Ninth Month, Twenty -Fourth Day

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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.

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