Patristic Lectionary – Tuesday, 12th Week in Ordinary Time (Feria after the 1st Sunday in Trinitytide) – 21 June 2022 – Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious
[Consonant with both Anglicanism’s and monasticism’s love of patristic theology-spirituality, this is a series of occasional selections from a two-year lectionary for the Divine Office that draws mostly from patristic writings. The lectionary was initially edited by Stephen Mark Holmes (University of Edinburgh School of Divinity) and subsequently re-edited and formatted by Michele Freyhauf (Durham University). Click here for the link to the lectionary. R. M. Healey’s edition is also used if there are lacunae in the Durham edition. Click here for the link to Healey’s formatting of the lectionary.]
[ Image: Anonymous (15th-century German School), _The Temple of Jerusalem is Dedicated by King Darius_ ]
[ Preceding selection of readings in this lectionary. ]
Ezra 6:1-5, 14-22
The Building of the Temple and the Celebration of the Passover
Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in Babylonia, in the house of the archives where the documents were stored. And in Ecbatana, the capital which is in the province of Media, a scroll was found on which this was written: “A record. In the first year of Cyrus the king, Cyrus the king issued a decree: Concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, let the house be rebuilt, the place where sacrifices are offered and burnt offerings are brought; its height shall be sixty cubits and its breadth sixty cubits, with three courses of great stones and one course of timber; let the cost be paid from the royal treasury. And also let the gold and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that is in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, be restored and brought back to the temple which is in Jerusalem, each to its place; you shall put them in the house of God.”
And the elders of the Jews built and prospered, through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. They finished their building by command of the God of Israel and by decree of Cyrus and Darius and Artaxerxes king of Persia; and this house was finished on the third day of the month of Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king.
And the people of Israel, the priests and the Levites, and the rest of the returned exiles, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy. They offered at the dedication of this house of God one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs, and as a sin offering for all Israel twelve he- goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel. And they set the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their courses, for the service of God at Jerusalem, as it is written in the book of Moses.
On the fourteenth day of the first month the returned exiles kept the passover. For the priests and the Levites had purified themselves together; all of them were clean. So they killed the passover lamb for all the returned exiles, for their fellow priests, and for themselves; it was eaten by the people of Israel who had returned from exile, and also by every one who had joined them and separated himself from the pollutions of the peoples of the land to worship the LORD, the God of Israel. And they kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy; for the LORD had made them joyful, and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, so that he aided them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.
St. Bede the Venerable
In Esdram et Nehemiam Allegorica Expositio, II.7( Patrologia Latina 91:858 )
And they celebrated the feast of unleavened bread. Now the Apostle teaches us how we must celebrate the feast in spirit, when he says: Let us therefore keep the feast, not in the old leaven, nor in the leaven of malice and iniquity, but in the fresh leaven of sincerity and truth. Seven days of celebrating go into that: for throughout our time in this world, however many days it may run, we are to live our lives in sincerity and truth, and indeed in every kind of sacrifice and offering. For our blessed Lord himself tasted death for a time at Eastertide, only to vanquish it by the eternal power of his resurrection. And our celebration of Easter here and now can be taken to represent symbolically our resurrection. Hence just as the building of the Temple stands for the present condition of Holy Church, so the dedication of it symbolises the life that is to come, consisting in the rejoicing of the holy souls who have left the life of the body behind.
The sacrifice of the passover hints at the glory of the resurrection, when no longer will all the elect need to be refreshed by the flesh of the spotless Lamb – that is, our Lord and our God – in the sacrament, as believers; for they will be refreshed indeed by seeing him as he is in very truth.
Wherefore in this passover all priests and Levites, all the congregations of the people, all those who had joined them from among the Gentiles, are held to have been of the world, all brought into one, as it were; for truly then will the Lamb of God have taken away the sins of the world. And as Saint John the Apostle said: The blood of Jesus the Son of God cleanses us of all sin. Then there will be true unity, for God will be all in all. Then the true feast of unleavened bread will be celebrated with rejoicing with no leaven of malice or wickedness remaining among the elect, but all clinging in truth and in sincerity of heart, to the vision of God. And all this will come to pass, not in seven days of this changing world, but in that one day of eternal life within the courts of the Lord which is better than thousands, and in the light of the Holy Spirit whose sevenfold grace the Prophet commends to us.