Archive for the ‘Scripture’ Category

29th Sunday of Ordinary Time

October 18, 2010

“Beloved: Remain faithful to what you have learned and believed, because you know from Whom you learned it.”  These words of Saint Paul from our second reading today exhort us to hold fast to the Teachings which we receive from Sacred Scripture.  Saint Paul reminds us that Scripture is inspired by God.  He goes on to say that Sacred Scripture gives us wisdom for Salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.  The purpose of Sacred Scripture is to lead us to deeper faith, and into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

It is possible to know that God exists without looking to divine Revelation.  Our unaided human reason can come to the conclusion that there must be something greater than the universe which set the universe in motion.  Even some of the ancient Greek philosophers knew that there had to a single source from which all things proceed, an uncaused Cause or the First Cause of all things.  We can reach the reasonable conclusion that God exists through human reason, but we cannot come to know Who God IS unless He reveals Himself to us.

God is greater than we are; we cannot put Him under a microscope.  It is easy to learn things about inanimate objects, plants and animals.  If we want to learn about a rock all we have to do is take the rock and examine it.  We can break it open; we can run all sorts of different tests on it.  If we want to learn about plants, we can observe them in different conditions and find out which conditions the plant thrives in.  If we want to learn about an animal, we can examine that animal in its natural environment.  We can learn about the animal through observation, examination and through tests.  When I was in high school, I remember learning about the anatomy of a frog by dissecting one.  We cannot learn about human beings in the same way that we learn about rocks or plants or animals.  The only way that we can learn about a human being is through their cooperation.  In order for me to get to know you, I cannot just perform experiments on you; you have to reveal who you are to me.  I can learn things about you through observation, or through talking to others who know you; but for me to really get to know you, you have to tell me about yourself.  I have to spend time getting to know you.  I can only learn about what is in your heart by what you share with me.

God is greater than rocks, plants, animals and human beings.  He is infinitely greater.  If He were not, He would not be God.  We cannot experiment or observe God.  The only way that I can come to know Who God is, is if He reveals Himself to me.  I learn about God by His revealing Himself to me.  In order for me to come to know God, I have to be in a relationship with Him; I have to allow Him to reveal Himself to me.

God wants to be in relationship with each one of us.  He wants to reveal Himself to you.  One of the most important ways that God reveals Himself to us is through Sacred Scripture.  In the second reading Saint Paul said that all Scripture is useful for teaching, for correction, and for training in righteousness.  Scripture is supposed to teach us how to live; not that it is simply about laying down laws and rules (although it does that too).  Through Scripture, God tells us about Who He is, who we are in relationship to Him and how we are to live so that we can live with Him forever in Heaven.  Scripture tells us about Who God IS so that we can be in relationship with Him and live the way that He created us to live.  If you want to know the purpose for something, the easiest way to find out is to ask the one who made the thing.  God created us and through Scripture He is telling us why.  God made us for Himself.  He made us to be in relationship with Him.  God made us for love: to love Him above all things and others as ourselves for love of Him.  God wants to deepen His relationship with us: He thirsts for you.  He wants you to come to know Him ever more deeply and love Him ever more fully.

How do we grow in our relationship with God?  We spend time with Him.  Our relationship with God grows the same way that all of our relationships grow: by spending time with the person that we want to develop a relationship with.  Spend time with God and prayer and through praying with Scripture can help us grow closer to Him.  The more we learn and know Scripture, the more we come to know God as He has revealed Himself to us.  The Bible is not just words about God; it is the Word of God.  God wants to speak to you through Scripture; He desires to reveal Himself to you through it.  We have to read Scripture in order to allow God to speak to us through it.  The same Holy Spirit that inspired the writers of Sacred Scripture wants to inspire you through them.  We have to do what we can to learn about Sacred Scripture; we have to ask questions about Scripture: sometimes that question might be: “what the heck does this Scripture mean?”  We ought to take time to pray with and meditate upon Sacred Scripture.  Saint Jerome once said that ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.  Our pastor, Fr. John, is fond of saying that Scripture is God’s love letter to you.  If you received a letter from a family member or a really good friend wouldn’t you open it immediately and read it?  God wants to speak to us through Scripture.  I challenge each one of us here to take some time this week to pray with Scripture.  Maybe just prayerfully read the readings for next Sunday.  Fr. John’s Wednesday Bible study focuses on the Sunday readings for the upcoming week; he always gives great insight into the readings.  That being said: a Bible study cannot replace taking time praying with Scripture on your own.  Bible studies can give us fruit for meditation (the more we understand Scripture the deeper we can enter into it) but each one of us has to enter into the Scriptures for ourselves.  Praying with Scripture is not the same as studying Scripture or just reading it.  Try to let God speak to your heart through it.  Meditate on it; enter into the scene.  Imagine what it was like to sit at the feet of Jesus as He teaches.  Think about what Jesus says: ask God what He wants to say to you through the passage that you are reading.  Praying with Scripture can be a powerful way to encounter the Lord.

Lord, help us to come to an ever-deeper appreciation of your Holy Word.  Send Your Holy Spirit upon us and give us hearts that are open to listening to all that You want to say to us.  Help us, Lord, to grow in our knowledge and in our love of You.  Amen.