After the people returned from captivity, Ezra, the priest, found the scroll of the Law seemingly hidden and brought it out to proclaim it to the people who listened attentively to God’s Word. They stood before Ezra while he read the whole text, allowing the Law to seep into the very marrow of their bones, into the deep recesses of their consciousness, so much so, some of them wept upon hearing God’s Word. God’s words can be very life giving for those who hear, listen and take in the word, applying it to their lives and actions. As Ezra declares the day is a “holyday”, following the completion of rebuilding the temple, a day worth celebrating with rich food and sweet drinks… he says, “rejoice in the Lord who is our strength.”
Hopefully, we do not take the day of the Lord, Sunday for granted, a day we too set aside for worship, praise and prayer in the midst of our very full busy lives. Would that we too stand in rapt attention when the Word of God is proclaimed and the Eucharist celebrated! Would that we find nourishment in this living word and healing sacrament in order to sustain us in the days ahead each week!
This past week, Pope Francis flew to Panama City, Panama, for World Youth Day to join more than 150,000 young people from 155 countries, including El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Cuba, Argentina and the United States and so many other countries for the 14th International Youth Day. Imagine youth from around the world gathering together because of their faith in God, in the inspiring lives of the saints, in Mary and in Christ to lead a fuller Christian life. Pope Francis has chosen this scriptural phrase: “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke1: 38). More than likely they will give Francis their undivided attention as he speaks to them, sharing Mary’s response to God’s messenger, challenging them to grow in their faith to lead fuller Christian lives. I am sure he will challenge them to stay involved in the church despite the sexual abuse scandal, to help change the church from within so that we can all grow stronger in faith and heal its brokenness.
On Sunday morning the Pope will end this international gathering of youth with the Eucharist nourishing all those present with the life of the Lord. May we lift up all the world’s youth in prayer. May they inspire us to renew and revitalize our own faith in Christ and Mary, so we too can be lifted up.
Blessings in Ordinary Time, Father Larry