In today's first reading, Nehemiah 8: 1-4a, 5-6, 7b-12, Ezra, the priest, gathered all of the men, women and children old enough to understand to an assembly. "From daybreak until noon, he read "the book of the law of Moses which the Lord prepared for Israel." At every liturgical celebration the priest or minister also read from the Scriptures, a "law," prepared for our instruction, inspiration and strength. As in the O.T. gatherings when "the scroll" is opened "so that all the people might see it (for he was standing higher up than any of the people)...," our priests, from the raised sanctuaries in our churches, bless "the Lord, the great God, and all the people..." As in Old Testament gatherings, we, by our attendance at liturgical celebrations, are reminded that each day "is holy to our Lord" and that "rejoicing in the Lord must be [our] strength."
How true is this for you, for me? Is "rejoicing in the Lord" our strength or do we bypass the Lord and seek strength in places and in persons are who unable to lift us up and, in no way, are God substitutes?