23 Sept, Friday of Week 25
Hag 21:15-:9. The Lord remembers his covenant. Soon he will make the new temple more glorious than Solomon’s.
Lk 9:18ff. Peter confesses Jesus as the Messiah. Our Lord then announces his suffering, death and resurrection.
Life’s Various Stages
All of life’s stages are represented in today’s texts. Even though each of us individually may identify with only one of these stages at this particular moment, we must come to a peaceful acceptance of our past and we need to prepare in advance for what lies ahead. Moreover as each of us lives in family, parish, neighbourhood, work or residence, we mingle with others in all the stages of human existence.
Haggai does not deny memories but puts them to their proper use. Without dodging the issue of discouragement, he asks the people, “Who is left among you that saw this house in its former glory the temple built by Solomon and demolished by the Babylonians? And how do you see it now? Does it not seem like nothing in your eyes?” But if the prophet can draw upon one memory, he is entitled to summon others. Next he refers to the days of Moses and the covenant at Mount Sinai, “This is the pact that I made with you when you came out of Egypt, and my spirit continues in your midst. Do not fear.”
By means of these good memories Haggai evokes a recollection of Israel’s early days of dedication and accomplishment, dedication through the covenant at Sinai and accomplishment during the glorious reigns of David and Solomon. In our lives these are the days of adolescence and young adult life. The Bible asks us to be enthusiastic about this period of human existence, whether in ourselves or in others. We should be excited about the achievement of young people, never jealous nor critical. They will need those golden days as happy memories at a later time.
Next comes the long stretch of decision, acceptance and patience. We never seem to complete the pursuit of our desires and objectives. We interpret this reaction as a healthy way of making decisions and an equally healthy way of knowing that “here we have no lasting city; we are seeking one which is to come” (Hebrews 13:14).
The New Testament will recognize a supremely new “moment” in the coming of Jesus (Hebrews 12:26). Out of the scorching trial of the exile and the monotonous days afterwards God drew this statement of messianic hope. We too will be surprised by the spiritual insight achieved through suffering and perseverance.
First Reading: Hg 2:1-9
In the second year of King Darius, in the seventh month, on the twenty-first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by the prophet Haggai, saying:
Speak now to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people, and say, Who is left among you that saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Is it not in your sight as nothing?
Yet now take courage, O Zerubbabel, says the Lord; take courage, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; take courage, all you people of the land, says the Lord; work, for I am with you, says the Lord of hosts, according to the promise that I made you when you came out of Egypt. My spirit abides among you; do not fear.
For thus says the Lord of hosts: Once again, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land; and I will shake all the nations, so that the treasure of all nations shall come, and I will fill this house with splendour, says the Lord of hosts.
The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the Lord of hosts. The latter splendour of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts; and in this place I will give prosperity, says the Lord of hosts.
Gospel: Luke 9:18-22
Once when Jesus was praying alone, with only the disciples near him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They answered, “John the Baptist; but others, Elijah; and still others, that one of the ancient prophets has arisen.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “The Messiah of God.”
He sternly ordered and commanded them not to tell anyone, saying, “The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”