Today’s readings should cause us all to stop and reflect on the importance of the God’s Word in our lives.
They should also cause us to stop and reflect on the importance of our words in the lives of others.
Words are powerful, they very powerful indeed.
As we will see in the first reading words have the power to build up and encourage.
Sadly, we all know that words also have the power to destroy.
I know people who have been haunted for years things that have been said to them.
I know people who have suffered horrible consequences because of the words that they have spoken.
Sometimes families are torn apart because of words, poorly spoken, or angry, ignorant words.
With the end of the Babylonian Exile
the Jews slowly but surely returned home.
They didn’t all return at once but rather they returned in waves.
They returned to Judah and to Jerusalem
and when they returned they had a lot of work to do.
In the first few years of their return they were in survival mode.
They spent most of their time re-establish their society.
They started to rebuild the temple and the walls of their city.
They rebuilt their homes.
They planted their crops so that they could eat.
They began to produce goods.
And as they settled in, they began to reestablish their covenant with God.
And that’s what was happening in the first reading.
The Prophet Ezra called the people of Judah together in Jerusalem and
he began to proclaim God’s Word to them.
He proclaimed God’s word to anyone who could understand, Men, Women and Children.
And as they listened to God’s Word
they realize that God was faithful and that He loved them.
And as the Word of God was proclaimed they began to weep.
They wept because they bitterly regretted the sins of their forefathers.
They wept for joy because they knew that they were forgiven.
They wept because they were finally home
in their own land among their people.
They wept because they understood that they were strangers and aliens no more.
They wept because through His Word their covenant with God was once again renewed.
The Gospel paints a similar picture.
Jesus returned to his home town
And the first thing he does go to the Synagogue and proclaim the Word.
And with the Words of the Prophet Isaiah
Jesus proclaimed who He was and what he had come to do.
As we heard Jesus proclaimed
”The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.?
And with his words He tried to help them understand that a new age of hope has begun.
They all looked at him intently because his Word stirred in their hearts.
The power of the Word can indeed inspire and lift up the human heart.
I propose that we take two simple points from this God’s word this week
The first is simply this
God’s word has to be a part of our lives.
It has to be read and meditated on
God’s word is indeed powerful
But unless it is read
Unless it is proclaimed
Unless we make it a part of our lives we can never really say that we know God.
Sometimes I hear comments like this..
Father I feel I don’t know God.
I don’t know how to love Him.
I don’t understand my faith.
How can we expect the Word of God to change us if we never read it
if we never meditate on to it
Or we never make it a part of our lives?
How can we expect to know God if we never listen to His Word?
The readings today also should cause us to think and mediate on our own words,
what we say and the manner in which we speak.
There used to be a student here who I knick named “easy pass”
Whatever was on his mind passed easily thorough his lips… there were no filters
Sometimes the things he said were wonderful
sometimes they were outrageous.
He wasn’t a bad person but he just couldn’t understand the power of his words.
And when he misspoke he would be dismayed at the destruction he was able to cause.
In our families and in among our friends our words are so powerful.
I would propose to you and myself that we have to be very careful how we use our words.
If you don’t know what to say
Or if your heart is beating fast or if your are angry or upset.
Maybe it would be a good practice to say nothing.
If you are angry or frustrated or fed up… don’t say anything that you can’t take back.
Rather it might be better to get into the habit of saying something like…
I don’t know what to say. I need some time to think.
Thankfully the more God’s Word becomes a meaningful part of our lives,
the more our words
and our actions and our lives will be transformed in to the image and likeness of God.
Let us always speak carefully and reverently
and let us resolve to listen ever more attentively to God’s word.
That our hearts and our lives may be transformed.