3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time C22
I think we all have a general definition of what a community is. Sometimes it describes a group of people living in a defined geographical area, say like Marlborough. Sometimes it describes a group of people having similar values, beliefs, or goals, say like a parish community like St. John Fisher. Today’s readings are concerned about community.
After the end of the Babylonian Exile, the returning Jewish people probably didn’t know the Law of Moses and most of them didn’t understand Hebrew. That set the scene of today’s 1st reading. Ezra, a student of the Law, and Nehemiah who was sent by the Persian government to oversee the rebuilding of the Temple and Jerusalem, thought it wise to read, translate and interpret the Law to the men, women and all those old enough to understand, in order to provide them with a foundation for their community. This took longer than from dawn to noontime since the reading of the Law encompassed probably the 1st 5 books of the Jewish Scriptures; and so it continued for 6 more days. The people were weeping, possibly because they recognized how far their behavior had been from the ideals of the Law and, I think, they were overwhelmed by God’s care for them.