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(Part 111)


November 21, 2014

Today’s readings:
Revelation 10:8-11
Psalm 119:14-131
Luke 19:45-48

The word of God, the Bible, is crucial to the Christian life. Unfortunately, most lay Catholics do not know the Bible. How can they truly live Christian lives if they do not know the written word of God? As St. Jerome says, ignorance of the scriptures is ignorance of Christ.

Psalm 119 is all about God’s instruction, variedly translated in English as law, statute, commandment, precept, testimony, word, judgment, way and promise. God gives instruction on how we are to live. God’s instruction is indispensable. Here is a sampling from the psalm on how God’s word helps us in our Christian walk.

  • It shows us the way to live and be blessed. “Blessed those whose way is blameless, who walk by the law of the Lord.” (Ps 119:1)
  • It guides us in raising our children. “How can the young keep his way without fault? Only by observing your words.” (Ps 119:9).
  • It gives us great joy in life. “I find joy in the way of your testimonies more than in all riches.” (Ps 119:14).
  • It guides us wherever we are, whatever situation we are in. “I am a sojourner in the land; do not hide your commandments from me.” (Ps 119:19). “Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors.” (Ps 119:24).
  • It frees us from disgrace and contempt. “Free me from disgrace and contempt, for I keep your testimonies.” (Ps 119:22).
  • It lifts us up from depression. “My soul is depressed; lift me up according to your word.” (Ps 119:28).
  • It makes us more loving, generous, self-giving. “I will run the way of your commandments, for you will broaden my heart.” (Ps 119:32).
  • It tells us what is of true value in life. “Avert my eyes from what is worthless; by your way give me life.” (Ps 119:37).
  • It gives us hope. “Do not take the word of truth from my mouth, for in your judgments is my hope.” (Ps 119:43).
  • It emboldens us to witness. “I will speak openly of your testimonies without fear even before kings.” (Ps 119:46).
  • It comforts us in affliction. “This is my comfort in affliction, your promise that gives me life.” (Ps 119:50).
  • It leads us to self-examination and repentance. “I have examined my ways and turned my steps to your testimonies.” (Ps 119:59).
  • It gives us wisdom and knowledge. “Teach me wisdom and knowledge, for in your commandments I trust.” (Ps 119:66).
  • It makes us appreciate the cross and to persevere in suffering. “It was good for me to be afflicted, in order to learn your statutes.” (Ps 119:71). “I know, Lord, that your judgments are righteous; though you afflict me, you are faithful.” (Ps 119:75).
  • It keeps our eyes focused on salvation and our eternal reward. “My soul longs for your salvation; I put my hope in your word.” (Ps 119:81).
  • It guides our path. “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.” (Ps 119:105).
  • It keeps us from evil. “Depart from me, you wicked, that I may keep the commandments of my God.” (Ps 119:115).
  • It helps us get through distress and anguish. “Though distress and anguish come upon me, your commandments are my delight.” (Ps 119:143).
  • It gives us peace. “Lovers of your law have much peace; for them there is no stumbling block.” (Ps 119:165).
  • It brings up back whenever we stray. “I have wandered like a lost sheep; seek out your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.” (Ps 119:176).

What then should our posture be toward the Bible and God’s law? “How I love your law, Lord! I study it all day long.” (Ps 119:97). One way the Lord has given us to get into the Bible is the Liturgical Bible Study (LBS). One of our pillars in LCSC is the promotion of this Bible methodology so that lay Catholics would indeed read, meditate on and study the Bible.

The Hebrew scriptures were written on scrolls. John talked about the small scroll, which when swallowed was both sweet as honey but also sour (Rv 10:9). It was sweet because it pointed to the salvation and final victory of God’s people; it was sour because it also pointed to sufferings on the road to that final victory. The Bible is all about salvation and our final victory, but it also is about suffering and pain, in the lives of God’s people, but most especially for Jesus himself, who suffered on the cross. The word of God is able to see us through the trials of life, until we come to that place were there is no more pain or tears.

In our earthly walk, prodded by the word of God, we go forth to proclaim the good news throughout the world. “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues and kings.” (Rv 10:11). It will be a very big challenge. We need to be sustained and encouraged by God’s word.

May it happen that one day, empowered by the Spirit of God, sustained by the Bible, doing a massive work of proclaiming Christ and the gospel, we might be used by God to reach many and help bring them to salvation, as “all the people were hanging on his words.” (Lk 19:48b).

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