SUNDAY, JANUARY 27, 2019 (Lec.69)
1) Nehemiah 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10
2) 1 Corinthians 12:12-30 or 12:12-14, 27
3) Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21
Gospel related: CCC 436, 544, 695, 714, 1168, 2443 CSDC 28
We, as the body of Christ, celebrate our faith just as millions of people before us have done for two thousand years. We hear our salvation story proclaimed to us in the Scriptures, and we celebrate the Eucharist. We remember that the body of Christ includes all of those who came before us, and all those across the world right now who profess the same creed. It will continue to include all who are baptized into the faith and who strive to follow the commandment of the Lord to love one another. For as Saint Paul says today, in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.
One faith, one baptism, one body. But infinite individuality: with unique gifts, charisms and missions all for the sake of the body. All with a purpose designed and graced by God. All with honor and dignity for the sake of the Gospel. And all of this is possible because of God’s laws and promises: the law as a means of signifying that God is for us. God will work for us, he will fight for us, he will take care of us and we will delight in his laws if we will only trust in him. And God’s promises that adhering to the laws will bring full, lasting and eternal joy.
This is what the community of Nehemiah heard and understood when Ezra read to them, as told in our first reading today. They wept first with lament at their failures, and then with joy in their understanding of God’s love for them, and his promises of redemption. And in our Gospel we see that promise fulfilled, as the scene echoes that of Nehemiah: Jesus reads to the community from the scrolls of Scripture, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord. Then he finishes with the these words: Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.
This is the God to whom we belong. This is the Christ who fulfills the law of love and embodies the promise of eternal life. As others before us had their purpose: Ezra and Nehemiah to lead others out of exile, Paul to evangelize the Gospel, and Luke to make record of Jesus’ ministry, so do each and every one of us have our own specific, unique contribution to make to the body of Christ. All while mindful that, as Paul says, If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.
We are one body, one spirit in Christ. May the grace of the sacrament we celebrate today strengthen each one of us, and the entire body as a whole, for the good of the world and the glory of God.