I would imagine many people do not know much about King Cyrus. Several times a year he is referenced in our Old Testament readings. He defeated the Babylonians, a cruel and barbaric culture. What makes Cyrus important to us is that he freed the slaves, promoted religious freedom, and established racial equality.
All this accomplished four or five hundred years before Christ. He reigned for nearly thirty years. He allowed the Israelites, those that wanted to, to return to their homeland and encouraged them to rebuild the temple. Cyrus went so far as to help fund the rebuilding. We are going to hear that the Israelites were excited to return home but were not very enthusiastic about building the temple until Ezra gets them motivated.
In this story, notice that Cyrus appears to accept the God of the Israelites, but is not converted. God still chooses to work through a pagan king. Notice Ezra is a man of God who must go extreme measures to get the Israelite people motivated. Both are moved to follow the Will of God as God so directs them.
In the gospel, it only takes a little candle, a light shining in the darkness. If you picture yourself as that light and God shining through you, what will you accomplish today allowing the Will of God to work through you?
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen