Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Despised: II Esdras 12:3b-51 with poem by Arthur B. Rhinow, Victory

Daily Readings
Psalm 144, Esther 6:14-7:10, II Esdras 12:3b-51, Revelation 10

Daily Text: II Esdras 12:3b-51

Chapter 12 is the interpretation of II Esdras 11, and it assumed that it made perfect sense in 100 A.D. Today, however, it is about as obscure as the vision itself. Some matters are clear. Twelve Roman emperors are a parallel to twelve Greek kings in Daniel’s vision. Generally, they are thought of as the Julian emperors beginning with Julius Caesar, and Augustus, who ruled the longest. The three heads are generally, thought to be the Flavians, Vespasian, the middle head, Domitian, the right one and Titus, the left head [cf. 540:300ff]. These last were the emperors who pursued the Jewish wars and destroyed Jerusalem by the hand of Titus in 70 A.D. Vespasian was the larger in that he was father to Domitian and Titus. They were particularly despised and that comes through in this text, 12:22-28.

The people seek out Ezra who has been absent for the seven days of preparation for this vision, fearful that he has left them for good. He is the last of the prophets, the only one left to them. And they express that if that he had indeed abandoned them they might better have died with the others in Jerusalem and been spared the following terrible years. Ezra reassures them and sends them back to their homes to wait until he finishes seeking mercy for them and the loss of their sanctuary.

Arthur B. Rhinow

I…… What a fine statue!
Myself It is Victory.
I Proud figure!
Myself We won the war.
I Why, there’s a tear in her eye!
Myself I know. We did not win the enemy.

Collect for the Day
Generous and bountiful God, give compassion to the prosperous and comfort to the needy, that all people may come to love and praise you, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

[476:903:144 Psalm prayer]


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