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Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Ezra 1:1-6 & Lk. 8:16-18

In the sixth century before Christ the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonian armies and the people were sent into exile far from their homeland. Although they had to wait His good time God did promise to look after them and protect them. It was a bleak period and they were severely tempted to abandon God completely.

Then in His own unique way God acted. The pagan king of Persia conquered Babylon in 539 and the Jews waited anxiously to see what their fate would be under this new powerful king. Much to their surprise the following year King Cyrus actually encouraged the Jews to return home and rebuild the temple.

This extraordinary action was due to the intervention of God: He inspired King Cryus to issue the proclamation of freedom. Here we have one of many examples in the Bible where we witness the fact that God is always in charge. He it is who directs the course of world events and He does so according to His wisdom.

In theory we know that God is in charge of the Universe but sometimes we wonder why He allows tyrants to prosper and persecute people; governments to pass immoral laws on abortion and gay marriage; and corrupt regimes to cheat their own people.

Today’s first reading reminds us that God is very much in control. In His inscrutable wisdom He respects the free will He has given to us, and permits us to choose evil rather than good. But being God He can bring good out of evil. Even the personal evil and suffering which we experience in our lives should not turn us away from faith in the goodness of God. He rescued His people of old through the pagan King Cyrus and He directs our lives in unexpected ways. We can always trust God.

Jesus believed in the power of truth. He was fully aware that lies obscure the truth for a time and that error can have a long shelf life but, sooner or later, the truth will out. That is precisely the point of His comment in today's Gospel reading, "There is nothing hidden that will not be exposed, nothing concealed that will not be brought to light.” For all of the power of evil, good finally belongs to the very fabric of the Universe. The light of truth will finally overcome the darkness of error.

People ought to take that principle to heart: politicians who cut corners, husbands who cheat on their wives, children who lie to their parents … something always happens to give their secret away. There is something about human nature that does not sit easily with lying. Either we give ourselves away by our own tangle of deception, or someone else does. The very foundation of a family, a friendship, a society and a nation depends upon the telling of truth.

Lord Jesus, may we realise that you are always in charge of the Universe and of our personal lives if we allow You to be, and that we should be committed always to the truth in our working and personal lives.

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