So Wednesday night cell group got good tonight!
[I am Catholic, and I am part of a group of fellow Catholic, early-20-somethings who get together once a week to prayer, chat, discuss theology, spirituality, etc]
Tonight we were discussing last Sunday’s Gospel, specifically Matthew 22:39 “The second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”
Simple? Sigh, with us it never is…
My one friend quoted some-important-person-or-other, “The most Holy thing in the world is the Eucharist, the second is the person sitting next to you in the pew.”
Now, typical me, I take this and turn it completely upside down and squiggle it around….
I said I agreed with the statement, but I maintain that there are TWO most important things in this world, that they are on “par” Holiness so to speak. And I feel, that Scripture places joint 1st place with Holy Eucharist.
Now, unfortunately, us Catholics tend to underestimate the importance of Sacred Scripture, we are so against the Protestant views of Sola Scruptura (by scripture alone, come on peeps, brush up on your latin :P) that we veer the complete opposite way and rely completely on Tradition and run away from the Word of God.
I know that is a sweeping statement, and does not apply to ALL Catholics, but unfortunately it applies to many Catholics I know :(
Now, back to my
argument em, um, i mean debate… As far as I understand it, The Holy Eucharist is Jesus, The Incarnate Word of God. And, as Scripture is the Written Word of God and as we understand it, basically Jesus.
I never fully “got” this until I got my new Bible (Life Teen’s Catholic Teen Bible) and read the preface.
I mean, in the Catechism, paragraph 108 it says: Still, the Christian faith is not a “religion of the book.” Christianity is the religion of the “Word” of God, a word which is “not a written and mute word, but the Word which is incarnate and living”. If the Scriptures are not to remain a dead letter, Christ, the eternal Word of the living God, must, through the Holy Spirit, “open [our] minds to understand the Scriptures.”
In John 1: 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
K… to some up - Jesus is the Incarnate Word of God. Scripture is the Written Word of God. I believe that the Holy Eucharist AND Sacred Scripture are the most Holy things on this earth.
Sigh… maybe we shouldn’t be “ranking” things’ Holiness? I dunno… My one friend just wasn’t “getting” it… i dunno, am I wrong? sigh.
I really want your opinions! What do you think?
So I’m currently moving into a new bible. And it’s a mission, feel like I’m moving house. Anyways, it was a hard decision, but it’s a better translation and has way more resourses, info etc. It’s the Catholic Teen Bible by Life Teen and it’s awesome, Mark Hart write a bunch of stuff, it awesome…
Anyway - I opened it up and read the preface articles it has and it’s amazing… just blows me away - so I typed it up, prob broke a million copyright rules and decided to share it. It’s too good not to - so please, pass it on.
There it sits. Old. no - make that ancient. It’s big. It’s almost threatening. And it’s staring straight at you. It’s almost daring you to touch it. With a knot in your chest and a lump in your throat you reach for it. It is heavier than you expected. With a grunt you pull it down, blow off the dust and read: The Holy Bible. It’s a book older than old… mysterious, confusing, intimidating, even boring in the eyes of many. And while this particular Bible you’re holding is new and the design is modern, the truths are ancient; the truths you hold in your hands, a centuries-old book that countless have died to protect and defend, so the question must be asked, “What are you doing with the Word of God?”
It truly is remarkable that the written word of God is now in your hands. It is something we often take for granted. The Bible has been translated into every known language on the planet. Most Christian homes have at least one in them. Almost every major bookstore sells Bibles. You’ll find them in Catholic schools and in most religious education classrooms and youth rooms. You can’t even get away from them when you take a trip cross-country, there will probably be one in your hotel room nightstand, just waiting for you.
Most of you are probably holding this because, whether you realise it or not, you’re looking for answers. Maybe you’re looking for meaning in life. Maybe your youth group is using them for study. Maybe it was given to you as a Confirmation gift and you want to read the inscription. Or maybe you noticed it on the shelf, were moved to open it and here you are…searching for something. For whatever the reason, the good news is that there is a lot of grace happening right now. Don’t underestimate the power pr importance of this moment. God is doing something very special in your life. Make no mistake, you might not be able to “feel it,” but it’s true.
“THE WORD OF GOD IS NOT A THING. IT’S A PERSON.’
The very fact that you have picked up this Bible and are preparing to read it means that God is having a powerful effect on your life. He is moving. God is active. You may not sense it – but trust us: you are receiving a lot of grace right now.
Why is that? Well, the answer is quite simple: The Word of God is holy. And whenever we come in contact with something that is holy, we can’t help but be affected by it. Now, you might be wondering how a book, a bunch of inked-up paper bound together with glue, string and a cover can affect you on such a profound level. The answer is simple: the Word of God is not just a book. The Word of God is not just letters on a page. It is much more than that.
The Word of God is not a thing. It’s alive. That’s right the Word of God is much more than this Bible, it’s not merely an object. The Word of God is not dead or lifeless; the Word of God is fundamentally incarnate and living (CCC 108). The reason for this is simple: The Word of God is nothing less than Jesus Himself. “Incarnation” is a big, sometimes confusing word, but it is also a very holy word. “Incarnation” means Jesus coming down to earth from heaven and becoming man. Because Jesus came looking for us, we can now encounter God in the most personal of ways. Because He walked with us, we can now walk with Him. Because He came known to our level, we can now rise to His.
Before we go any further, you need to understand this is one foundational fact – The Word of God is a person: Jesus Christ, the Eternal Son of God (John 1:1-4)
Now what you hold in your hand is the written Word of God, the Holy Bible, inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Saviour who loves you more than you’ll ever know is the incarnate Word of God, Jesus Christ. Inspiration and Incarnation, the two go together. We need one in order to understand – and meet – the other.
The Bible introduces us to the real Jesus, the authentic Jesus – the divine person who was simultaneously true God and true man – not the Jesus people make up in their heads or the Jesus portrayed in the movies.
You see, God’s speech is different than ours. We humans do several things when we want to speak. First, we think of the words we want to say, and then we take a deep breath, open our mouths, exhale and formulate sounds. These sounds have meaning. The sounds carry the meaning to the ears of our listeners.
God’s method of communication is infinitely greater than ours. Let’s compare the two. First, unlike us, He never has to think of what He wants to say. He is the truth which He speaks. When He speaks, He breaths His Word not with just any breath but with the holiest of breaths: the Holy Spirit. Finally, unlike our words, God’s Words is not merely a noise or sounds that eventually fade; His Word is an actual person: His Eternal Son. In other words (no pun intended), His Word is real in a way ours will never be, His Word will never fade (John 1:1)
God’s Word is Jesus, and He will always exist.
That’s why this book in your hands is so sacred. That’s why you are so grace and why God is doing something very special in your life at this very moment. You are about to have a holy encounter with the Eternal Word of God. God so loved the world that He gave His Eternal Son – the Word Incarnate – to us 2,000 years ago (John 3:16). He continued to love us so much that He inspired – breathed His holy breath (2 Timothy 3:16) – through the human writers of Scripture (people like the prophet Isaiah and St Paul) so that they would be able to communicate in human words the saving truth and love of the Eternal Word, Jesus.
The Bible is the written Word of God; it cannot be separated from the Incarnate Word of God. The Bible and Jesus go together. We need one in order to understand – and, ultimately, to meet – the other.