A STORY OF THE WILLING
In our first reading, the priest gathers an assembly around him so that they may listen to the Torah; so that they may listen to their own story; their ancestry. They listened so that they would not forget who they are. In fact, we are told they stood and listened from dawn until noon. (and you thought you had to endure a long homily!)
But there is a reason for this: you see the people had just returned to Jerusalem after the exile. When they left, their city was a thriving place – their home, but now they have returned to a city destroyed by war. We are told that Ezra read from the place that WAS the Water Gate, but it is no longer there.
It would be as if you went home tonight and found your home burned by fire. . . actually, if you went home and found your entire neighborhood. . . this entire city destroyed to mere shambles.
The Hebrews had lost their identity. All they had were stories. And what did those stories tell them?
CLICK HERE for the readings for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Nehemiah 8:2-4, 5-6, 8-10; Psalm 19; I Corinthians 12:12-30; Luke 1:1-4, 4: 14-21)