Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

He Grasped His Right Hand

In the first reading for the 29th Sun In Ordinary Time, we hear Isaiah, the prophet, speak words from the Lord God, to Cyrus the Great, the pagan King of Persia. We hear God call Cyrus anointed, which is isn’t that a powerful and sacred word that means messiah!? He’s not even Jewish! What is going on here?

Around 597 BC, several decades before this prophetic prose was spoken, the Holy Promised Land of Jerusalem, was conquered by Babylon. The Temple of David was destroyed, and the Israelites were sent off into exile. This meant that Jews were unable to worship God, perform religious practices, nor were they able to offer sacrifices to God in their temple per their rituals. After around 70 years, Cyrus and his army conquered the Babylonians. He then allowed Jews to reenter Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. Cyrus even helped them.

So, knowing this prophecy was spoken and the subsequent battle won, we can understand this passage: God, grasped the right hand (strengthened his army) and subdued (weakened) the nation… even leaving the gate open (true story)… so that Persia would win for the sake of Jacob, so that ALL may come to know GOD IS LORD, there is NO other.

Let that sink in. God chose by name a non-believer to prove that He alone is Lord of all. What else will he do to prove his power and love? Well, we know that there is no limit to the Love of our Lord.