Lk 1:1-4; 4:14-21
Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us,
I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you most excellent Theophilus, so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received.
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UNDERSTAND | By Father Greg Friedman, OFM
Each Sunday at Mass in my parish, I honor the Gospel book by holding it high before the assembly and carrying it slowly to the ambo, the place where I proclaim the Gospel.
In our first reading today, we witness a similar scene. Ezra the priest opens the scroll of God’s law and holds it high for all to see. The people acclaim God present in the Word of God, as they bow low to the ground.
The presence of God in the Word is one of three ways God is present at each Eucharist. We are most familiar with the divine presence in the consecrated bread and wine. God is also present in the gathered assembly. There we’re transformed by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ, described by Paul in today’s second reading.
But back to the first reading: Do we pay attention to God’s presence in the Word? Would it be easier if we were in that scene in today’s Gospel, to hear Jesus himself read the scroll of Isaiah in the synagogue at Nazareth? Perhaps it’s tougher to accept God’s presence when it’s Jim or Mary or Father Bill doing the reading! But our respect for the Gospel book, our attentive listening, our openness to the Spirit are all crucial to full participation in the Eucharist. Let’s allow this Sunday’s readings to call us to a renewed response.
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DISCUSS | By Father Dan Kroger, OFM
According to the first reading (Neh 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10), what did Ezra the priest do? How did the people respond to Ezra’s action?
What did Ezra and Nehemiah and the Levites tell the people to do?
In the second reading (1 Cor 12:12-14, 27), how does St. Paul compare the parts of one body to the community of those Baptized?
Even though members of the community are different and each have different gifts, they must realize and accept the different gifts of the community.
In his introduction that we hear in this week’s Gospel (Lk 1:1-4; 4:14-21), Luke explains why he decided to write his book about Jesus’ life and work. To whom did Luke dedicate his book?
At what point in Luke’s narrative does today’s reading begin? Was it before or after his baptism?
Jesus went to his hometown, but what did he do in the synagogue at Nazareth?
At the beginning of the Gospel, Luke says that he is going to write the narrative of Jesus’ life. If someone were to write the story of your life, what would he or she say? Make a list of events in your life that might be included.
Make a scroll and write on it the passage that Jesus read in this week’s Gospel. You can decorate it, if you like.