Archive for January 17th, 2022

Joy and Haggai – Degradation

MinorProphets_HaggaiMonday, January 17, 2022

Joy and Haggai


The prophets warn, threaten, exhort, and promise us that God is always present, even though we may not recognize this presence. The Old Testament prophecies foreshadow the good news of the New Testament, and they remind us that no matter our circumstance God’s joy rescues us from sure destruction, Christ’s joy redeems us from our recklessness, and the Spirit’s joy heals us despite the gravity of our wounds.  Today Haggai urges us to remember that despite our weariness and our sense of loss we can be joyful . . . for God is always with us.

“The Jews who returned from the exile in Babylonia had encountered formidable obstacles in their efforts to re-establish Jewish life in Judah. The Samaritans had succeeded in blocking the rebuilding of the temple; but after Darius acceded to the throne (522), permission was given to resume the work. At this critical moment, when defeatism and certain lethargy had overtaken his repatriated countrymen, Haggai came forward with his exhortations to them to complete the great task”. (Senior 1157)

Who among us cannot see our world today reflected in Haggai’s first oracle: Now thus says he Lord of hosts: Consider your ways! You have sown much, but have brought in little; you have eaten, but have not been satisfied; you have drunk, but have not been exhilarated; have clothed ourselves, but have not been warm; and he who earned wages earned them for a bag with holes in it. (1:5-7)

Who among us does not remember a time of former glory as described by the prophet Haggai: Who is left among you that saw this house in its former glory? And how do you see it now? Does it not seem like nothing to your eyes? (2:3)

Who among us does not know that God is with us always . . . and especially when we feel defeated: For I am with you, says the Lord of hosts. This is the pact that I made with you  . . . and my spirit continues in your midst; do not fear! (2:4-5)

And who among us cannot say that the faithful are the well-loved children of God . . . even when we are overcome with lethargy: I will set you as a signet ring, for I have chosen you, says the Lord of hosts. (2:23)

joyThe joy we find in the words of the prophet Haggai comes from the quiet knowing that God is with us, no matter our circumstances and no matter our merit. When we consider the return from exile of the remnant faithful we will understand that even in defeat, when we live in God we are in victory. This is, indeed, something we will want to celebrate.

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990. 1157. Print.

If this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter Joy or urges you to investigate the New Testament, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter those words in the blog search bar.

Image from: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/3112684/posts

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