Et Verbum Caro Factum est… This Word of God, Jesus Christ, having become flesh (John 1:14) speaks to us in many and varied ways. But especially communicates his Divine Word to us every time we take up and read the words of sacred Scripture. He speaks even now to each of us a personalized message which God speaks to no other human being. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son…” (John 3:16) For God so loved… so loved you… that he sent the Word. Thus, you have been designed inside and out to hear, comprehend and live out practically the good news of Almighty God along the paths of this extraordinary adventure of the sons and daughters of God. This Sacred Ultimate who fills our lives with the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Because you are a son, a daughter and he speaks to you in a language you can understand every single day.
Every January we celebrate the week of prayer for the unity of Christians; and, one of the most poignant accusations which we Catholics receive is that we don’t read the bible. As an evangelical protestant missionary, my father memorized huge portions of the Bible, and he could even recite the entire book of Romans from memory. It would take him two hours to recite all 16 chapters. Still, upon his conversion to Catholicism, he would write: “I have never been in another Christian movement which uses the Bible more than the Catholic Church. With daily Mass, there are over 20 passages of Scripture read per week. That is over a thousand passages read per year!”(Borgman, Mercyman II) So, any accusation that Catholics don’t read the bible is patently false, because, as a Church we read the scriptures, but perhaps our personal Catholic exposure to sacred scripture could be improved. When was the last time you actually picked up the bible and began to read it as a love letter written directly to you? As a daughter, as a son, you are designed to recognizes the voice of the Good Shepherd: “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.” (John 10:27-28a) Doesn’t he call out to you through the fog of so many daily distractions? Perhaps you are hearing that same voice which spoke to St. Augustine in his thirst for God: “I heard from a neighboring house a voice, as of boy or girl, I know not, chanting, and oft repeating, “Take up and read; Take up and read.” … I arose; interpreting it to be no other than a command from God to open the book, and read … I seized, opened, and in silence read that section on which my eyes first fell.”
When I was a boy, just as in this story of St. Augustine, we would actually open up the bible randomly and read whatever verse we found as a direct message from God. We spent hours memorizing verses, entire chapters and the names of the books from Genesis to Revelation. Dad would bribe us with chocolate and ice-cream to memorize scripture from the tender age of 6 or 7 years old. Simple verses like Prov. 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” This learning verses by heart was a great exercise for our young minds and placed many of those scriptures in our hearts. You can imagine that with all that memorization, I thought I knew the scriptures well, but we were lacking the fundamental understanding of the source and context of sacred scripture. We realized that we were lacking any kind of connection to the early Christians and, along with that, we lacked also the correct interpretation of scripture. Then, one day my Father (following about ten years of hard study and search for the truth) made the shocking declaration: “I am becoming Catholic.” Having believed the evangelical lie that Catholicism was the enemy of Christ, we would not have been less shocked if he had said “I am going to join Daesh (ISIS).” Later, my father would claim: “I became Catholic because I read the bible too much.” When I finally realized that the Bible was born within the Tradition of the Catholic Church and according to strict guidelines safeguarded by a God given Magisterium, I also wanted this fullness of the truth. Later on, in seminary, I would learn that the scripture was only able to be interpreted correctly according to the intent of the Author and through a qualified authority (the Magisterium), according to the guidelines followed by the original readers who followed the Tradition of interpretation.
Pope Francis recently wrote a letter to us, inviting us to know the Scriptures better. “Therefore,” the Holy Father writes: “I hereby declare that the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time be devoted to the celebration, study and dissemination of the word of God, Thus we will, experience anew how the risen Lord opens up for us the treasury of his word and enables us to proclaim its unfathomable riches.” The Christian life requires being very familiar with the Gospels and with the entire New Testament, which teach us about the life of Christ. “When you open the Holy Gospel,” St Josemaría Escriva wrote,
think that what is written there-the words and deeds of Christ-is something that you should not only know, but live. Everything, every point that is told there, has been gathered, detail-by-detail, for you to make it come alive in the individual circumstances of your life. God has called us Catholics to follow him closely. In that holy Writing you will find the Life of Jesus, but you should also find your own life there. You too, like the Apostle, will learn to ask, full of love, ‘Lord, what would you have me do?’ And in your soul you will hear the conclusive answer, ‘The Will of God!’ Take up the Gospel every day, then, and read it and live it as a definite rule. This is what the saints have done. (Escrivá, The Forge, no. 754)
In the letter from Pope Francis, The Holy Father exhorts us:
“He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Lk 24:45). This was one of the final acts of the risen Lord before his Ascension. Jesus appeared to the assembled disciples, broke bread with them and opened their minds to the understanding of the sacred Scriptures. To them, amid their fear and bewilderment, he unveiled the meaning of the paschal mystery: that in accordance with the Father’s eternal plan he had to suffer and rise from the dead, in order to bring repentance and the forgiveness of sins (cf. Lk 24:26.46-47). He then promised to send the Holy Spirit, who would give them strength to be witnesses of this saving mystery (cf. Lk 24:49). (Apostolic Letter in the form of a Motu Proprio of the Holy Father Francis, “Aperuit illis”, instituting the Sunday of the Word of God, 30.09.2019, n. 1)
A common practice is to choose a verse
from the scriptures each year. Memorize it and apply it practically to your
life. And you will be able to say along with St. Paul: I regard everything
as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. … 10
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his
sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the
resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:8-11)
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Dear Father , being given the grace for the last 15 years to study our Faith because of compromised health has been a blessing at times beyond understanding... Your commentary on Holy Scripture is excellent, IT IS A LOVE LETTER FROM GOD... And must be seen and appreciated as such, when we enter into this mystery with this attitude God begins to reveal Himself through His Son Jesus Christ … Given to us in every Holy Eucharist during the Holy Mass, this sublime gift and Sacred mystery needs to be flushed out and experienced more especially as Catholic's... The Holy Mass is where Heaven and earth intersect, Saint Padre Pio said, '' It would be easier for the world to exist without the sun than without the Mass... '' That's an incredible statement, so unpacking the Word of God that we listen to every Sunday and coming to understanding it fully is essential for life on earth... And in doing so Our Lord goes one step further and gives us Himself, He becomes PRESESNT AND THEN STAYS WITH US IN THE BLESSED SACRAMENT... THIS IS THE GREATEST GIFT WE WILL BE GIVEN THIS SIDE OF HEAVEN !!! What child after listening to his dad does not want to be embraced by him ? This is exactly what is happening at Holy Mass and the reading of God's Word gets us ready for that encounter... And there is one thing more, our Sacraments Our Lord knows us so well He knows we would need tons of help... So let us avail ourselves of all Our Lord gives us and run to Him now through His Love and Mercy !!! Peter Lepre, Envoy For Mercy(MIC)
Father: this is great! Thanks for doing this.
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