From the pastor’s desk
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time-Year C– People called Forth in the Name of the Lord.
We are the Church, the Body of Christ: the people of God, called forth in the Name of the Lord to hear the Word of the Lord, to live as his people. We are called forth to draw strength
by rejoicing in the Lord. As the Body of Christ, we are called to bring about a new world order, to work for universal sanctification through charity, by participating in the mission plan of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
To see how this can be achieved, we look into our salvation history. The period was about one hundred years after the Babylonian exile. The people of God had been freed and had returned to their own land. Finding it difficult to organize their life well, there was a lot of confusion, with everybody doing whatever s/he liked. There was a lot of stealing, violence, shameless and too much exploitation of the poor and lawlessness. The king of Persia (present day Iran), sent Ezra the priest-scribe to Jerusalem together with Nehemiah, the governor to find solution to the problems of the people of God. The reason Ezra discovered was that the evils of the time were as a result of failure of the people to keep the law of God. Their failure was not out of wickedness but as a result of their ignorance. They had forgotten the laws of God. For that reason, from morning till noon, he read out from the book of the Law of God.
As the people realized how much they had deviated from the law of God, they were weeping and mourning. For that reason, he told them that that day is holy to the Lord, their God and urged them to stop weeping and being sad. Rather, they should be happy and be rejoicing because rejoicing in the Lord must be their strength.
The same is applicable to us as the new Israel, the people of God. We must be eager to hear the word of God and live by it. In Jesus Christ Our Lord, we have been anointed by the Holy Spirit. With him, in him and through him, we must bring good news to the poor; to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to those in bondage. Just as the priest-scribe, Ezra urged the people to eat rich foods and drink sweet wines and to share with those in need who do not have, we too, should engage in works of charity and holiness. With Jesus, we must do the work of charity and work for universal sanctification.
In working for universal sanctification, each person must see himself or herself as not alone, each person is part of the whole; each person is a member of Christ’s Body, the Church on pilgrimage through this earthly live, en route to heaven. Saint Paul tells us that each of us is a member of Christ’s Body with different roles to play. Not all are apostles, prophets, teachers, miracle-workers, not all are gifted with healing. In which-ever way each of us is gifted, we should use it to share in the mission statement of Jesus: to bring good news to the poor, to
proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind, release to prisoners and announce a year of favor from the Lord.
Rev. Fr. Michael Onyekwere, SDV, PhD