January 22, 2016



FIRST READING - NEHEMIAH 8 2-4A. 5-6. 8-10

The first reading of today seems to me very good and I would offer a good comment, I really like those of Marie Noelle, but are in French, do the translation with Google, I hope you understand)

We who do not have the liturgies that last more than an hour, we would be served! Up since daybreak until noon! All as one man, men, women and children! And all that time listening to lectures in Hebrew, a language that does not understand. Fortunately, the player routinely pauses to give way to the translator that restores the text in Aramaic, the language of everyone at the time, in Jerusalem. And the people did not even seem to find the time long the contrary all these people cry with emotion and they sing, they tirelessly cheer "AMEN" raising his hands. Ezra the priest and Nehemiah the governor, may be happy: they won the game! The party, the stake if one wants is to give a soul to this people. For, once again, it goes through a difficult period.
We are in Jerusalem around 450 BC. JC The Babylonian Exile is over, the Temple of Jerusalem is finally rebuilt, (even if it is less beautiful than that of Solomon), life has resumed. From a distance, you might think that all is forgotten. Yet morale is not there. These people seem to have lost this hope that has always been its main feature. The truth is that there is the legacy of the previous century dramas. It does not recover so easily from invasion, the sacking of a city ... We warn scars for many generations. There scars Exilio itself and there is the return of scars. For with the Exile in Babylon had lost everything and return as hoped was finally not magical, we have seen often. I will not repeat.
The miracle is that this time was terrible, yes, but very fruitful, for the faith of Israel survived the ordeal. Not only this people kept her faith intact during the Exile in the middle of all the dangers of idolatry, but remained a people and his fervor grew; and thanks to the priests and prophets who have made a tireless pastoral work. It was such an intense period of re-reading and meditation of Scripture. One of their objectives, of course, during the fifty years of exile was to turn all hopes to return.
Suddenly, the cold shower of the return that was not harder. For the dream to reality, there is sometimes a gap ... The big problem back we have seen with the Isaiah texts of Epiphany and the second Sunday in Ordinary Time is the difficulty to agree: between those who return home, full of ideals and projects and those who settled in the meantime, it is not a gap, it is an abyss. They are pagans, in part, that occupied the place and their concerns are a hundred leagues multiple requirements of Jewish law.
Since the return, the problem is different. We know that they are pagans, in part, who settled in Jerusalem for the deportation of its inhabitants. And their concerns are a hundred leagues multiple requirements of Jewish law.
We remember that rebuilding the Temple has faced hostility, and least enthusiastic of the Jewish community were often tempted by ambient relaxation. What worries the authorities is that religious laxity, precisely; and it continues to worsen because of numerous marriages between Jews and Gentiles; impossible to preserve the purity and requirements of faith in this case. So Ezra the priest, and Nehemiah, the secular, will work together. They get both the master of the moment, the Persian king Artaxerxes, a mission to rebuild the city walls and empowered to take control of the people. Because we are under Persian rule, it will not be forgotten.
Ezra and Nehemiah therefore will do everything to rectify the situation: it should be noted that people cheer him. For the Jewish community has all the more need to be welded it is now in daily contact with paganism or religious indifference. But in the history of Israel the people's unity has always made on behalf of the Alliance with God; the strengths of the Alliance, it is always the same: the Earth, the Holy City, the Temple, and the Word of God. Earth, here we are; the holy city, Jerusalem, Nehemiah the governor is going to complete the reconstruction; the Temple, he is already rebuilt; remains the Word we will proclaim in a huge outdoor celebration.
All the elements are there and we looked after the staging: it is very important. The date itself was carefully chosen: it took over the custom of ancient times, a great celebration on the occasion of what was then the date of the New Year, "the first day of the seventh month." And they built for the occasion a wooden grandstand that dominates the people, it is from there that the priest and translators make the proclamation. As for the homily, of course, she invited to the party. Eat, drink, this is a great day because it is the day of your gathering around the Word of God. Time is not to tears, even if they are emotionally.
Let us remember the lesson: to reunite their communities, Ezra and Nehemiah did not make it moral, they offer him a party around the word of God. Nothing better to revive the sense of family that offer him regularly rejoicing!