Scripture: Lectionary # 70. Third Sun. C. Ordinary. Nehemiah 8:2-4,5-6,8-10. Psalm 19:8.9.10. I Corinthians 12: 12-30. Luke 1:1-4, 14-21:
We focus on the power of God’s word in salvation history and our being guided today by the Holy Spirit to revere and keep that word in our hearts. It drives us to action for our neighbor. In the return from Babylon, the scribe Ezra stands in an open area to proclaim the newly found scroll of the Torah. Most likely, it is the scroll of Deuteronomy wherein the covenantal laws are proclaimed before the people. From daybreak till mid-day, Ezra reads the words of God to the people; all who are able to understand it are there; even the children. They are in awe and reverence for that living word of God.
At the end of the reading the people give their assent to the covenantal word of God by saying Amen. Amen. The people then celebrate by singing, dancing, and relaxing in the presence of the Lord. In a sense, the scene is an open synagogue filled with people who then rejoice in what they heard.
The Psalmist is entirely focused on the word of God in the Torah. He gives us a hymn made up of the alphabet for each of the stanzas; it is the longest of the psalms consisting of one hundred and seventy-six verses. All of the words used for God’s covenantal laws are present in this lengthy psalm: statutes, commandments, prescriptions, precepts, etc. Every dimension of the Torah is extolled in this inspired word of God.
St. Paul helps us to appreciate the word of God and associates our own role in listening and acting upon it in the image of the Body of Christ, the Church. Each one has a part to play; no one is to be jealous of their part in the Body of Christ. All are necessary and important members of the Body of the Lord. We accept our God-given graces and ministries for the good of the whole Body of Jesus seen in the Church.
Then Jesus goes to the synagogue and is led to read from the scroll of Isaiah. He is to bring the Good News of God’s word to everyone—the poor, the marginal, and the blind. No one is to be forgotten. God’s word is meant for everyone.
Luke, the Evangelist for this year, gives us absolute assurance of the faithfulness and trustworthiness of the word of God in his classical Greek opening of his two-fold work, the Gospel according to Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. We bless the Lord for this precious gift of the words of God seen in the Scriptures and enacted in salvation history by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The word of the Lord endures forever. Amen.
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.