Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Nehemiah 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10 1 Corinthians 12:12-30 Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21
“Do not be sad,” Nehemiah said, “and do not weep” (9:9). Our days are holy when they are lived in the presence of God. So why do we weep? Not because God is not present to us. That’s impossible. We weep because we are not present to God. We lose ourselves in our fears and our wishes that things would be different than they are.
The people of Nazareth sat down to listen. Jesus sat with them, and opened up the book of Isaiah. And what passage did he turn to? A message of consolation, the promise of “glad tidings to the poor . . . liberty to captives . . . recovery of sight to the blind” and freedom for the oppressed. Then when all eyes were fixed on him, he declared, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:18, 21).
When is that “today”? Is it yet to come? If so, then Jesus was mistaken. Is it already past? If so, then it is not today. “Today” is now, always now.
Paul tells us that we are “Christ’s body.” He explains that in the church there are apostles, prophets, and teachers, as well as gifts of mighty deeds, “healing, assistance, administration, and varieties of tongues” (1 Corinthians 12:28). In other words, a lot of different gifts, a lot of different jobs.
In God’s work—work like setting captives free and giving sight to the blind—we have our part to play. Our part is not to fall down on our faces and weep because we haven’t done more. Our part is to recognize and acknowledge what we have done, see what else we might do, and then walk out into today and do it.
God has made this year a “year acceptable to the Lord” and this day a “holy day.” God is present to us and we need to be present to God and to God’s world. We each have our part to play, our contribution to make. Each of us can make God’s world more peaceful, more joyful, healthier, and freer. This year! Today!