This Sunday is the Word of God Sunday, as declared by Pope Francis in his Apostolic Letter Aperuit Illis (The Latin title are the first two words of the document which quotes the following passage… “He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” Luke 24:45).
Whenever we as Christians gather for worship, we listen to a selection or selections from Scripture. Scripture is aptly described as the word of God in words of human beings. We believe that whenever the word of God is proclaimed in our midst, something special happens. God speaks to us not just about what happened long time ago, but about our own lives now. Our community helps us to understand what the word of God means for us today.
Scripture is presented as a collection of divinely inspired books, each with its human author or authors, history of composition, and literary form or forms. Such wealth of writings helps us know and understand Christ as our Savior. As St. Jerome insists: “Ignorance of the scriptures is ignorance of Christ”. Just like literary criticism, we have to understand Sacred Scriptures according to its historical and literary circumstances. Exegesis makes us understand the meaning of a biblical passages themselves and not something that we assign to the passages.
We let the word of God speak to us and to our own respective life experiences. We seek to understand the message of Scripture with the help of biblical scholars. We cannot have predetermined expectations which cater to our own personal preferences as we listen to the word of God. Instead, we let the Spirit speak to us in the silence of our minds and hearts in the midst of our community. We have to emphasize the importance of the community in discerning God’s message in our lives. When we gather in Christ’s name, He is in our midst. As God’s people, we gather together in solemn assembly to renew the covenant with Him.
Let us reflect on the role Sacred Scripture plays in our decisions and actions. Is the Bible enthroned in a special place in our homes? Do we have a favorite biblical passage which serves as our motto? Is Scripture reading part of our daily routine?