Tag Archives: scripture

In God’s image we are made

“The image of God is not depicted on gold but is imaged in humanity. The coin of Caesar is gold; that of God, humanity. Caesar is seen in his currency; God, however, is known through human beings. And so give your wealth to Caesar but reserve for God the sole innocence of your conscience, where God is beheld.”

This reflection for the 29th Sunday of Church year from an unknown 5th century author names a key in our spiritual life: our humanity, not temporal items. God reveals Himself in the body, not in gold, real estate or academic degrees. Whom do we seek to know: God or things?

Sacred Scripture as historical texts reveals Christ Jesus

The 20th and 21st centuries have seen Catholics draw closer to the Bible, the revealed Word of God. During the pontificate of Benedict XVI there was almost an explosion of emphasis on Scripture study, a resurgence of biblical preaching, a serious consideration of what it means to be an evangelical Catholic and lectio divina. In my opinion, it was Benedict XVI who gave critical attention to the sacred Scriptures in the calling of the Synod of Bishops on the Word of God coupled with the concretizing the Church’s programatic direction with the publication of Verbum Domini (2010).

Rome Reports gives a spotlight on a recent initiative of the American Bible Society‘s “The Bible and the World.”

This initiative of the ABS is yet another great example of the place we Catholics need to have for the daily praying with God’s word, and the study of the historical text. As the preparatory commission for the Synod of Bishops on the Word of God stated about the complexity and beauty of the sacred text viz. our salvation in Christ Jesus,

Pastorally speaking, this truth requires an understanding on how to gather, in an analogous way, the various meanings of the Word of God in the faith of the Church, as seen in the Bible. In the Scriptures, Jesus Christ is shown to be the Eternal Word of God, which shines forth in creation, is given a historical character in the message of the prophets, is fully manifested in the Person of Jesus, is echoed in the voice of the apostles and is proclaimed in the Church today. In a general sense, the Word of God is Christ-the-Word, who, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is the key to all interpretation. “The Word of God, who was in the beginning with God, is not, in his fullness, much talk or a multiplicity of words; but a single Word, which embraces a great number of ideas (theoremata), each of which is a part of the Word in its entirety… and if Christ refers us to the Scriptures in testifying to himself, it is not to one book that he sends us to the exclusion of another, but to all, because all speak of him.”Thus, continuity can be seen in diversity.

Fr. Harrington Receives Heartfelt Tributes

Daniel Harrington SJOne of my former professors of Scripture is battling cancer.  Please offer a prayer for him. Jesuit Father Daniel Harrington was honored for his tremendous work in sacred Scripture. His notes and wisdom are still fresh in my mind. He is in his final year of teaching; this coming semester he is scheduled to teach three courses. Father Harrington’s many years of teaching, writing and research is a testament to the hard work of faith and reason that we ardently need.

The Harvard educated Jesuit priest served as editor of New Testament Abstracts since 1972; edited the eighteen-volume Sacra Pagina series of New Testament Commentaries (Liturgical Press) and wrote “The Word “ column for America magazine for three years. His bibliography, however,  is more extensive. Not long ago Harrington and Christopher R. Matthews published Encountering Jesus in the Scriptures (Paulist Press, 2013), a collection of scholarly essays exploring who Jesus was in the first century—and what he means for us today. Putting biblical theology to work for the people of God in the Archdiocese of Boston, Harrington has been on the staff at St. Agnes Church in Arlington and at St. Peter’s in Cambridge.

Father Harrington remarked,

“It has been my privilege as a member of the Society of Jesus for more than 50 years to immerse myself in the study of the Bible — the ancient languages, the forms of expression, the culture settings and the theological significance.”

“The old saying ‘If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life’ certainly applies to me. It’s all been a joy.”

Read about the event here.

Bible study resources

Bible study Catholics is no longer optional. Everything, and I mean everything in the Church, must be dependent on sacred Scripture, even the Magisterium. I came across this quote from Bishop Christopher Butler, OSB, which may be a bit cheeky, but to my mind it shows the degree of seriousness that we ought to think in biblical terms, “It is all very well for us to say and believe that the Magisterium is subject to holy Scripture. But is there anybody who is in a position to tell the Magisterium: ‘Look, you are not practicing your subjection to Scripture in your teaching’?” (in JJ Miller, ed., Vatican II: An Interfaith Appraisal, 1966). Indeed, we all need to be subject to Revelation.

We need to keep on top of our study and love of God’s revealed word: the study of Scripture is a non-negotiable for Catholics if they think they are going to be saved on the Last Day. Pope Benedict spoke of lectio divina as the springtime of the Church and organizations like the American Bible Society have spent lots of time and money trying to help Christians, including Catholics, to the biblical narrative of redemption.

Here are some bible resources:

Pope Pius XII, Divino Afflante Spiritu

Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum)

The Letter of Saint Athanasius on the Interpretation of the Psalms

Scott Hahn, Covenant and Communion: The Biblical Theology of Pope Benedict XVI (Baker Brazos Press, 2009).

Scott Hahn, Consuming the Word: The New Testament and The Eucharist in the Early Church (Image, 2013)

Richard John Neuhaus, ed., Biblical Interpretation in Crisis: The Ratzinger Conference on Bible and the Church, (Eerdmans, 1989).

Some other things to have on your shelf, virtual or otherwise:

Understanding the the readings of the Liturgy (scroll down on the calendar to the month and day and click on the link)

Scott Hahn’s website, the Saint Paul Center for Biblical Theology

Scott Hahn also has a great short summary of the Sunday readings that you can get sent free via e-mail once a week

Saint Jerome

Today we liturgically remember Saint Jerome (340-420). Because the sacred Liturgy is our first theology, let me quote the opening collect prayed at Mass:

O God, who gave the Priest Saint Jerome a living and tender love for Sacred Scripture, grant that your people may be ever more fruitfully nourished by your Word and find in it the fount of life.

And from the Communion collect:

…stir up the hearts of your faithful so that, attentive to sacred teachings, they may understand the the path they are to follow and, by following it, obtain life everlasting.

The controlling ideas the Church wants us to focus on are namely, that we have a living and tender love for Scripture with the hope that we would be nourished by it and find in Scripture a source of life. Likewise, our understanding this path we may enter into heaven. Christians: we are to walk toward the light of everlasting life. Indeed. Jerome is one of our guides in our study of Scripture.

Jerome was born in Dalmatia (present day Croatia). Having studied in Rome and he was baptized there before being ordained a priest in the Eastern part of the Roman Empire. Recognizing his giftedness, Pope Damasus called Jerome to Rome to serve as his secretary; following the death Damasus, Jerome went East again, that is, Bethlehem, where he was active in building projects: a monastery, a hospice, and a school. His intellectual gifts were set on translating the Bible into the vernacular Latin. We still us Jerome’s biblical translation (with some revisions) today. His letters and commentaries on Holy Scripture still give insight. He is honored with being a Doctor of the Church.

And, likely his most famous line is noted in today’s Office of Readings from Jerome’s prologue of the commentary on Isaiah:

I interpret as I should, following the command of Christ: Search the Scriptures, and Seek and you shall find. Christ will not say to me what he said to [others]: “You erred, not knowing the Scriptures and not knowing the power of God.” For if, as Paul says, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, and if the man who does not know Scripture does not know the power and wisdom of Gods, then ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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