God's hand through history
Most of the books in the Bible are accounts of historical events. In fact, sad as it may be, many people these days only read the Bible as if it was just another witness of past historical events. But the Bible is more than a collection of historical books and it is much more precious than that, because it contains the code to be able to read human history and interpret it. This Sunday’s first reading is a good example of this. In it, we hear about Cyrus the Great. He founded the Persian empire around the 6th century before Christ, conquered the city of Babylon and allowed the exiles to return to their homeland. Isaiah affirms with total confidence that despite Cyrus not knowing God, he had been chosen by the Lord, the only God, to carry out His plan. Namely, to bring back the people of Israel (in fact only the kingdom of Juda) from the exile in Babylon back to the Holy Land, where they would be encouraged to retake their lives, customs, religion and rebuild the Temple of Solomon.
However, this is not the only account of the life of Cyrus that there is. In the British Museum there are 1,294 objects related to him (trust me I have checked). Among which, perhaps the most important is the Cyrus Cylinder. In it, Cyrus himself says that because of his good works, he had been chosen by a god, Marduk, to reconstruct the city of Babylon. He also says that it was his initiative to return all exiles back to their original countries. They had his permission and encouragement to continue with the life they had before and to reconstruct the temples of their gods. Cyrus had hoped that, in return, the gods of all those nations would bless him, his dynasty and his projects.
The question now is, which of these two accounts is telling the truth? Well… the actual historical facts are almost identical in both, what changes is the interpretation of those same facts. And why would this matter? Because it is not the same to give to human history and existence one interpretation or another. Even today the past and present events are interpreted by people who believe in a “god” called “luck”, though sometimes they call it “chance” or “random”. Human history, as they understand it, is meaningless and so is human existence which is left defenseless to the whim of nature and the few who are in power. Our faith, instead, gives a completely different interpretation of human history. Our lives are in the hands of the One, all-powerful, God, who created us, knows us and has a loving plan for us. Every single event in our lives, however small, however unpleasant and painful, have a deep meaning and a purpose. Even if we do not get to understand everything perfectly here and now, we know, we can be certain, we already have enough evidence, that God is leading each one of us to know Him, to see Him and to experience for eternity the immensity of His love.
Daniel Herrero Peña.
As you know London has moved to tier two Covid-19 alert level. Mass continues to be celebrated in our Church observing social distancing (1 meter plus masks with a limit to the number of people who can attend). It is important that you let us know that you intend to come to Mass. This will help us maintain a safe environment.
Catholic Children Society, Christmas Cards: to support this charity contact them via: www.cathchild.org.uk or by telephone 01948831046
Leave a Reply.