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Fourth Sunday in Lent – Cycle B

Reflecting on Chronicle 36:14-16, 19-23

What an ironic moment in history, when King Cyrus the Persian overtook the mighty Babylonians. Do you remember that scary story about the banquet that King Belshazzar hosted? He had all the sacred vessels from the Temple in Jerusalem brought in so he, and his wives, and consorts, and concubines, and consorts could drink wine in them. What a travesty!

But then, Suddenly… the fingers of a human hand appeared, writing on the plaster of the wall in the king’s palace. Everyone was struck with terror. Finally, someone called for Daniel, the famous Jewish man who had been brought to Babylon in his youth. He knew immediately what the writing meant:

You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting. King Belshazzar died that very night, the invading Persians routed the Babylonians from the land, and King Cyrus took power (Daniel 5).

The Jews, held in captivity for fifty years, must have rejoiced to see their enemies vanquished. But listen! King Cyrus said the most astonishing thing. He admitted that God had given everything to him, and even charged him to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem! And then, this most astonishing sentence: Whoever, therefore, among you belongs to any part of his people, let him go up, and may his God be with him” (2 Chronicles 36:23).

And thus began the great journey home, and the long task of rebuilding the Temple and their homes. All because the one they thought was their enemy turned out to be a greater friend than many of their own prophets and kings. Isn’t that sometimes the way? This Lent, ask for the grace to see the gifts your “enemies” might be giving you.

What is God saying to you through your “enemies”?

Kathy McGovern ©2024

Lent - Cycle B

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