Sunday 1-21-2007 3rd Sunday In Ordinary Time

Readings :          Nehemiah 8: 2-4a; 5-6; 8-10
                        Psalm       19: 8-9; 10; 15
            1 Corinthians       12:12-30
                        Luke          1: 1-4; 4: 14-21

We may wonder why the Church selected the reading for today.
Although more than 6 Centuries separate the readings of Nehemiah, Paul and Luke,

The themes are similar and relate to the development of Judaism, after the Babylonian exile; and, of the Church after the Resurrection.
Ezra was a contemporary of Nehemiah. The reading tells us Ezra read the books of the Torah to the assembled returnees. In the tradition of the Hebrews, these books were discovered as the workmen began to lay the foundations of the former wall of the Temple and were held in high esteem by the people.
Later, historical criticism opined this tradition was an allegory; in reality, the Torah and other Hebrew Scriptures werenít written down until they were in the exile.
When Ezra read the Sacred Books, the people listened intently. During the readings the people cried, listening and recalling their former experiences of Gods word.
When Ezra finished, the people bowed to in adoration of the Father and the proclaimed they would abide with the prescriptions ordained for them in the Law.

   The Psalm reiterates the love of God for His people. Psalm 19 is a sort-of mini 119th Psalm. It points out the efficacy of Godís Word and the reverence we should all hold for them. It extols the Law as a guide for the people of the time and us.

   This excerpt from Paulís letter to the Corinthians, precedes his memorable treatise on the primacy of Love in our relations with our fellow men and God.
Here, Paul points out the perfection of Godís creation where there is nothing He created which is unnecessary. Although Paul uses the metaphor of the parts of the Body, in reality, he is emphasizing the necessity for each and every participant in the Body of Christ, which is the Church.
In the realm of sin, we may assume some types of sin cause no harm to those not directly involved . Here, Paul insists when ever one part of the Body suffers, everyone however imperceptibly suffers. Even our merest venial sin affects everyone. His message is, ďDonít sin and stay away from the occasions!Ē

   Luke begins his narrative with a similar introduction. Theophilus Lukeís sponsor in this and in Lukeís second volume, ACTS, had heard of the other Gospels and probably enjoined Luke to investigate the claims of Jesusí Resurrection and report back to him whether the stories he had heard were authentic.
On His return to Galilee , to His hometown., Jesus began His public ministry by proclaiming the Scriptures, the Hebrew writings, and announcing the fulfillment of the Isaiahís prophesy in the sight of His neighbors and Family.

   When we hear these wondrous words, do we react coldly or, as we should, praise God for allowing us to hear His word and absorb it into our daily living. His message never changes. Itís love, love, love.

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