Memorial of Saints Andrew Kim Taegon, Paul Chong Hasang, and Companions
September 20, 2021
Daily Reading from the USCCB: Ezra 1:1-6
Ezra and Nehemiah deal with the postexilic period of God’s people. These narratives of return and restoration were written down later by Ezra, a scribe, and Nehemiah, a Jewish representative of the Persian king.
Judah had been overcome by the Babylonians in 587 B.C., and the populace deported to Babylon. In 538, the Babylonians were overcome by the Persians. The Persian king, Cyrus, immediately decreed that the Jews who wished to do so could return home. The Babylonian captivity was over! The response of the Jews was not enthusiastic. Many--perhaps most of them--liked it in Babylon. They weren’t eager to go home.
Today’s reading gives us Cyrus’ decree. But there was still a long way to go. God’s providence isn’t always fulfilled effortlessly.