After our brief excursion last week into Saint John's Gospel, we are back on track this week with Saint Luke - whom we will follow for the rest of the year. Today is about beginnings: the beginning of Jesus' public ministry. It begins with the Word of God, in the synagogue. Jesus reads from the Old Testament, as we do every Sunday, and tells the people that it is fulfilled in him. Everything that God has said to his people, through his prophets, comes together in Jesus, the Incarnate Word of God. Today is an ideal Sunday to think about the ministry of reader - about how as readers we make present the same fulfillment, Jesus, when we read the word of God in our Churches.
Notes for Readers
First Reading: Nehemiah 8:2-6.8-10
This is the reader's reading par excellence! Here we see the ideals of proclaiming the Word of God laid down. As a reader, keep a copy of this reading somewhere to encourage you and help you in your ministry. The story is fairly straightï¿½forward. The people have returned from exile in Babylon, and are rebuilding Jerusalem after the war. The people are getting discouraged, so the priest brings the Word of God, and reads it to them. The thing to notice is the reaction of the people - how emotionally they listen - weeping as they hear the Word of God. Notice also their stamina - listening from early morning to noon! It is important to underline the phrase "...translating and giving the sense so that the people understood..." since this links with what Jesus does in the Gospel, when he explains the meaning of the scriptures to the people of Nazareth.
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians12:12-30(Check whether to use the long or short version)
Last week Paul was talking about the Spirit giving gifts to the Church. Today he talks about how the members of the Church are organized - like a human body, with all its different parts doing different jobs - no one more or less important than the others. And again it is the Holy Spirit that keeps all the parts together. The longer version is preferable, because Paul explains his image of the body carefully. Follow his logic, and make sure you understand his argument and his examples. If you use the short version, be very, very slow, so that people get the basic idea.
Click on the link to get this Sunday Wordsearch. Feel free to copy and paste it into your parish publications.