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God’s word guides us to eternal life

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (Lk 21,33)

We need to understand very well the significance of God’s word to us. It can mean the teachings of God as revealed to us by Christ and now handed down to us by the Church. We therefore should give it utmost attention

But it can also mean, first of all, as God himself who sent his Son, the very Word of God, to us, since in God there is actually no distinction between his being and his word, considering that he is absolute simplicity where there are no different parts or aspects in him.

Obviously, since God’s word comes to us in human form, it also is subject to the way we, humans, understand any word. We, for example, need to discern the meaning, the origin, the context, and the different conditionings God’s word was formed and transmitted to us. It has to come to us from a certain Christ-given authority, and we need to consider also the tradition that has accompanied its transmission through the ages, etc.

Most of all, God’s word has to be received and understood with faith. Only then will we realize that reading and meditating on the gospel, for example, is actually having a living encounter with God through Christ.

Thus, St. Jerome, a father of the Church, once said that to read the Scripture is to converse with God—“If you pray, you speak with the Spouse. If you read, it is he who speaks to you,” he said.

Only when we realize that God’s word is Christ himself and that reading it is like having an encounter with Christ can God’s word truly be as the Letter to the Hebrews described it: “Alive and active. Sharper than any double-edge sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (4,12)

Only then can God’s word handle any situation and predicament we can encounter in life, since God is everything to us and takes care of everything. Only then can it truly be fruitful as said in that parable of the sower and the seed. (cfr. Mt 13,1-23)

Of course, we have to be that good, rich soil referred to in that parable. Otherwise, no matter how powerfully effective God’s word is, if the reader of that word does not have the right condition, that word would have no effect. It would fail to produce fruit, “thirty, sixty and even a hundredfold,” as Christ assured us.

That means that we should handle the word of God with great faith and piety. We should not just treat it as if it is just some literary or historical or cultural reading. We have to realize that we are listening to Christ and that what we hear from him should be taken very seriously.

We have to be wary of the danger of being guided only by what Christ referred to as the “leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” (cfr. Mt 16,6) These are any teaching or ideology that certainly contains traces of truth but are not deep and complete enough to capture the whole reality that governs us not only as a human being but also as a child of God which is our original and ultimate dignity.

Only God’s word can guide us to our definitive eternal life!*

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November 2022
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