Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 23, 2022
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.