Homily for Sept. 19, Monday of the XXV Week in Ordinary Time, year I
Throughout the history of the people of Israel, there have been moments of prosperity and moments of terrible suffering. At times, their future has seemed doubtful, but by the grace of God, those moments of darkness and difficulty have always been followed by a change of fortune.
The first reading today recounts one of those transitions. About five hundred years before Christ, a portion of the Israelites were living in exile in Babylon. They had lost their homeland, their city, their royal family, and their temple, to the invading armies of the Babylonians. And yet, despite how it seemed to them, God had not abandoned them. When Cyrus the Great, a Persian, conquered Babylon, he allowed the Jews to return and to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple. Today’s psalm reflects the feelings of the returning exiles, who were so happy, they felt like they must be dreaming.
These readings are more than a history lesson. They give us an important message: God never abandons us. Even when it may seem that everything is going wrong, that people and places we love are lost forever, or that our lives have taken a definitive turn for the worse, God is still with us and can turn any situation around. Whether or not it happens in this life, we can be sure that, if we keep the flame of our faith alive in the darkness, we will arrive to our eternal homeland in heaven. There, we will have neither sorrow nor suffering, and we will rejoice with all the faithful in the light of Christ. May our faith and hope in the God of our salvation continue to grow, and be a beacon of light to all those around us.