A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.-- Psalm 51:19
Mass readings: Isaiah 58:1-9 / Matthew 9:14-15
Sometimes God chooses one of ''the other guys'' to implement His plans. Persia's emperor Cyrus I allowed the Jews to return from exile to their homeland. Cyrus is referred to in Isaiah 44:28 as God's ''shepherd,'' and in 45:1 as God's ''anointed'' (''messiah''), a surprising use of the term for a non-Israelite.
Today is the birthday of another deliverer, the emperor Constantine. His Edict of Milan in 313 allowed Christians to worship openly, free from persecution. In 325, he used his influence to convene the pivotal Council of Nicea to solidify Church doctrine. From it came our Nicene Creed. Constantine wasn't baptized until shortly before his death in 337; Cyrus, of course, never was. But it's obvious that God considered each of them one of His own all along.
Prayer: Father of us all, let us see everyone as one of Yours.