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Reflection for Sept 28, 2007

I will Give You Peace"

Today's Mass Readings

In today’s first reading from the Book of the Prophet Haggai, we find God comforting His people. God’s people are saddened that the Temple they have worked so hard at constructing is not as glorious as Solomon’s Temple. God explains that He controls the flow of precious metals. He can bring forth more gold and precious stones than Solomon was able to muster. But this is not the reason for the glory of the Second Temple. But rather, as the last verse of the first reading says, "And in this place I will give you peace" (Hag 2:9).

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Reflection for Sept 27, 2007

The Lord Takes Delight in His People"

Today's Mass Readings

In today’s first reading from the Book of the Prophet Haggai, we find the same theme that has been building all week, concerning the Temple in Jerusalem. King David wanted a Temple to be built to the Lord. The Israelites in the Wilderness had the Tabernacle, which moved around from place to place, but fulfilled the decree from the Book of Deuteronomy, stipulating that animal sacrifices to the Lord should only be in one place, unlike their polytheistic neighbors. It was not until King Solomon, however, that the Israelites built a Temple, and it was such a temple, that people from all over the known world came to it to learn the wisdom of God.

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Reflection for Sept 26, 2007

My God, I am too Ashamed to Raise my Face to You"

Today's mass Readings

We continue with our reflection on the book of Ezra. Ezra was a descendent of the priestly tribe of Israel was born in Babylon while the people of Israel was in exile there. Priests could not exercise their religious ritual during the exile and so they dedicated themselves to studying scripture. Ezra was one of the priests who was sent to Judah to help rebuild the city of Jerusalem and the temple.

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Reflection for Sept 25, 2007

Let Us Go Rejoicing to the House of the Lord"

Today's Mass Readings

In today’s first reading from the Book of Ezra, we see the continued construction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. This reading discusses the Temple’s completion, but it was only a preliminary completion. It was completed in the sense that sacrifices could once again be offered within its walls, but Jews would continue to add to the temple, particularly under the later reign of King Herod. It was in fact not until the time of Herod that the final work on the Temple was completed.

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Reflection for Sept 24, 2007

The Lord Has Done Marvels For Us"

Today Mass Readings

In today’s first reading from the Book of Ezra, we find a foreign king aiding the Jews. In fact, this is the first period in history where these people were known as Jews. During the time of Abraham, they were the Hebrew tribe. After Jacob gets his name changed to Israel, and has his famous 12 sons, they become known as the Israelites, composed of 12 tribes named after the 12 sons of Jacob/Israel. Eventually, after the reign of King Solomon, the kingdom splits into a Northern half, known as Israel or Ephraim, which is composed of 10 tribes. Some of these people became modern day Samaritans (who were also the Samaritans of the time of Jesus). The Southern half was known as Judah, composed of 2 tribes. It was the southern kingdom of Judah that was taken into exile by Babylon. In today’s passage, these people, who begin to be called Jews, have been brought back from exile and have been invited to rebuild Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple there.

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