Words of Jesus to Faustina recounted in her Diary, par. 1520
November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell and the cold war ended. The oppression and captivity of Communism is beyond the understanding of those of us who grew up living freely in this country. We also cannot appreciate how it felt to reopen churches that had been closed for 70 years and know once again the joy of freely praising God in song and worship.
In today’s first reading, Ezra stands before the people who have returned to Jerusalem after 70 years of captivity in Babylon and reads the Book of the Law – the first five books of the Old Testament. For seven days he read and they celebrated their freedom. Tears of joy filled their eyes. Once again, they could worship and pray freely.
About 610 years later, in His home town of Nazareth, Jesus announces a joy-filled and long-awaited fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah: The Messiah has finally come! Our Savior is in our midst!
The captivity of sin – like the exile in Babylon or the oppression of Communism – is incomprehensible to those of us who enjoy the fountain of Mercy, the Grace of God which flows freely from the Sacraments and the Church’s liturgies. How do we remain constantly aware of Christ’s great gift, the sea of mercy, and not take it for granted?
In his reading from the Book of the Law, Ezra declares, “Today is holy to our Lord.” It is a worthy image from which to consider how we might keep holy the Lord’s Day and recognize that Jesus, Our Savior, is still in our midst.
Holy means to be set apart and Sunday, the Lord’s Day, the first day of the week, deserves to be set apart from the rest of the week. It deserves to be free of work, shopping and other daily activities, allowing us to spend holy time on the sea of mercy, resting in the Lord.