When we say 9/11 the horrific visuals of what happened on that day in the year 2001 come alive to our minds. Its memories are etched on the pages of our history as one that has changed its course forever.
Have you ever heard of 9/24? This obviously refers to September 24 and has been a subject of wild speculation following the speech of a German politician about ‘something important going to happen on that day.’ Those with first hand knowledge report that he misspelled Sep 24 instead of Feb 24, the day Russia invaded Ukraine. Given that his speech was in the context of the continuing war between Russia and Ukraine, it is quite possible that Sep 24 was a slip of the tongue. But in the meantime, the internet exploded with all kinds of permutations and combinations to fix this day into the schemes of rumor mongers.
Let us forget it as we are not concerned about it. But we should think about something that happened centuries before on the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month. It is mentioned in the book of Haggai. ’On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came by the prophet Haggai’ (Hag 2:10). The importance of this date is repeated in the next few lines.
Now the context of Haggai’s prophecy. When the temple of the Lord was in ruins, the people were more concerned about their own comforts. God asks them; ‘Is it a time for you yourselves to live in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?’ (Hag 1:3). In the following verses the prophet tells us that as long as we continue our indifference towards the pathetic state of God’s temple, God will not hear our prayers for material prosperity. As a result the country was plagued by drought, loss of crops, poverty, and famine. When the Israelites realized their mistake, they made amends and immediately commenced the re-construction of the temple.
When they started the work of the temple, God promised that things would start changing in their life. ‘ Consider from this day on, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month. Since the day that the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid, consider: Is there any seed left in the barn? Do the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive trees still yield nothing? From this day on I will bless you’ (Hag 2:18-19).
God is concerned about those who show concern towards His temple. He will bless them. On the other hand God has warned us that He will destroy those who destroy the temple of God. ‘If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person’ (1 Cor 3:17).
Satan tries to destroy the temple of God, the true Church, by attacking it from all four sides. He is not concerned about its consequences as his fate is already sealed. But those who help him in his diabolic plans to destroy the Church, the mystical body of Christ, God will destroy them. So stay away from everything that would hurt the Church and the true magisterium. This is the time to show more concern towards our Church, our dioceses and our parishes. Wherever the signs of decay and ruin appear, we should come forward to reconstruct it to its former glory. This is the easiest way to get God’s blessings.
We should also think about how we, as temples of God, behave. ‘Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s spirit dwells in you?’ (1 Cor 3:17). We are commanded to keep God’s temple holy without permitting anything impure to desecrate it. ‘For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple’ (1 Cor 3:17). This is why the Scripture tells us to worship God in spirit and truth. Our bodies, while enjoying the exalted status of God’s temple are also the true material for sacrifice.
‘I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship’ (Rom 12:1). The apostle adds: ’In him (Christ) the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God’ ( Eph 2:22)
If God selected the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month for laying the foundation of his temple and promised a rain of blessings from that day on, it is a call to us also to start reconstructing ourselves into new creatures in Christ. When we, the true temple of God, start the reconstruction of four lives in Christ and Holy Spirit, God will open the windows of heaven to shower his blessing upon us.