Tag Archives: scripture

Catholics don’t celebrate Jewish holy days, why?

Not long ago a friend asked me why Catholics don’t celebrate
the Jewish holy days. Good question.

A response to the question as to why we
don’t celebrate the Jewish holy days would be along these lines: the Paschal
Triduum is the Christian Passover, the true Pasch. Even the Greek and Latin
name for Easter tells us that (as also the derivation of the name for Easter in
Spanish, French, Italian from the same root).

In one sense, Jesus’ teaching was
in continuity with Judaism (Mt 5.17: “Think not that I have come to abolish
the Law”); but he also in Matthew 5 puts himself forward as a higher Lawgiver
than Moses (“you have heard it said, but I tell you…”). I suggest
reading Rabbi Jacob Neusner’s book, A Rabbi Talks with Jesus, which makes this
point very clear. The Pope himself said in Jesus of Nazareth that Neusner’s book is
an excellent example of honest and reasoned argument between a believing Jew
and the Jesus of the gospels.

Read more ...

Live the Word of God in Challenging Time: a bible summit

NY biblical conference 2010.gifExploring the Word of God is an ongoing work for all Christians. Catholics have a good opportunity on June 26 to do some work on last Synod of Bishops on the Word of God. It is a good, necessary and beautiful thing to spend time with God as He’s revealed in sacred Scripture.

The Synod of Bishops on the Word of God (the Bible) was –and continues to be– a monumental point in our faith lives and in our life as a Church because we believe that God doesn’t abandon His vineyard. It is through prayerful reading and study of Scripture, lectio divina and intelligent conversation that we “become one with Christ and walk together behind him,” Pope Benedict said.

Many of the speakers are OK (some are eminently miss-able) but it would be worth the effort to attend Mass at the Church of St Paul the Apostle and to hear the homily to be given by the Honduran archbishop (who speaks perfect English), Oscar Cardinal Rodriquez Maradiaga. (The cardinal is a reasonable candidate for the papacy from Latin America!)  But THE speaker that you need to listen to is Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete.

More info and registration info found here.

Scripture is the audible sacrament

Just returning from Rome where I spent 8 days making a personal retreat of sorts that included time in prayer with the monks at Sant’Anselmo, I could not divorce the experience of hearing the Word of God proclaimed frequently throughout the day. Truly, it was a renewing experience of keeping God in front of me. And how else does one live as a follower of Christ but to keep His word and sacrament in front of the self?

The reality of Scripture and the Liturgy is a Benedictine experience, that is, a Catholic view of reality that does not separate faith from reason, Scripture from experience, worship from study and leisure. Scripture is so very much a part of our lives as Catholics that we often overlook its importance in our worship and formation as adopted sons and daughters of God through Jesus Christ. The Church from the very beginning proclaims and lives the sacred Scriptures because they document the covenantal relationship with God the Father. We know this fact through our sacred Liturgy: Lauds, Vespers, the Sacrifice of the Mass and our personal prayer offered each and every day. While some may not be able to pray Lauds, Vespers and Mass daily, prayers such as the Rosary, the Angelus and lectio divina provide ample grist for the heart’s mill helping us to seek God’s face. In Hebrews 4 we are reminded of the Word that created the cosmos and daily recreates us and this latter point is what we believe the sacraments to do: recreate us in God’s own image and likeness.
Augustine of Hippo spoke of the sacraments being a “visible word” we also know the sacred Scripture to be the audible sacrament. “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”

Being deeply transformed by the Word of God: more on Lectio Divina

Renewed interest in lectio divina has given many people the opportunity to know Christ better. Our attention to this timeless prayer of the heart has been captured in a variety of publications such as by Trappist Father Michael Casey, Trappist Father Charles Dumont, Benedictine Archbishop Mariano Magrassi, Catholic biblical scholars Stephen Binz and Scott Hahn, to name just a few. In the last 2 years the archbishop of Toronto, Thomas Collins, has done the yeoman’s work in getting his flock to dig deeply in the Word.

Vatican 2’s document, Dei Verbum, iterated: “All…should immerse themselves in the scriptures by constant spiritual reading and diligent study … in order to learn ‘the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ’ by frequent reading of the divine scriptures. ‘Ignorance of the scriptures is ignorance of Christ'” (25).
Last year’s Synod of Bishops on the Word of God spoke to the value of practicing lectio divina and the Pope has named this practice in many of talks on prayer and the spiritual life many occasions in an effort lead us closer to Christ through Revelation.
Follow Archbishop Collins’ Lectio Divina.pdf. It’s brief.
Dare to try!!!!

100 years of the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome

Biblicum.jpgHere’s Benedict XVI’s October 26, 2009 address to the professors,
students and staff of the
Pontifical Biblical Institute, on the centenary of
its foundation. Carefully note the key points the Pope raises for the authentic study of Scripture as Catholics!

Cardinals, Most Reverend Superior-General of the Society of
Jesus, Illustrious Rector, Illustrious Professors and Beloved Students of the Pontifical
Biblical Institute

I am delighted to meet with you on the occasion of the
100th anniversary of the foundation of your Institute, desired by my holy predecessor
Pius X, in order to establish in the city of Rome a center of specialized
studies on sacred Scripture and related disciplines.

I greet with deference
Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, whom I thank for the courteous words he addressed
to me on your behalf. I likewise greet the superior-general, Father Adolfo
Nicolás Pachón, and I am happy to take the opportunity given to me to express
my sincere gratitude to the Society of Jesus, which, not without notable
effort, deploys financial investments and human resources in the management of
the faculty of the Ancient East, the Biblical faculty here in Rome, and the
headquarters of the Institute in Jerusalem.

I greet the rector and professors,
who have consecrated their life to study and inquiry in constant listening to
the Word of God. I greet and thank the staff, employees and workers for their
appreciated collaboration, as also the benefactors who have made available and
continue to make available the necessary resources for maintaining the
structures and activities of the Pontifical Biblical Institute. I greet the
former students united spiritually to us at this moment, and I greet you
especially, beloved students, who come from every part of the world.

hundred years have gone by since the birth of the Pontifical Biblical
Institute. In the course of this century, it has certainly increased interest
in the Bible and, thanks to Vatican Council II, especially the dogmatic
constitution Dei Verbum — of whose elaboration I was a direct
witness, participating as theologian in the discussions that preceded its
approval — there is much greater awareness of the importance of the Word of
God in the life and mission of the Church.

This has fostered in Christian
communities a genuine spiritual and pastoral renewal, which above all has
affected preaching, catechesis, the study of theology and ecumenical dialogue
Your Pontifical Institute has made its own significant contribution to this
renewal with scientific biblical research, the teaching of biblical disciplines
and the publication of qualified studies and specialized journals
. In the
course of the decades several generations of illustrious professors have
succeeded one another — I would like to remember, among others, Cardinal Bea
— who formed more


 than 7,000 professors of sacred Scripture and promoters of
biblical groups, as also many experts now present in an array of ecclesiastical
services, in every region of the world.

Let us thank the Lord for this activity
of yours that is dedicated to interpreting the biblical texts in the spirit in
which they were written (cfr Dei Verbum, 12), and that opens to dialogue with
the other disciplines, and with many cultures and religions
. Although it has
known moments of difficulty, it has continued in constant fidelity to the
magisterium according to the objectives themselves of your institute, which
arose in fact “ut in Urbe Roma altiorum studiorum ad Libros sacros
pertinentium habeatur centrum, quod efficaciore, quo liceat, modo doctrinam
biblicam et studia omnia eidem adiuncta, sensu Ecclesiae catholicae
promoveat” (Pius PP. X, Litt. Ap. Vinea electa (May 7, 1909): AAS 1
(1909), 447-448).

Dear friends, the celebration of the centenary is an end, and
at the same time a point of reference. Enriched by the experience of the past,
continue on your way with renewed determination, aware of the service to the
Church required of you, to bring the Bible closer to the life of the People of
God, so that it will be able to address
in an adequate way the unheard of
challenges that modern times pose to the new evangelization
. It is the common
desire that sacred Scripture become in this secularized world, not only the
soul of theology, but also the source of spirituality and vigor of the faith of
all believers in Christ

May the Pontifical Biblical Institute continue,
therefore, growing as a high quality ecclesial center of study in the realm of
biblical research, making use of modern methodologies and in collaboration with
specialists in dogmatic theology and in other theological areas
; may it ensure
a careful formation in sacred Scripture to future priests so that, making use
of the biblical languages and of the various exegetical methodologies, they
will be able to have direct access to biblical texts. In this regard, the
already mentioned dogmatic constitution Dei Verbum has stressed the legitimacy
and necessity of the historical-critical method
, reducing it to three essential
elements: attention to literary genres; study of the historical context;
examination of what is usually called
Sitz im Leben. The conciliar document
maintains firm at the same time the theological character of exegesis,
indicating the strong points of the theological method in the interpretation of
the text. This is so because the foundation on which theological understanding
of the Bible rests is the unity of Scripture
, and this assumption corresponds,
as methodological way, to the analogy of the faith, that is, to the
understanding of the individual texts from the whole.

The conciliar text adds a
further methodological indication. Scripture being only one thing starting from
the one People of God, which has been its bearer throughout history,
consequently to read Scripture as a unit means to read it from the Church as
from its vital place, and to regard the faith of the Church as the real key to
. If exegesis also wishes to be theology, it must acknowledge
that the faith of the Church is that form of “sim-patia” without
which the Bible remains as a sealed book: Tradition does not close access to
, but rather opens it; on the other hand, the decisive word in the
interpretation of Scripture corresponds to the Church, in her institutional
organizations. It is the Church, in fact, which has been entrusted with the
task of interpreting authentically the Word of God written and transmitted,
exercising her authority in the name of Jesus Christ (cfr Dei Verbum, 10).

brothers and sisters, while thanking you for your pleasant visit, I encourage
you to continue your ecclesial service, in constant adherence to the
magisterium of the Church and assure each one of you the support of prayer,
imparting to you from my heart, as pledge of divine favors, the apostolic

Here’s the Rector’s PIB Centenary.pdf for the 100 years’ observance and the video clip of the papal audience.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT, follows the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, and is an Oblate of Saint Benedict, works as a monastery farmer and a keeper of honey bees. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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