Monday of the Twenty-FifthWeek in Ordinary Time
The joy of the veterans
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, then we thought we were dreaming. Our mouths were filled with laughter; our tongues sang for joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord had done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us; Oh, how happy we were! Restore again our fortunes, Lord , like the dry stream beds of the Negeb. Those who sow in tears will reap with cries of joy. Those who go forth weeping, carrying sacks of seed, Will return with cries of joy, carrying their bundled sheaves. Psa 125
In 539 BC, Cyrus the Great, king of Persia, occupied Babylon and annexed it to the persian empire. His social policy, based on the recovery of the several nationalities of the empire, led him, a year later, to plan to rebuild the temple and the walls of Jerusalem, fifty years in advance destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Assyria. Cyrus summoned the governor Nehemiah and Ezra the priest, heads of the jews deported to Babylon and ordered them to bring back the people in their land and to rebuild Jerusalem.The today psalm celebrates the return of those veterans in their land. It is a song of joy at the end of the exile: “When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, then we thought we were dreaming. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues sang for joy”. This psalm can be taken as an hymn of jubilation for every liberation of the man. I remember the end of the last war, when the allies entered in Florence: the Germans were retreating being scared and shooting the last shots, while the people poured in the street singing and dancing. I remember my happiness when, as an adult, after a couple of months that I remained without work, I signed a new contract. I remember the deep joy of the aunt Naomi, when the uncle Beppe returned home after nine years of war in Africa, Greece and Albania. I remember the joyful eyes of a little girl when her parents, after a period of separation, met again and reconstituted the family. These are all situations which are all happily settled in the prayer and in the trusting wait. Even at the end of the last war, which, although I was a child, I clearly relive, I remember the prayer of my parents: “Those who sow in tears will reap with cries of joy”. There is no safer sowing than the prayer.