Parishioners’ Spiritual Reflection

Readings for Sunday 3 January

First reading: Nehemiah 8:2-6. 8-10
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 18:8-10. 15
Second Reading: Corinthians 12:12-30
Gospel: Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21

Today's first Reading tells how Ezra proclaimed the Law to the Jewish people.  Nehemiah tells how Ezra read from the Book of the Law from early morning to midday - surely at least four hours.  He also says that the people stood up when he started to read.  Imagine people today standing four four hours plus to the word of God!

In fact, Ezra's audience consisted not just of adults but children 'old enough to understand' - and they all rejoiced in the Law.  This surely tells us how we should respond to God's word.  How often do we read the Bible?  And as important, do we understand it?  

It's so easy to reject parts of the Bible which we find hard to understand.  Perhaps reading commentaries online would help us with these passages.  Or why not form a Bible study group?

The responsorial Psalm glorifies and praises God's Law, and its role in our lives.  'The law of the Lord is perfect, it revives the soul. The rule of the Lord is to be trusted, it gives wisdom to the simple.'

The Gospel reading today is the start of Luke's Gospel, and a little bit of Chapter 4.  In it, Jesus begins His public ministry, which we should see as the culmination of the Law. ' He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, and to the blind new sight, to set the downtrodden free, to proclaim the Lord’s year of favour.'

The Lord's year of favour is especially resonant today, as Pope Francis has declared this year a year of mercy.  Why not ask to receive God's mercy soon?

The second reading is from St Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, and compares the members of the Christian community to parts of the body.  Our bodies need all its parts to cooperate and work together.  Part of the Our Father is, 'Thy kingdom come, this will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.'  

For a very long time, this seemed to me to be pure pie in the sky.  However, I have come to realise that if We as members of the body of Christ rejoiced in the law like the Jews that Nehemiah wrote about, we should have God's kingdom on earth.