Thursday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time
(Nehemiah 8:1-4a.5-6.7b-12; Luke 10:1-12)
A number of years ago a play featuring the gospel won acclaim in New York. It wasn’t “Jesus Christ, Superstar” or “Godspell” but one person rendition of the Gospel according to Mark. The performer, no doubt, was able to convey the depth of human love which Mark relates. Evidently, the scribe Ezra is able to give a similarly effective performance in today’s first reading.
The occasion is an assembly of the people of Jerusalem at the Temple site. Ezra reads the Law, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, to an astonished crowd. The people are spell-bound by the story of God’s love for them. They start to cry when they think how they and their ancestors have betrayed this love. However, Nehemiah, the governor, intervenes. He tells them not to be sad. After all, God still loves them and forgives their sins.
There are many passages in the New Testament that invoke tears. John 3:16 and Romans 8:38-39 come to mind even before the Gospel of Mark. There are days when we should weep for betraying Christ’s love. But today in gorgeous October we might just give thanks to God for Jesus. He has witnessed the Father’s goodness in a way that transcends our imaginations.