Sep 24, 2023
(Ezra 1:1-6; Ps.126:1-6; Lk.8:16-18)
“Those that sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.”
The Israelites toiled in tears for four hundred years under the yoke of the Egyptians, then rejoiced to finally enter the Promised Land (after wandering forty years in the desert). For seventy years Judah had been exiled to Babylon, but rejoiced when, remarkably, the king of Persia called them to return to Jerusalem and, with his blessing, to rebuild the temple of the Lord. And now we wait in exile for our Lord to return. But sadness should not overwhelm us in this land of exile. Indeed our lights must shine; for in the shining of these lamps of holiness is the coming of our Lord to this earth. And the more we shine forth His light to this earth, the more we grow in that light, and so the closer the Lord comes to both us and the universe.
Tears do tend to be our lot here in this world; such is the way of the cross. We cannot help but mourn the lack of His love and the failure of hearts to come to His peace. Here where hatred and violence so often enter in by the ignorance of man’s soul to the Word of God and His presence in our midst, what can we do but cry? But we are not without hope; and it is this hope our readings speak of this day. For if the Gentiles could return the chosen people to their land of promise with such rich and generous gifts, how can we not take hope that the Lord shall “restore our fortunes” as well? And so as we ascend the steps to the temple of our Lord in the highest heaven, may the nations say of us, too, “The Lord has done great things for them,” as they look upon our wisdom and grace even in this land where darkness reigns.
“There is nothing hidden that will not be exposed, nothing concealed that will not be known and brought to light.” And so we take promise in the fact that that which we cherish now in our souls, the Word and the Bread of the Lord which nourishes us on this journey, shall come to their fulfillment in the joy of the kingdom of heaven. But do not hide that light growing within you, brothers and sisters; shine it forth unashamedly for all to see, and the tears you sow in hope for the salvation of the world shall serve to cleanse your vision to behold the Lord in all His glory.
O LORD, you will repay the faithful soul;
you will repay him to the full –
the lamp you light in us will never dim.
YHWH, bring us into the New Jerusalem; return us to our true home with you. In Heaven let us dwell this day, blessed with all the gifts and graces come from your hands. Then we shall rejoice. Then we shall laugh and sing. Then our tears will be washed away as we join ourselves to you.
How impossible it seems as we sit here in this dark world, and yet how very likely. For even here you are present to us as we speak your NAME. Even now we know your light shining in our minds and hearts. Yes, LORD, even now we come to Heaven.
You are with your people even in their exile, and you call even those who are strangers to help them along their way to you. All the nations know your greatness and shall enter your Church, O LORD. Let us build your Temple this day.