Nehemiah 8: 2-4,5-6,8-10. 1 Cor. 12: 12-30. Luke 1: 1-4, 4:14-21
St. Luke in writing his Gospel is saying to all of us this morning “Here is my experience of Jesus and I want you to know what He means to me. So, you can hold firm to him as I do.”
Isn’t this exactly what our world needs? It needs Jesus. We are encouraged in so many ways this Sunday with the Scriptures.
Jesus is the one from God who makes life worth living. St. Paul, goes to great lengths to convince us that everyone of us is important with the gifts we have and to take our rightful place in the Church. The very body of Christ.
It is Jesus who brings us to real life in God. And miracles of miracles — it’s happening right now. Hear the words Luke recounts that were on the very lips of Jesus. “Today, Today. This scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” We can hold on to these words, Jesus is saying this to us now. He is in our midst speaking these very words to our hearts. He is saying, “I’m here with you; know the way forward is clear; it’s happening now if you can perceive it and do it with me.” Jesus’ words are living words — alive in our hearts bringing us to a new place.
Paul’s message is powerful to us in this context of Jesus’ invitation. You are Christ’s body, individually parts of it. So, we love one another. As one community of Jesus. The sooner we realize what that means, the more we can resolve the challenges of our world, and of every community. We are one. The human experience is saying that to us so loud and clear. Will we ever see it deeply enough to make a difference and act in unison to be for others and not just for oneself? God’s word meets us where we are and invites us to go forward.
History is just repeating itself in us now, as it always has, from one age to the next. And it will, until we get it right. Jesus is the way forward. Let us keep looking at him to see how to do it. The Gospel must be good news for everyone. Can we act as one – together? Each taking our place in the Body of Christ.
We heard the great story of Ezra reading the Law of God – the covenant with Israel and the people were brought to tears when they realized all that God wanted with them and they just couldn’t do it. They let it all go. So, they wept. Their eyes were opened to see and hear the truth of who they are before God. God’s chosen ones.
My friends, my brothers and sisters, we are God’s chosen ones – we are God’s people. When we don’t understand our truth and don’t live by it, we drift apart, into our own worlds, it becomes all about me. We become so self-centered. Then all kinds of things happen and our world just doesn’t work the way it’s meant to be from this truth of God and who we are in God.
Oh yes, we hold on to Jesus our way. When we want something. Because we need relief from our suffering. We can name all kinds of suffering that we experience but the worst of all, is we suffer the deep-seated suffering of aloneness, because ultimately that’s what we have
If we realize we are one, united as the human community all that can change, we never would suffer alone, because we would relieve any suffering, since we will suffer together and solve the issues. That’s the heart we would have if we truly have Jesus. God is the only real need we have. And it is Jesus who brings us there.
Here’s what Thomas Merton’s says in the book of his writings, The Monastic Journey.
Only where the infinite truth and freedom of God live in the heart can there be any effective social cooperation in striving for justice and truth on earth. Christ alone is able to bring true peace to our hearts. And it is through the hearts of others that he brings it. We are all mediators for one another with Christ by our charity, by our sharing in his cross, by our love and humility in taking upon ourselves the sins of the world. Without condemning sinners, placing ourselves below others and forgiving all. By our humility and charity Christ lives in the world and prepares the consummation of His kingdom, inviting all to be merciful to one another, to be just, to give everyone the good that is owing them and more besides – to repay evil with good. If all will not hear his invitation, there must still be some in the world who will bear the sins and injustices of all, and repair them by their love. If God’s justice is not visible in civil society, at least it must appear in the believers in Christ and all who seek God.
How powerful are these words!
So, my brothers and sisters, it is with Jesus that we know compassion;
we know empathy; we would ease any suffering we experience. No longer
creating more suffering because of our lack of understanding. But the opposite,
alleviating suffering and all that causes it. That’s what life looks like from our
oneness in Christ.