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Home » Daily Gospel, Daily Readings, History, Old Testament

The Return of the Exiles

Submitted by on Monday, 19 September 2011No Comment

Today’s Readings

  • Reading I:  Ezra 1:1-6
  • Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 126
  • Gospel Reading: Luke 8:16-18

Back to Jerusalem!


The selection taken from the beginning of the book of Ezra is about the edict of Cyrus the Great regarding the return of the exiled Jews to Judah and the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. The story is narrated as "salvation history" that is, as a marvellous deed God has done for His people. The responsorial psalm celebrates this episode in the history of Judah.

When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.

The Babylonian Exile (586-538 BC) has ended thanks to Cyrus the Great, and the Jews can begin anew.

The Babylonian Captivity and the subsequent return to Israel were seen as one of the pivotal events in the biblical drama between Yahweh and his people of Israel. Just as they had been predestined for, and saved from, slavery in Egypt, in the logic of the Bible it had been prophesied that the Israelites would go into captivity to the Babylonians for their idolatry and disobedience to Yahweh, and then be delivered once more. The Babylonian Captivity had a number of serious effects on Judaism and the Jewish culture. For example, the current Hebrew script was adopted during this period, replacing the traditional Israelite script. This period saw the last high-point of Biblical prophecy in the person of Ezekiel, followed by the emergence of the central role of the Torah in Jewish life; according to many historical-critical scholars, it was edited and redacted during this time, and saw the beginning of the canonization of the Bible, which provided a central text for Jews.

More about the Babylonian Captivity at WikiPedia


More on Cyrus the Great of Persia

Take Heed What You Hear

The reading follows upon the Parable of the Seed and the Sower (Luke 8:4-15). In these passages, Luke follows the order already set in Mark 4:21-25), but omits Mark’s verse 24 [a passage which Luke employs in two other places of his Gospel]. The words of Jesus once comprehended must be allowed to shine forth. Those in the educational sector would recognize in here the idea that the cognitive must pass on to the psychomotor level. Church language speak of witnessing, living out the Word. Here, Luke, following Mark, employs the image of the lamp. It would be totally nonsensical if the lamp is not allowed to shine. The Words of Jesus is like a flame that lights up the lamp from within; those who have accepted that flame must allow its radiance to break forth where it is needed (e.g. a darkened room).

More from the Bible Journal

Ezra 1:1-6
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
1In the first year of Cyrus king of the Persians, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremias might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of the Persians: and he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and in writing also, saying:
2Thus saith Cyrus king of the Persians: The Lord the God of heaven hath given to me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he hath charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judea.
3Who is there among you of all his people? His God be with him. Let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judea, and build the house of the Lord the God of Israel: he is the God that is in Jerusalem.
4And let all the rest in all places wheresoever they dwell, help him every man from his place. with silver and gold, and goods, and cattle, besides that which they offer freely to the temple of God, which is in Jerusalem.
5Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Juda and Benjamin, and the priests, and Levites, and every one whose spirit God had raised up, to go up to build the temple of the Lord, which was in Jerusalem.
6And all they that were round about, helped their hands with vessels of silver, and gold, with goods, and with beasts, and with furniture, besides what they had offered on their own accord.
Luke 8:16-18
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
16Now no man lighting a candle covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it upon a candlestick, that they who come in may see the light.
17For there is not any thing secret that shall not be made manifest, nor hidden, that shall not be known and come abroad.
18Take heed therefore how you hear. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given: and whosoever hath not, that also which he thinketh he hath, shall be taken away from him.
Luke 8:4-15
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
4And when a very great multitude was gathered together, and hastened out of the cities unto him, he spoke by a similitude.
5The sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.
6And other some fell upon a rock: and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it had no moisture.
7And other some fell among thorns, and the thorns growing up with it, choked it.
8And other some fell upon good ground; and being sprung up, yielded fruit a hundredfold. Saying these things, he cried out: He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
9And his disciples asked him what this parable might be.
10To whom he said: To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to the rest in parables, that seeing they may not see, and hearing may not understand.
11Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
12And they by the way side are they that hear; then the devil cometh, and taketh the word out of their heart, lest believing they should be saved.
13Now they upon the rock, are they who when they hear, receive the word with joy: and these have no roots; for they believe for a while, and in time of temptation, they fall away.
14And that which fell among thorns, are they who have heard, and going their way, are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and yield no fruit.
15But that on the good ground, are they who in a good and perfect heart, hearing the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit in patience.
Mark 4:21-25
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
21And he said to them: Doth a candle come in to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick?
22For there is nothing hid, which shall not be made manifest: neither was it made secret, but that it may come abroad.
23If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.
24And he said to them: Take heed what you hear. In what measure you shall mete, it shall be measured to you again, and more shall be given to you.
25For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, that also which he hath shall be taken away from him.

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