(3rd Ordinary Sunday: Nehemiah 8:2-10; 1 Cor 12:12-30; Luke 1, 1-4 and 4:14-21)
In the first reading Ezra stands on a platform specially built for the occasion, so that he may be better seen and heard, as he reads the Book of the Law.
That structure is familiar to us, of course, since we see it in most of our churches as the ambo. Its purpose is to highlight the importance of the Word of God which is proclaimed there. It is also used for the preaching of the homily and for the Prayer of the Faithful.
The ambo as an architectural element within a church is prominent. Is there a place of prominence within ourselves and our domestic church where the Word (The Law) is revered, kept, and announced? At La Salette, Mary showed that this was not the case.
So, she chose a high place, a mountain ambo, to bring her great news, a reminder of things forgotten by her people. These include the Law, of course, but not merely a list of rules and regulations. She did not come only to say that our fallen nature and sin have separated us from God, but she wanted us to know that God still wants us to be in relationship with him, if we would but convert, putting the Word back in a prominent place in our everyday lives.
The diverse ways in which we can do this are highlighted in our second reading, in which St. Paul continues his commentary on the gifts of the Spirit. We are all needed, each of us with our uniqueness, to serve the whole body. Our individuality should not create points of isolation and separation but be a gift to bring to the whole body of Christ.
It is hard to imagine two persons more different from each other than Mélanie Calvat and Maximin Giraud. But Mary chose them both. We who have received that unique La Salette missionary zeal, should also see ourselves as part of a whole, and find that one grace, that one gift, by which we can contribute to the whole and strengthen the Whole Body of Christ.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus recognizes himself in the words of Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me… He has sent me….” We too are anointed and sent in our own way. May these weekly reflections, in the spirit of the Beautiful Lady, be an ambo from which Jesus is faithfully proclaimed.
Fr. René Butler, M.S. and Wayne Vanasse