Ordinary Time, 3rd Sunday. The Israelites return to Jerusalem after their captivity in Babylon. The first thing they do is rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Then they listen to the Law read aloud. They are sad that they have failed to keep the law, but rejoice because they have re-discovered who they truly are. They had lost their identity because they wanted to be like all the other nations. God did not want them to be like all the other nations; God intended them to be different so that the pagans all around them could discover the one true God and a better way to live.

Jesus stands up in the Synagogue to proclaim that He knows the way to happiness because He is the way. Those who follow Him are gathered into the Church. Christianity is not the result of a moral choice or a lofty ideal, but an encounter with the Person of Jesus Christ. Catholics are supposed to be different; God calls us to a higher standard. Yet we want to live like all the other peoples, but the world needs us to be different. The world is looking for answers to their problems. Our lives need to show that we live differently because we have found a better way, and we can show them the way, because His name is Jesus. (27 Jan 2013)

With appreciation to Fr. Robert Barron: Sermon 629 : Walls and Bridges : 3rd Ordinary Time