merciful to Jerusalem and to come to dwell therein. ‘Sing praise and rejoice, O daughter of Sion: for behold I come and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord’ (Zacharias 2:10). God promises to send a King to save them: ‘Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion, shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem: Behold thy King will come to thee, the just and the saviour. He is poor and riding upon an ass and upon a colt, the foal of an ass’ (Zacharias 9:9).

While the message of Zacharias was in part a message of joy and hope, it was also mysterious and terrifying. It was mysterious because it spoke of a King Who would be poor ‘and riding upon an ass.’ It was terrifying because Zacharias foretold also the destruction of the people: ‘I will no more spare the inhabitants of the land, saith the Lord: behold I will deliver the men, every one into his neighbour’s hand and into the hand of his king’ (Zacharias 11:6). It was both mysterious and terrifying when Zacharias told them that they would value their God at a price of only thirty pieces of silver: ‘And I said to them: If it be good in your eyes, bring hither my wages: and if not, be quiet. And they weighed for my wages thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said to me: Cast it to the potter, a handsome price, that I was prized at by them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver and I cast them into the house of the Lord, to the potter’ (Zacharias 11:12-13). It was both consoling and mysterious and terrifying when God, through Zacharias, said to them: ‘I will pour out upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and of prayers: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced. And they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for an only son: and they shall grieve over him, as the manner is to grieve for the death of the first-born’ (Zacharias 12:10).

THE TEMPLE IS COMPLETED

The urgings of the two prophets succeeded in strengthening the resolution of the people. They continued the work of rebuilding the Temple. Despite the opposition of the Samaritans and others, they completed the work in 515 B.C., four and a half years after they had begun. The Temple was dedicated to Jahweh with great solemnity and rejoicing and that year the Passover was celebrated with a renewed faith in God Who had brought them out of bondage from both Egypt and Babylonia.

We can assume with probability that the success of their efforts to restore the Temple rekindled their faith and virtue and that the flame of their faithfulness to God continued for some time. But they were living in difficult conditions. They were living in the midst of strangers, disliked by the Samaritans and Edomites. To live they had to do business with these foreigners whose religious ideas and practice could hardly be reconciled with a pure worship of Jahweh. In addition Israelite women were in the minority among those who had returned from Babylon. This led to a number of mixed marriages between Jahwistic Israelites and idolatrous foreigners. As a result the worship of Jahweh suffered.

MALACHI

When this breakdown of the worship of God occurred God first sent the prophet Malachias [Malachi] (perhaps the last of the prophets) to reprove the people. Malachias reproached the priests and the people because they had offered inferior and polluted sacrifices in the Temple. Because of this contempt of God their sacrifices are no longer pleasing to God: ‘I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of hosts: and I will not receive a gift of your hand.’ Instead God will turn to the Gentiles, the pagan nations of the world: ‘For from the rising of the sun even to the going down thereof, my name is great among the Gentiles and in every place there is sacrifice and there is offered in my name a clean oblation. For my name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts’ (Malachias 1:10-11).

Malachias also rebuked the people for marrying women who worshipped strange gods and for being too ready to resort to divorce. But God’s chief complaint was against the loss of faith of the Chosen People. Apparently their restoration to their homeland had not fulfilled their expectations. They must have thought that the glorious Messianic future of which their former prophets had spoken would begin when they returned to Jerusalem and Juda. They must have expected God to make them at once a mighty nation and give them the dominion of the world. But this had not happened. They remained subject to the overlordship of the Persians and to the hostility of the neighbouring peoples. This made them doubt the justice of God and complain: ‘Every one that doth evil is good in the sight of the Lord and such please him: or surely where is the God of Judgment?’ (Malachi 2:17).

In reply God promised to come to His Temple and to His people to execute justice. First, He said, He would send an angel ‘to prepare the way before (His) face.’ Then He would restore the purity of worship in His Temple and pronounce judgment on all the evil doers of the Chosen People (Malachias 3:1-6). Finally, He would send Elias to turn the hearts of the Chosen People back to God, and then He would make a final judgment of all mankind (Malachias 4:1-6).

ATTEMPTS TO IMPROVE FAITH AND MORALS

The message of Malachias does not seem to have produced a lasting improvement in the faith or the morals of thee people. Their evil practices, especially that of contracting mixed marriages [with one spouse outside the faith], continued. When news of this reached the Israelites who had remained in Babylonia, it led to the reforms of Esdras and Nehemias. With the favour of Artaxerxes II, Esdras returned to Jerusalem to stir up a greater allegiance to the Mosaic Law. At his direction the Law was read solemnly to all the people. The contrast between the directives of the Law and their own way of living produced a feeling of sorrow and repentance in the hearts of the people. But when Esdras insisted on the dissolution of the mixed marriages the people refused and his reform failed to achieve its objective. Nehemias, who also enjoyed the favour of the Persian monarch, came later and was more successful.

The captivity of the Chosen People in Babylon and their repatriation in Jerusalem and Judah taught them one valuable lesson: there is no true God but Jahweh, the God of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It is true that their restoration to their homeland had not produced the worldly advantages they expected. They needed the exhortations of Aggaeus and Zacharias to drive them to the rebuilding of the Temple of God. They needed the reproaches of Malachias to restore their faith in God’s justice. But they had learned that the gods of other nations were empty and vain.

THERE IS NO TRUE GOD BUT JAHWEH

This same difficult period in the history of the Chosen People also brought further mysterious manifestations of God’s designs for the salvation of mankind. Salvation was to be wrought by a Servant of God Who would be a King; a King, strangely enough, Who would be poor, too poor to ride upon a horse or a camel; a King Who would ride upon an ass and a colt, the foal of an ass; a King Who would be despised by His own people and valued at only thirty pieces of silver; a King Who would be pierced by His own people; but still a King Who would gain the allegiance of the Gentiles, that is, the non-Israelitic nations of the world.

JESUS CHRIST, EMMANUEL

Perhaps the most significant of the divine messages to the Chosen People at this time was the revelation of God’s ardent desire to be with His people, to dwell in their midst. When the prophets urge the people to rebuild the Temple they encourage the people with the thought: The Lord is with you, and the Lord Himself will come and dwell in your midst.

This recalls the reality of God’s presence to His people in the wilderness, when He rested on the Ark of the Covenant, a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. It recalls the reality of God’s presence in the Holy of Holies in Solomon’s Temple. Though the people fail Him, reject Him, despise Him, still God pursues them.

GOD’S LOVE FOR MANKIND

In the prophetic messages of this period it is possible to see the extreme poignancy of God’s love for mankind. From Abraham to Malachias God sought only to bring blessings to His Chosen People, and through them to the world. But, in spite of all His mercies and in the face of the wonders which He performed for them, the pleasures and comforts as well as the trials and cares of this sad human world proved too much for them. But God would not abandon His designs. Even though He knows that His Chosen People will reject Him and abandon Him, He still promises to redeem both them and the other nations of mankind. God’s love for men is the love of a father for his children; it is even more than this, it is the love of a lover giving the totality of Himself for His beloved.”
– Rev. Martin J. Healy S.T.D., 1959

 

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