Monday, October 17, 2016

Spirituality for Sunday People

Sunlight bursting from the Bible
Paul speaks to Timothy about the significance of the Word of God.  God breathes in the scriptures and inspires and empowers us, Paul writes, to live a life of discipleship with Jesus.

In the Bible we meet the living God in our quest for spiritual nourishment.

I propose that we nourish our life with God through the Sunday readings in the Liturgy of the Word.

In many ways, we are a Sunday people: gathering every Sunday in churches across the globe to give ourselves to God and receive God in return, to listen to God in the Liturgy of the Word and to presence the Risen Christ sacramentally in the Liturgy of the Eucharist, to become one with Him in Communion, and then sent forth to continue the saving work of Jesus Christ.

Let me propose a biblical spirituality.  God speaks with us through the inspired Word of God, the Bible, a privileged form of conversation between God and us, a two-way conversation.  That’s why we should be ever attentive to the Word of God, especially in the liturgy.  God authored the Bible in the sense that the Bible includes what God wants us to know about God, the universe and ourselves.

The human authors of the Bible employed the languages, images, literary genres, and worldviews they knew in their cultures to communicate religious truths, not scientific truths. The authors knew nothing about evolution, the solar system, galaxies and extraterrestrial life.

The Bible is not one book but a library of books written over 1500 years ago by at least 40 different authors: in prose and poetry, fiction and history, historical narratives and short stories, genealogies and sermons, parables and letters, songs and codes of law, blessings and curses, prophetic and proverbial sayings and apocalyptic visions. They are not always easily understandable.

Just as we interpret literary genres differently today, so too we have to interpret biblical literary genres differently.  The writers definitely were not communicating scientific truths.  We say, e. g., the sun rises/sets.  Actually the sun doesn’t rise or set.  So we first must know what kind of genre the writers were using.  Then we will be able to discover more easily the fundamental religious truth.
And the Bible often speaks symbolically as in, the parables of Jesus.

The two creation stories, for example, communicate religious truths:  God is our awesome Creator; everything God created is good; man and woman are made in the image of God; but they broke their friendship with God and often choose their worse over their better selves.  How did the biblical author communicate these religious truths?  Through the cultural images and traditions they knew.

When we read the Bible prayerfully, we read not to find answers to questions the authors never thought about, but to become the kind of person for our day that Jesus of Nazareth was for his day.

God speaks to us in the Liturgy of the Word and we listen; we speak to God and He listens. Is there a word or phrase God is whispering into our souls?  For me, that word today is perseverance; last Sunday it was gratitude.

Listen to God speaking to us in the Sunday Liturgy of the Word and may that Word transform us into the best version of ourselves so that we will indeed be channels of God's grace to one another.

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