Book of Nehemiah
In the month Nisan of the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when the wine was in my
charge, I took some and offered it to the king. As I had never before been sad in his
the king asked me, "Why do you look sad? If
you are not sick, you must be sad at heart." Though I was seized with great fear,
I answered the king: "May the king live forever! How could I not look
sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been eaten out by
The king asked me, "What is it, then, that you
wish?" I prayed to the God of heaven
and then answered
the king: "If it please the king, and if your servant is deserving of your favor, send me to Judah,
to the city of my ancestors' graves, to rebuild it."
Then the king, and the queen seated beside him, asked me how long my journey would take
and when I would return. I set a date that was acceptable to him, and the king agreed that I might
I asked the king further: "If it please the king,
let letters be given to me for the governors of West-of-Euphrates, that they may afford me
safe-conduct till I arrive in Judah;
also a letter for
Asaph, the keeper of the royal park, that he may give me wood for timbering the gates of the
temple-citadel and for the city wall and the house that I shall occupy." The king granted my
requests, for the favoring hand of my God was upon me.
By the rivers of Babylon we sat mourning and weeping when we remembered
On the poplars of that land we hung up our
There our captors asked us for the words of a
song; Our tormentors, for a joyful song: "Sing for us a song of Zion!"
But how could we sing a song of the LORD in a foreign
forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand wither.
tongue stick to my palate if I do not remember you, If I do not exalt Jerusalem beyond all my
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 9:57-62.
As they were proceeding on
their journey someone said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go."
Jesus answered him, "Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man
has nowhere to rest his head."
And to another he said,
"Follow me." But he replied, "(Lord,) let me go first and bury my father."
But he answered him, "Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and
proclaim the kingdom of God."
And another said, "I will
follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home."
(To him) Jesus said, "No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to
what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God."
Commentary of the
Account of a companion of Saint Francis of Assisi (13th century)
Sacrum commercium, 6 (trans. Fr Cuthbert OFM; adapted)
"The Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head"
O Lady Poverty, the Son of
the Most High, having become a lover of your beauty» (Wsd 8,2)... found you most faithful in all
things. Even before he left his bright realms for the earth, you prepared him a fitting place, a
throne on which to sit, a couch in which to rest: a most poor Virgin from whom he sprung and shone
upon the world. At his Nativity you ran to meet him so that he might find comfort in you. You «laid
him in a manger because there was no room in the inn» (Lk 2,7) and always, inseparably, accompanied
him so that, during his whole life, while he dwelt amongst us: «Though the foxes had dens and the
birds of the air had nests, he had no place to lay his head». And when he who in the past had opened
the lips of the prophets opened his own lips to preach, he first praised you, saying: «Blessed are
the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven» (Mt 5,3).
And when he chose friends as witnesses to his
holy preaching and glorious work for the salvation of humankind, he did not take rich merchants but
poor fishermen, that by this choice he might show how the value he placed on you, Lady Poverty, was
to create love for you in all. And finally, in order that your goodness, greatness and power might
be made manifest to everyone and show how you are above all the virtues and how your kingdom is not
of this world but from heaven: you alone remained with the King of Glory when all his chosen friends
had fled from him in fear.
Like a most dear companion and faithful spouse, you did not leave him for an instant. The
more he was despised by all, the more you cleaved to him... You alone consoled him. You were with
him «unto death, even death on a cross» (Phil 2,8). And on the cross itself, his body stripped, his
arms extended, his hands and feet pierced... nothing seemed more glorious in him than you.