Reading the Bible from the Heart of the Church
In 2019, Pope Francis made the 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time the “Word of God” Sunday. It is an opportunity to think more about the place of God’s word in our faith journey. Many of us have a desire to know more about the Scriptures. When we open the pages of the Bible, somehow, we sense that we are connecting with God in the Church. Despite limited proficiency in interpreting the Bible, we are not lost because we do not read the Bible in isolation, but within the communion of the Church: what we learn from weekly homilies, catechism classes, Christian hymns, Bible study, faith formation, fellow Catholics and Christian friends coming together to help us understand what we read in the Bible, though of course some passages remain difficult to understand.
With the advent of social media, however, we have been exposed to a wider source of information. We may have encountered conflicting interpretations of the Bible coming from non-Catholic or even anti-Catholic sources. These can only spur us to learn even more about our Catholic faith so that we can give a reasonable explanation of our faith (cf. 1Peter 3:15).
This year’s theme reminds us that we need to learn to read the Bible from the heart of the Church. That means three things: 1. reading the Bible with reverence and trust, not with suspicion; 2. interpreting what we read in the Bible according to the time-tested understanding of the Church’s Sacred Tradition as expressed in the Liturgy, the Church Fathers, the Doctors of the Church and the Saints, and distilled in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC); and 3. learning from the Bible as disciples of Jesus Christ, sincerely trying to learn from the Master.
Ultimately, reading the Bible is supposed to help us encounter Jesus Christ, the living Word of God. Such an encounter can be likened to a thirsty person who finds an abundant spring of water. Every time one is thirsty, one can drink as much as one can take in, but there is plenty of water that remains; and this is a good thing for which one should be grateful. If the spring were depleted, there would be no more water to quench subsequent thirst.
Adapted from the Archdiocese of Singapore