Mt 4: 12-23 (http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/012620.cfm)
Celebrate, Study and Share these Dangerous Words!
Among the great gifts that the many branches of the Christian family have in common are the Bible and the deep belief that God speaks to the people through its inspired words. Of course, there are many views, arguments and deeply-held disagreements on translation, interpretation and understanding of these very significant ancient texts.
Within the Catholic tradition, as we know too well, we kept the Bible fairly much under wraps, letting it out in small portions and under caution, as though in the wrong hands it was dangerous material! We can draw a parallel with how government regulates the carrying of explosives, requiring that drivers and others involved in the carriage of dangerous goods by road, be adequately trained and, in the case of drivers, “hold certificates of such training”!
In recent decades efforts have been made and much encouragement given to having more open access to this power-filled source of nourishment and guidance for life, for example in Lectio Divina. But overcoming some of the ingrained attitudes to the Bible, developed over centuries, would require much energy and determination.
Pope Francis’ declaration that the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time “is to be devoted to the celebration, study and dissemination of the Word of God” is another historic step in the right direction. Francis wisely suggests that “A day devoted to the Bible should not be seen as an annual event but rather a year-long event, for we urgently need to grow in our knowledge and love of the Scriptures and of the risen Lord, who continues to speak his word and to break bread in the community of believers.”
It is also significant that this dedicated Sunday coincides with the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. We can echo the words of Isaiah that the people who walked in darkness “have seen a great light; on those in deep shadow a light has shone (First Reading).
Let us rejoice in the unending richness of our “dangerous” scriptures, taking time daily to let them speak to us. Also let us be enthusiastic in assisting others in discovering their rich and life-giving bounty.