3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Today’s readings remind us of the importance of the Word of God in our lives. In today’s Gospel Luke explains to Theophilus that he sought to check and compile all concerning Jesus that had been written or handed down by other “ministers of the word.” Ezra in today’s First Reading, as part of a liturgical assembly in honor of the dedication of the newly rebuilt Temple in Israel, reads the law for hours to the people in order to help them to renew the covenant: it was probably the first five books of the Old Testament. The Israelites found their identity in the words of the Law, just as we find it in the Bible today, especially in the Gospel, but without discarding what’s been handed down to us in the Old Testament.

Our Lord too in today’s Gospel reads from the prophets, but presents something new, something that represents his Incarnation and mission and sheds light on all the Word of God: he has come to fulfill everything promised through the prophets, and to give meaning to the history of salvation lived until that moment and passed along through oral and written traditions until being compiled into what we call the Bible today. Without God’s Word we’d soon lose our identity and our way in a world plagued by ignorance, confusion, and evil.

Just like Ezra, Paul, and Jesus himself the Lord blesses us with people who conserve and interpret what God has said to us throughout salvation history. Let’s pray for all ministers of God’s Word today, and for the grace to be faithful witnesses to that Word as well.

Readings: Nehemiah 8:2–4a, 5–6, 8–10; Psalm 19:8–10, 15; 1 Corinthians 12:12–30; Luke 1:1–4, 4:14–21. See also 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B and 22nd Week in Ordinary Time, Monday.