Today’s readings are spirit raisers. In the first, Ezra is described in the Book of Nehemiah a few different ways, according to his talents (priest, scribe and priest/scribe). Another of his talents apparently was cheerleader. He had a tough crowd, as they were all crying after hearing the words of the law he was reading, but those people weren’t much different from us. They just needed some encouragement that God’s on their side. In fact Ezra encourages them to lighten up—to celebrate God’s love and embrace His gift of the Holy Spirit.

The second reading hit me as light-hearted too. Paul is actually pretty funny in how he tells the Corinthians about the gifts of the Spirit—likening them to the multiple talents of one body. He embellishes the talking body parts theme as if he were talking to a child, entertaining it with a story while getting to an important moral about everyone having the talent to live for God’s glory in service to his fellow human beings.

Finally, in the gospel reading Jesus reads to the temple congregation from Isaiah, connecting its message about serving those in need to his own divine mission of salvation. He embodies the Holy Spirit and gives it voice, offering assurance to those in the synagogue—and to us in this modern spiritually-poor age—that he is the living word of God. Many in that time saw and didn’t believe. Blessed are we who haven’t seen but believe. This Thomas takes joy in that Thomas’s spiritual lesson.