Rebuilding and Redefinition
Ss. Cosmos & Damian
Ezra 6:7-8, 12b, 14-20; Luke 8:19-21
Today’s readings are all about two tasks that occupy us throughout our lives: rebuilding and redefinition. Sometimes these processes are dramatic but often they are more mundane.
In our passage from the Book of Ezra the people of Israel, with the great support of the kings of Persia (centered in present-day Iran) who ruled over their territory, completed and celebrated the rebuilding of their temple in Jerusalem and also rebuilt the corps of those who ministered there. This new temple was rebuilt on the site of its predecessor: something new arose from the ruins of what had been there before. Today countless people in Houston, San Juan, Mexico City and elsewhere are setting about a similar task. The parish renewal and restructuring processes underway in Rust Belt dioceses like Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Chicago and Detroit are attempts to do the same thing on an ecclesial level.
Our brief gospel passage is about redefining family—not in the sense of our contemporary culture wars but rather in a more fundamental and spiritual sense. Jesus didn’t reject his blood ties but instead turned the focus of his disciples and the crowds toward a deeper kinship rooted in obedience to the word of the One who created us and sustains us. This is the kinship awakened in baptism, nourished in the Eucharist, sealed in Confirmation, and renewed in a lifetime of discipleship—a lifetime of rebuilding and redefinition.—JC