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

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Wars Continue: II Esdras 11:1-12:3a with poem by Homer, The Trojan Camp at Night

Daily Readings
Psalm 143, Esther 6:1-13, II Esdras 11:1-12:3a, Revelation 9

Daily Text: II Esdras 11:1-12:3a

The Wars Continue
The eagle arises out of the sea, the Mediterranean Sea, that is, the western sea, the evil sea. For Ezra, no good comes of it. Its wings cover the world, ruling, oppressing, universally dominate without significant challenge. With rapidly changing leaders, the voice heard comes from the middle of the body, in this case, perhaps, the Roman Senate, for while the leaders are changing, Rome continues, the wars continue.
The lion found in II Esdras 11:1-12:3a is the Messiah, the one who will address the eagle and bring it to judgment and to death, this cruel and unjust master. The end of the eagle’s rule is foreseen as a consequence both of God’s intention and the eagle’s evil action. And that end comes in flames of fire as did the end of the fourth kingdom in Daniel 7, with which this beast, this eagle is associated, reinterpreted (cf. 11-13) and identified.

The Trojan Camp at Night
from “Iliad VIII”
Translated by Alfred Tennyson

So Hector said, and sea-like roared his host;
Then loosed their sweating horses from the yoke,
And each beside his chariot bound his own;
And oxen from the city, and goodly sheep
In haste they drove, and honey-hearted wine
And bread from out the houses brought, and heaped
Their firewood, and the winds from off the plain
Rolled the rich vapor far into the heaven.
And these all night upon the bridge of war
Sat glorying; many a fire before them blazed:
As when in heaven the stars about the moon
Look beautiful, when all the winds are laid,
And every height comes out, and jutting peak
And valley, and the immeasurable heavens
Break open to their highest, and all the stars
Shine, and the Shepherd gladdens in his heart.
So many a fire between the ships and stream
Of Xanthus blazed before the towers of Troy,
A thousand on the plain; and close by each
Sat fifty in the blaze of burning fire;
And champing golden grain the horses stood
Hard by their chariots, waiting for the dawn.

Collect for the Day
God of our hope, when we are distracted by care and sickness, help us to recognize your image in ourselves and others, that we may be made whole and the world become the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

[476:902:143 Psalm prayer]


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