A Call to Sacred Scripture
Our Lenten journey finds us in Holy Week with the Triduum nearly upon us. United as a Church we will spend these next days in thoughtful reflection while we wait for the joy that comes with celebrating Christ’s triumphant resurrection. We encourage you to join us on Holy Thursday at 7 p.m. for the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Friday we will pray the Stations of the Cross at 3 p.m., as well as the Passion of the Lord at 7 p.m. Easter Masses will begin with the Easter Vigil at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, followed by Sunday Easter Masses at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. We encourage you to join us.
If you’ve been following our Year of Discipleship articles, you’ll remember our focus on three areas of our faith journey: Scripture, Prayer and the Sacraments. This week we’ll talk about Scripture.
Have you ever thought you were born into the wrong generation? I’ve often thought I should have lived during a much simpler and less frenzied time. But here’s the thing: “You were born for such a time as this”. “I was born for such a time as this”. (Esther 4:14) When it comes to our Catholic Faith, “such a time as this” means God and the Catholic Church calling us to know – and to live – the words of Scripture. Pope Francis is calling you and I – along with the entire Church, to have an encounter with God, through Sacred Scripture in and outside of Mass. And speaking of Mass, did you know that from the moment we enter into the Church, blessing ourselves with the sign of the Cross we are actively engaging scripture? The Mass and the Bible are inseparable.
Over the past six weeks I’ve had the joy of working hand-in-hand with God to pass along the relevance and beauty of Scripture to the young women of our parish. We learned how God feels about us individually (Psalm 139 & Zephaniah 3:17); how we should choose our friends; (Proverbs 13:20); how to find our way in life (John 14:1-10) and more. Our time was a valuable reminder of the timeless and inextinguishable relevance of scripture in our lives today.
May we all embrace Pope Francis’s belief that “The words of scripture were not written to remain imprisoned on papyrus, parchment or paper, but to be received by a person who prays, making them blossom in his or her heart. The word of God goes to the heart. The word of God, infused with the Holy Spirit, when it is received with an open heart, does not leave things as they were before: never. Something changes. And this is the grace and strength of the Word of God”.
Being born “for such a time as this” means filling the God-shaped hole in each of us with Sacred Scripture, prayer and the Sacraments. If we dive right into the Bible we learn that our joy and hope come from scripture. “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope”. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope”. (Romans 15:4 & Romans 15:13)
Joy comes from a happiness found beyond ourselves and hope comes through Scripture. Author Lisa Brenninkmeyer asks: “What happened to all your joy?” Author Kaylene Brown asks: “What is keeping you from unshakeable joy?” Through Sacred Scripture, God asks: “What has become of the satisfaction you felt?” (Galatians 4:15)
Our joy and satisfaction are fleeting if based on our relationship with others or “things of this world”. Joy found in God does not go away. God has given us a spirit that longs for Him, and a promise of joy and hope to be found in His most Holy Word. For this reason, it’s important that we, as a faith community, build and embrace ways to read, study, meditate on and pray through Scripture, particularly during this Year of Discipleship.
I heard on the news that we just marked the 50th Anniversary of the first cell phone call. The beauty of technology in our “such a time as this” is the ease in which we can look up Sacred Scripture and the Catholic interpretation of that scripture. Learning the proper interpretation and context of scripture is easier now than ever before.
If you have not done so already, I would encourage you to look up Father Mike Schmitz and consider his engaging and wildly popular “Bible in a Year” series. Each day Fr. Mike reads and provides instruction on scripture, working through the Bible with his listeners in a year. His thoughtful presentation, authenticity and humor make each day engaging and enjoyable. Each day lasts approximately 20 – 25 minutes and you can begin at any time and at no cost. You can even listen to more than one day at once. For more information, please click here: https://ascensionpress.com/pages/biy-registration
Did you know that our website at www.ollparish.org has the daily reading of scripture for the entire liturgical year? In addition, the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) has a beautiful website on understanding the Bible, Bible basics, as well as ALL the books of the Bible online. This is a great resource for reading the Bible, when you don’t actually have a Bible with you at hand. To learn more, please click here: https://www.usccb.org/bible/understanding-the-bible
Fr. Leonardo will be leading us through a 10-week study on the Book of James beginning in early June, so watch for details in the coming weeks.
Our Walking With Purpose bible study is wrapping up a study on the Book of Hebrews and will begin studying the Book of Colossians after summer break. We encourage all women of the parish to join our studies.
That Man is You! (TMIY) meets weekly here at the parish and offers men an opportunity for fellowship, teachings of the Catholic faith, as well as Sacred Scripture. More information can be found on our website and if you reach out to the parish we would be happy to contact you with more information.
How would you, or your family like to explore Scripture during this Year of Discipleship? Would you like to study the biblical roots of the Mass? You can find a beautiful article on this by clicking here: https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/the-mass-is-profoundly-biblical Would you like to study and participate actively in Lectio Divina? Please take this opportunity to suggest how we might help you grow in the knowledge of scripture by commenting on this post or replying to me at [email protected].
I love knowing that God walks through my life in Sacred Scripture and I pray I will not miss Him when He does. As Pope Francis so beautifully said, “Everyday God passes and sows a seed in the soil of our lives. We do not know whether today He will find dry ground, brambles, or good soil that will make that seed grow.”