3rd Sunday OT_C


There was a motley crowd before Ezra like we are told in the first reading … men, women, and children.  We are told, furthermore, that “all the people listened attentively to the book of the Law.”

No one was considered dispensable. Each one was deemed important and not disposable. But so, too, was the Word of the Lord. Every word, every phrase, every sentence counted.

Every member, every part, every person counts, too, as far as all three readings are concerned. This much, St. Paul assures us: no part of the body that makes up one whole can say “I quit,” without affecting the totality, the whole, the integrity of the one body that makes up who everyone is, in God’s plan.

Totality … integrity … wholeness … completenens … these are all words that come in handy in today’s reflection on the readings. This is the same integrity and fullness that the Word of the Lord carries … not a letter, not an iota, not a punctuation is  to be done away with, and considered trivial and unimportant.

The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul … Not a phrase, not a word, not a letter is useless and out of place.

Galilee was, for the worldly wise, probably a forgettable place. The temple wasn’t there. The seat of power was by no means attached to the place. It was backwater, unimportant, and insignificant.

But the God who loves wholes and totalities and who loves even the unlovable and the forgettable never for a moment thought that Galilee could be dispensed with at anytime.

Jesus went back there. Jesus healed people there. Jesus ministered to the least, the lowest, the last, and the probably the lost. He deemed it proper to go to a synagogue and do an important reading of a passage that summed up what he has come to the world for.

And he did it, just where people needed it most – in a place that did not occupy an important place the in the hearts and thoughts of those who roamed around the corridors of power and prestige.

This is good news for me. I am insignificant. I am unknown and unimportant. I am one of the hoi polloi, with hardly any influence, with not much power to speak of, with nothing that I could boast of, except for my sins!

But it is good news for me because Jesus very clearly came for the likes of me. He came for people not unlike me. And he announced it at a place that didn’t reek too much of important, significance, and power.

Being whole means precisely this … nothing is disposable, throwable and worthless. This is what Paul, too, wanted to say. Every part is parcel of the whole, and not one part can say, “I am out of here.”

We all make one body. We all form the Church that is the Body of Christ. And everyone, every part, every member counts as far as the Lord is concerned. Just like the Word of God, every word, every utterance, every letter of the law and the totality of the law is perfect, refreshing the soul.  His decrees are trustworthy, and his handiwork that is each and everyone of us, is called to greatness.

I know of nothing else. I am convinced of nothing more than this great news. I am part of Christ’s body, the Church, and the Lord has found me significant and salvation-worthy enough for him to pass by a lonely church called a synagogue to announce the greatest news – liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind, freedom to the oppressed, and the proclamation of a year of favor from the Lord.

The best news on top of all this?

It is now happening right here, right now … right where we are.

The Lord’s words are being fulfilled right in our hearing and in our presence. What more are you looking for?