The Church would like us to focus our attention on the Bible, God’s very word, and to examine ourselves and see if we are truly
concerned with fostering an encounter with Christ.
In our Gospel this Sunday, Mark relates that people were astonished at
Jesus’s teaching because he taught them with authority. The rabbis and pharisees at that time needed to quote Moses and other prophets to gain authority for their teaching but Jesus needed no backing up. His words made things happen because “the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them”(Lk 7:22). In fact, in the gospel today even the unclean spirits listen to him. Yes, his words are powerful because he is the author himself – he is the very word of God. As John’s Prologue says, “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God … and the word became flesh”(John 1:1). The word became incarnate, God-with-us, Emmanuel!
My brothers and sisters, we celebrate today National Bible Sunday. The
Church would like us to focus our attention on the Bible, God’s very word, and to examine ourselves and see if we are truly concerned with fostering an encounter with Christ, who gives himself to us in his word (Verbum Domini,73).
First, let us be reminded of the power of God’s word in Jesus. In the
letter to the Hebrews it says, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4: 12) Let us not underestimate the power of God’s word. It is Jesus not only speaking. It is Jesus himself who speaks with authority! For the last two thousand years, God’s word has changed and transformed peoples’
hearts. We know of many great sinners who became saints. We just celebrated this week, the conversion of St. Paul, “who was transformed from being a persecutor of Christ into a vessel of his
grace”. God’s word cuts through our hearts and will surely transform us if we humbly listen to it. Let us then say with the responsorial for this day, “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts”.
Second, believing in Jesus’s powerful words, let us become instruments
in the proclamation of God’s words to others. Let us announce his words in every way we can but also competently and effectively. Yes, let us pray and support all those who are primarily
entrusted with the proclamation of God’s word especially our Pope, all
the bishops, priests, religious and missionaries. But let us also do our part in growing in the knowledge of the Bible and make God’s word the center of our families and the source of our relationships. Do our families read, study, pray, live, share, and celebrate God’s word?
Finally, the transforming power of God’s word should not only be seen in one’s personal conversion. It confronts not only the evil deep within us but also the ‘demons’ in our society and the
world. We are not only to announce the Good News of the reign of God but also denounce what is evil around us. If one of the missions of Jesus was to cast out unclean spirits, let us also exorcise the
evil of corruption, violence and injustice in our society and the world. The problem with us Catholics is that we express our faith with so much external ritualisms and forget that the goal of
our faith in God’s word is to transform our lives and the evil reality around us.
as published on January 30, 2012, Parish Bulletin
About Fr. Greg and a few of his Reflections