Memory of the Church

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Haggai 1, 1-8

In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of Yahweh was addressed through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel governor of Judah and to Joshua son of Jehozadak the high priest as follows,

'Yahweh Sabaoth says this, "This people says: The time has not yet come to rebuild the Temple of Yahweh." '

(And the word of Yahweh was addressed through the prophet Haggai, as follows,)

'Is this a time for you to live in your panelled houses, when this House lies in ruins?

So now, Yahweh Sabaoth says this, "Think carefully about your behaviour.

You have sown much and harvested little; you eat but never have enough, drink but never have your fill, put on clothes but feel no warmth. The wage-earner gets his wages only to put them in a bag with a hole in it."

Yahweh Sabaoth says this, "Think carefully about your behaviour.

Go up into the hills, fetch timber and rebuild the House; and I shall take pleasure in it and manifest my glory there -- Yahweh says.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Haggai is the Israeli prophet who most insisted on the rebuilding of the Temple. His prophecy took place in 520 BC, when the Temple of Jerusalem was a heap of rubble. Despite their return from exile, the Jews had not rebuilt the Temple yet. Haggai preached for six months almost exclusively on the need to rebuild the Temple: "Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honoured, says the Lord" This insistence sounds even excessive. It marks a difference with other prophets, who called for the conversion of the heart and works of righteousness, rather than devotion to the Temple. Furthermore, most people then lived in extreme poverty: the drought had ruined crops (1:10-11), people were hungry (1:6), and the desert had encroached upon the farmlands. Moreover, many years before, the hostility of the Samaritans had discouraged them from rebuilding the Temple (Ezra 4:4-5). After all, why should they care about the presence of God, when their condition was marked by misfortune and by the domination of a foreign power The prophet Haggai invited the people of Israel to consider their sad condition: "Consider how you have fared" (1:5.7). Their distance from God was indeed the real cause of their tragedy. It was so for the people of the Lord back then, and for us today. How often do we forget the Lord and focus only on ourselves, accomplices to a sad life for ourselves and for others We might recall Jesus’ words to his followers: "Strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" (Mt 6:33). The search for God and his righteousness is the foundation of a worthy life. Haggai meant the rebuilding of the Temple as a way to focus on the Lord again, both in his personal life and in the life of the people. Actually, the words of the prophets came true: Zerubbabel, Joshua and all the people cleared the site of the Temple from its rubble in three weeks, and the foundation of the new building was set on September 21, according to the author of Haggai (1:12-15), (as it is told in the first chapters of Ezra). This invites us to clear from our hearts those worries that burden them, and to make them the temples of God.