Reading (Ezra 1.1-6)
In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, in order that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the Lord stirred up the spirit of King Cyrus of Persia so that he sent a herald throughout all his kingdom, and also in a written edict declared: “Thus says King Cyrus of Persia: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of those among you who are of his people — may their God be with them! — are now permitted to go up to Jerusalem in Judah, and rebuild the house of the Lord, the God of Israel — he is the God who is in Jerusalem; and let all survivors, in whatever place they reside, be assisted by the people of their place with silver and gold, with goods and with animals, besides freewill offerings for the house of God in Jerusalem.”
The heads of the families of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites — everyone whose spirit God had stirred — got ready to go up and rebuild the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. All their neighbours aided them with silver vessels, with gold, with goods, with animals, and with valuable gifts, besides all that was freely offered.
Responsorial Psalm (Psalm 126)
R. The Lord has done great things for us.
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy. R.
Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we rejoiced. R.
Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like the watercourses in the desert of the Negev. May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy. R.
Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves. R.