Far from the lavishness that they expected once they had escaped the Babylonian captivity, Haggai assigns poor harvests and drought, to God’s withholding favor while the Israelites are taken up with busyness in tending to their own matters and neglecting those of the Lord.
Perhaps there is a message therein for us in 2011. Our summer has been filled with one weather disaster after another: hurricanes where they are not normally, an exceptional amount of damaging flooding in several states, fires in the Southwest that leave destruction in its path, weeks-long weather that topped high temperatures in several parts of the country, and so on. And these are just about the weather in the United States. Looking at the economic and political climate, signs of “God’s disfavor” are all too obvious. Or are we in fact reaping what we ourselves have sown?
“Consider your ways!” says the Lord through the prophet Haggai.
Ecological decisions made with less than adequate attention to planetary health. Recent moves away from pollution control for the sake of short-term economic goals. Political ideologies that strangle solutions that will address the common good, the needs of the least among us. International enterprises that traffic human beings for the basest of uses and contribute to the number of slaves, approximately 28 million in the world today.
Look at the reality for far too many in the world today. If we ponder Haggai’s call “Consider our ways!” What do we find? What’s to be done?
In the Gospel, we can imagine Herod’s guilty conscience stirring. Jesus has sent his apostles out with His power and they are working wonders. Herod hears of these happenings along with the rumor John is responsible. Of course, he knows that he has killed John and is left to ponder the source of the amazing feats. Perhaps, he too is left to “Consider his ways!”
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