Daily Reflection
September 24th, 2001
Maria Teresa Gaston
Center for Service & Justice
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Ezra 1:1-6
Psalms 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6
Luke 8:16-18

In today’s first reading from Ezra, we hear about the Persian ruler, Cyrus, inviting the Hebrew faithful to return to the homeland, to rebuild a dwelling place for God.  They had grown comfortable in Babylon and returning to the homeland meant leaving behind prosperity, to risk and struggle again.

In Luke’s gospel today, Jesus is urging us to be generous with our gifts, our light.  If we live in the light, we will grow more.  If we hide our light, our inspiration, we will wither and lose our way.

Today is my father’s birthday.  He would have been 83.  Reading Ezra and Luke make me think of Papi and his faithfulness to God.  In Cuba, he believed God called him to lead by example, developing worker cooperatives on the sugar mill and working for justice for the poor through the Christian Democratic Party.  After the revolution, he believed being faithful to God meant leaving all his effort and the family prosperity behind.  I believe he tried to carefully listen to your word in the events of history and of his life and to be generous in responding in each circumstance.  

Someday, Cubans in exile will be invited to return to the homeland and help rebuild the country and strengthen and learn from the community of faith there.

Will I be willing to go? 

For now, I turn to America, the only home I have ever really known.  It is this suffering homeland you call me to serve today, Lord.  With the drastic, traumatic events we have lived through this month, you are calling for careful listening and deep and true dedication to your Word.  Help us to ‘heed your Word’ Lord, to listen attentively and live faithfully and generously as we dedicate ourselves to rebuilding, not just this homeland, but your dwelling place among all peoples.

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