Third Sunday Ordinary Time
Nehemiah 8:2-4, 5-6, 8-10
I Corinthians 12:12-30
Luke 1:1-4, 4:14-21
I credit a few things and a few people with my vocation to priesthood. In those that are at the top of the list is my Catholic School education and my second-grade teacher Sr. Maria Hosea. She was a beautiful woman from what I could see as she wore a full habit. When all the other sisters stayed inside during lunch recess, Sr. Maria would be outside with us playing kickball. If she was not playing kickball it would be easy to spot Sr. Maria because she always had a group of students around her. My mom would clean the church and when school was done for the summer my mom came home from cleaning the church with two shiny red apples. My mom said, “Sister wanted you to have these apples because she could see something different in you. She knew you were not her best student (Which was very true, I struggled in school) but she wanted you to know that she noticed these things about you.” Wow! What a difference that made in my life! The very next week, Sr. Maria was killed in a swimming accident, she dove off a dock into a lake, and the water was much too shallow. On my ordination day, I thanked Sr. Maria Hosea for seeing something in me.
I know there are many great teachers both in public and Catholic schools. Thank you for all that you do, I know you are overworked and underpaid. I am very grateful for my Catholic education because it provides for me an excellent education, but it also helped me to grow in faith. Today we begin to celebrate Catholic Schools. We have an excellent Catholic School as out test scores are some of the highest in the diocese. Our staffs not only teach at a high standard they also can share their faith, pray with our students and we celebrate each week with an All School Mass on Fridays. Today we celebrate the Word of God alive in our midst.
In our first reading, the Israelites have been set free and are rebuilding the holy city of Jerusalem. Ezra, the priest, begins to read the Word of God to them, and they begin to weep. The people realize how wonderful it is to hear the Word of God and how hungry they were to hear it. Ezra encourages them to stop weeping, to rejoice in the Lord always and to keep this day holy by never taking the Word of God for granted. Their lives will be forever changed by hearing the Word of God.
In our Gospel Jesus goes to the synagogue where he searches for a passage from Isaiah, and reads, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, to bring glad tidings to the poor, liberty to captives, sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” Instead of preaching on it he rolls up the scroll, hands it back to the attendant and says, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing?” How those people would have been astonished to hear such words. However, would their lives be changed by what they just heard?
As we gather in this holy Eucharist may we come to know, that the Word of God is being fulfilled in your midst? How will our lives be changed by what we have seen and heard? May God’s Word always brings us hope and may we always live in God’s Word.