Sunday, January 27, 2013

Looking ahead

By Father Perry D. Leiker

Ezra, the priest-scribe, read from a scroll. Jesus, the teacher, also read from a scroll. The messages were different yet deeply connected, for both were understood to come from God and were clearly the word of God.

In today's readings, the people lie prostrate before Ezra and were terrified as he read God’s law aloud to them. But he then instructed them: “Do not be sad and do not weep. Go, eat rich foods and drink sweet drinks, and allot portions to those who had nothing prepared.” Rejoicing was the spirit that he instructed the people to have in response to this word of God.

The good news that Jesus read caused another form of rejoicing as he declared: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. He has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor; liberty to captives; recovery of sight to the blind; and to let the oppressed go free.” To the poor and oppressed this was even better than rich foods and sweet drinks. The prophets spoke always about drawing close to God and listening to his word that would always bring goodness upon them.

Jesus truly proclaimed and was perceived to be the fulfillment of all that was promised in God’s prophetic word. It is Paul who, today, helps us realize our connection to all of this and to one another. According to Paul we truly are the body of Christ, and he is the head. But we are all connected to one another. When one hurts, we all hurt. When one rejoices, we all rejoice. The psalmist captures it most succinctly: “Your words, Lord, are Spirit and Life!”

Father Perry D. Leiker is St. Bernard parish administrator. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112. 

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