The first reading puts us in the second year of the reign of Darius of Persia. That would have been in 521 B.C. In the reading the Prophet Haggai is chiding the people for not having rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem.
It was then nine years since the people of Judah had been released from their seventy years of imprisonment in Babylon, and Haggai is asking them why they have not fulfilled their promise of rebuilding the temple destroyed by the Babylonians seventy years earlier.
The reason they have not built the temple was that although they longed to see the temple rise again, they lacked the materials and the expertise. As well, they lacked a leader who could inspire them to undertake the immense task.
They could only hope to secure this expertise, the materials, the inspirational leader, if they were successful in begging God for help. The same goes for us: we can only fulfill our destiny by troubling God with our pleas for help.
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