“’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).’” (Pope Francis – Apostolic Letter APERUIT ILLIS)
“The relationship between the Risen Lord, the community of believers and sacred Scripture is essential to our identity as Christians. Without the Lord who opens our minds to them, it is impossible to understand the Scriptures in depth. Yet the contrary is equally true: without the Scriptures, the events of the mission of Jesus and of his Church in this world would remain incomprehensible. Hence, Saint Jerome could rightly claim: “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ” (Pope Francis – Apostolic Letter APERUIT ILLIS)
Pope Francis has set aside the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time as “a Sunday given over entirely to the word of God, so as to appreciate the inexhaustible riches contained in that constant dialogue between the Lord and his people. Devoting a specific Sunday of the liturgical year to the word of God can enable the Church to experience anew how the risen Lord opens up for us the treasury of his word and enables us to proclaim its unfathomable riches before the world. Here, we are reminded of the teaching of Saint Ephrem: ‘Who is able to understand, Lord, all the richness of even one of your words? There is more that eludes us than what we can understand. We are like the thirsty drinking from a fountain. Your word has as many aspects as the perspectives of those who study it. The Lord has colored his word with diverse beauties, so that those who study it can contemplate what stirs them. He has hidden in his word all treasures, so that each of us may find a richness in what he or she contemplates’”. (Pope Francis – Apostolic Letter APERUIT ILLIS).
Friends, the Word of God is like a double edged sword. It pierces our hearts with the truth of Divine Revelation. Sometimes, it can be difficult to understand the Word of God. This is why Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us wisdom and understanding. Sometimes when I am having difficulty understanding a passage of Sacred Scripture, I say a prayer to the Holy Spirit and ask Him to help me understand.
I encourage you to take time daily in silence to read and reflect upon the Word of God. One option is reading the Daily Mass readings. Another option is to begin with one of the Gospels. The more we read and meditate on the Word, the more our hearts and minds become conformed to the heart and mind of Christ Jesus.
It is my prayer that as we move forward with our strategic missionary planning in preparation to be sent on mission as joyful missionary disciples, each one of us will develop a deeper love for Sacred Scriptures.
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Jim Lowe, CC