Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus,
whom he has taken by his right hand
to subdue nations before him
and strip the loins of kings,
to force gateways before him
that their gates be closed no more:
‘It is for the sake of my servant Jacob,
of Israel my chosen one,
that I have called you by your name,
conferring a title though you do not know me.
I am the Lord, unrivalled;
there is no other God besides me.
Though you do not know me, I arm you
that men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun
that, apart from me, all is nothing.’
First reading for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Lord finds his chosen in unexpected places – shepherds, a dresser of sycamores, and a pagan king, just for example.
Cyrus, the pagan king, serves the Lord by restoring his people to their homeland from which they had been ripped and taken into exile.
All human power and dignity derives from God’s power and glory. All human power and dignity finds its final purpose in being used for good and for love. And when it is, and when we recognise it and honour it, something more of God’s purpose is recognised: there is a new unity found in a broken world, and in the fragmentation of the human family.
Whoever does good, and wherever, does the will of God and advances the dawning of the Kingdom of God.
Window commemorating Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II. Southwark Cathedral, London. (c) 2016.