24 Sep 2019
King Darius wrote to the satrap of Transeuphrates and his colleagues: ‘Leave the high commissioner of Judah and the elders of the Jews to work on this Temple of God; they are to rebuild this Temple of God on its ancient site. This, I decree, is how you must assist the elders of the Jews in the reconstruction of this Temple of God: the expenses of these people are to be paid, promptly and without fail, from the royal revenue – that is, from the tribute of Transeuphrates. May the God who causes his name to live there overthrow any king or people who dares to defy this and destroy the Temple of God in Jerusalem! I, Darius, have issued this decree. Let it be obeyed to the letter!’
The elders of the Jews prospered with their building, inspired by Haggai the prophet and Zechariah son of Iddo. They finished the building in accordance with the order of the God of Israel and the order of Cyrus and of Darius. This Temple was finished on the twenty-third day of the month of Adar; it was the sixth year of the reign of King Darius. The Israelites – the priests, the Levites and the remainder of the exiles – joyfully dedicated this Temple of God; for the dedication of this Temple of God they offered one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs and, as a sacrifice for sin for the whole of Israel, twelve he-goats, corresponding to the number of the tribes of Israel. Then they installed the priests according to their orders in the service of the Temple of God in Jerusalem, as is written in the Book of Moses.
The exiles celebrated the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. The Levites, as one man, had purified themselves; all were pure, so they sacrificed the passover for all the exiles, for their brothers the priests and for themselves.
The mother and the brothers of Jesus came looking for him, but they could not get to him because of the crowd. He was told, ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside and want to see you.’ But he said in answer, ‘My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and put it into practice.’
“My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and put it into practice”
Filial piety is one act which certain societies emphasise upon. There is a need to demonstrate in word and action one’s respect for the authority of elders. This can entail the correct salutation in talking to others and also the need to speak with an air of deference.
The Gospel today may appear to put Jesus as a person who is disrespectful of Mary his mother and also of his relatives. Children are expected to welcome their parents and acknowledge their presence when they arrive. Jesus’s answer today seems to contradict this belief but if we read deeper, He is actually showing to others that Mary is truly the first disciple.
Mary was the first to respond to God’s word delivered through the angel Gabriel. She trusted totally in God and said yes. This act of faith meant that the history of salvation was changed. God became man and the world had a Saviour.
Jesus had taken the above request and changed it to a statement to accord to Mary the highest level of honour. Mary said yes to God and had fulfilled what Jesus had said. She put into practice what God wanted from each of us.
As we go about in our daily lives, may we spend time in prayer to discover what God wants from us in our daily life and allow God the Holy Spirit to work within us and allow us to be responsive to His word.
(Today’s Oxygen by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful
Thanksgiving: We give thanks to all who have responded to God’s call generously