Scrolling Out Our Gifts

A scroll. A youngster would ask her mom, “What’s a scroll!” Her young mom would say, “Heck if I know.” Yet the unrolled scrolls of Ezra and Jesus Christ today proclaim to us all that the good news of the joy, love, and the glory of God actively lives and resides in our midst.

Not a bad day to attend Mass, don’t you think? Happy and inviting Scripture readings. When I think of a scroll, I picture the town’s Cryer standing in the courtyard with some admonishingly bad news declared by the kingdom’s king. “Hear yea, hear yea,” yelling as loud as he can.

These days we don’t roll out a scroll with announcements about ourselves. These days we hear an often, quiet whisper inviting us more fully into the Body of Christ. “I think you’d be good at this,” says the whisperer. These whispers don’t enter our ears but arrive and arise from our hearts and souls. St. Paul vividly describes that any one gift cannot survive nor serve the whole without the combined gifts of others.

(Slight cough.) “We interrupt this sermon for this very important public service message. If Congress could only heed the St. Paul passage about our many different gifts but the one Spirit. Working only together. The worst part of it is that if we see our civic leaders divided and divisive, then, just like little children (even at adult ages) we begin to slowly imitate that fruitless, ineffective, wasted behavior. ‘Imitation is the highest form of?’ And now back to today’s sermon.” (Slight cough.)

Ezra unrolls it and says, “Today is holy to the Lord our God. Do not be sad, and do not weep.” Jesus declares, The Spirit lives within me, I’ve been anointed to help the poor, liberty to all that holds us down, recovering not our sight but a God-like sight to all we meet, freeing ourselves, as best we can, and others from thinking we just can’t do this or that any longer. To proudly proclaim that the year 2022 is a year blessed by the Lord for each and every one of us.

Whispered to us, “I don’t think your gift is the hand but your feet could do wondrous things within the Body of Christ.” The “Body of Christ,” is never, ever one of us but together, collectively celebrating who we individually are and who we can collectively become.

In no uncertain terms, God whispered me that I’m not allowed to own or operate any power tools but I can write a memorable funeral sermon in thirty minutes. Alright, one hour. My gift. Your gift. Our collective gifts raised to a Godly level.

Our favorite trio! God, Son, and Spirit say to each and every one of us this and every single day of our lives: “You have a special gift to share with someone in need, to share the joy that We’ve given you, to keep our Church active and alive.” So, please ‘unroll’ your gift (I couldn’t resist), so please unroll your gift for the Trinity’s glory and honor and toward the benefit of goodwill to others.”

The three of them also tell us that, “poverty” (not only money but the bankruptcy that so often hardens our hearts), “captivity of any kind” (like Jacob Marley, what chains have we created for ourselves and can find no way out?), “blindness” (selfish, narrow thinking like “I’m always right and you’re always wrong), and “oppression” (keeping any one person or group down in order to keep you remaining on top), “These are not Our words,” says the Trinity, “They are yours to admit, to own, to address, and to solve.

The Trinity finally asserts, “That’s all We have to say to you (pause) … for now.”

(Whispers are said in bold.)

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on
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