Ps 122:1-2, 3-4ab, 4cd-5
Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
25TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Psalter: Week 1 / (Green)
1st Reading: Ezra 6:7-8, 12b, 14-20
Let the governor of the Jews together with their leaders build the House of God on its former site.
This is the command I give as to what you should do to help those Jewish leaders rebuild the House of God: pay the expenses in full and without delay, with the income from taxes of the province at the other side of the River which is allotted to the king.
I, Darius, give this command. Let it be carried out at once.
And the leaders of the Jews continued to make progress in building, encouraged by what Haggai, the prophet, and Zechariah, the son of Iddo, had said; and they finished the work according to the command of the God of Israel and the decrees of Cyrus and Darius. The House was finished on the third day of the month of Adar in the sixth year of the reign of Darius.
The children of Israel, the priests and the Levites, and the rest of those who had returned from exile celebrated the consecration of this House of God with rejoicing, offering on this solemnity one hundred young bulls, two hundred rams and four hundred lambs; and twelve he-goats as a sin-offering for all Israel, according to the number of the tribes of Israel.
Then they installed the priests according to their ranks, and the Levites according to their classes, for the service of the House of God in Jerusalem, as it is written in the Book of Moses.
Those who had returned from exile celebrated the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month, for the priests and the Levites had purified themselves together, and all of them were clean. So, they slaughtered the Passover lamb for all who had returned from exile, for their fellow-priests and for themselves.
Gospel: Lk 8:19-21
Then his mother and his relatives came to him, but they could not get to him because of the crowd. Someone told him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside and wish to meet you.” Then Jesus answered, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”
Basing themselves on today’s gospel reading, some of our Protestant brothers and sisters believe that, if Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus, she subsequently lost her virginity and had other children in the usual manner, as we learn from today’s gospel episode which states that Jesus had “brothers.” How can Catholics, who have always professed the perpetual virginity of Mary, refute their position?
The Catholics stand on this question is simply that the so-called “brothers” of Jesus were really his cousins or relatives. We know this on the basis of various arguments, only three of which will be presented here.
First, neither Hebrew nor Aramaic have a term for “cousins” or “relatives.” They use the word “brother” (or “sister”) instead.
Second, in the gospels these “brothers” of Jesus are never called sons of Mary. In this particular passage of Luke, if people were referring to other sons of Mary, they would surely say: “Your mother and the sons of your mother are here.”
Third, the infancy gospels mention no other children of Mary.
As a final remark, let us remember that nowadays in America all blacks call themselves “brothers.” In Africa, too, this custom is quite widespread.
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