Nehemiah 8:2-6, 8-10
Psalm 19:8-10, 15
1 Corinthians 12:12-30
Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21
Today is holy to your Lord your God. (Nehemiah 8:9)
In today’s first reading, the Israelites were reaffirming their covenant with the Lord as they listened to Ezra the priest reading and interpreting the Scriptures. Having had their city overrun, having been sent into exile, and now having returned as a ragtag group to try to rebuild their lives, the people had endured one humiliating event after the other. But now, they saw a light at the end of the tunnel. They were beginning to come together again.
Ezra gave the people three short messages. First, he told them, “Today is holy to your Lord.” Then, he urged them to celebrate their deliverance with “rich foods” and “drink.” Then, he told them, “Rejoicing in the Lord must be your strength!” (Nehemiah 8:9-10).
This reading also describes the people’s response. They gathered for the entire morning, from daybreak until midday, to pray. And their prayer was one of full involvment: They listened “attentively.” They stood up, raised their hands, bowed down in worship, and cried out, “Amen, amen” (Nehemiah 8:3, 6).
Now, let’s shift our minds to today. Each Sunday, we come to Mass to celebrate what God has done for us. As the day of the resurrection, every Sunday is holy. Like the Israelites, we celebrate our deliverance from death. And like them, we look forward to our final homecoming—heaven. We have much to celebrate!
So let’s be sure to come to Mass today ready to express our gratitude for Jesus’ cross and to rejoice in our freedom.
But there is more. If you come with a listening heart, the word of God will come to life for you. Jesus’ sacramental presence will fill your heart with his love and his grace to live a holy life. If you come with the right disposition, as the Israelites did, God will surely fill you up!
“Thank you, Jesus, for your deliverance! Lord, I believe in you and celebrate your love today.”~WAU