Oct 18, 2020: 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

1st Reading – Isaiah 45:1, 4-6

Thus says the LORD to his anointed, Cyrus,
whose right hand I grasp,
subduing nations before him,
and making kings run in his service,
opening doors before him
and leaving the gates unbarred:
For the sake of Jacob, my servant,
of Israel, my chosen one,
I have called you by your name,
giving you a title, though you knew me not.
I am the LORD and there is no other,
there is no God besides me.
It is I who arm you, though you know me not,
so that toward the rising and the setting of the sun
people may know that there is none besides me.
I am the LORD, there is no other.

Today’s first reading is from the section of Isaiah referred to as Second Isaiah (chapters 40-55), which was written between 587 and 539 BC. This was the time of the greatest catastrophe in Jewish history, when the Babylonians had reduced the temple and the city of Jerusalem to ruins, carried the important people of Judah into captivity, and demolished Judah as a nation.

Isaiah offers hope to the exiles by assuring them that God would bring them back to the holy land and that they would be God’s instrument of revelation to other nations.

In today’s reading, the prophet is telling the exiles that Cyrus — the Persian king who, in turn, is now conquering the Babylonians — is God’s instrument of saving power. Continue reading “Oct 18, 2020: 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)”