The Word of God, in our Words
The Mass is a single act of worship but consists of two primary parts. The first part is known as the Liturgy of the Word. The second part is called the Liturgy of the Eucharist. These two parts make up one whole act of worship of God. Simply put, first God tells us that He loves us, then He shows us. We open the Bible to hear God’s words of love.
Now, the Bible is not a single book. It is instead a portable library of 73 books written over a span of nearly 3000 years. They are written in many different genre – history, prophecy, poetry, wisdom. We believe that these various books are inspired by God. Now, this does not mean that God dictated and human beings scribbled God’s ideas word for word. Instead, the Second Vatican Council says:
“To compose the sacred books, God chose certain men who, all the while he employed them in this task, made full use of their own faculties and powers so that, though he acted in them and by them, it was as true authors that they consigned to writing whatever he wanted written, and no more.” (DV 11)
So each book has two authors, a human being and God Himself. The human scribe wrote using his skill, knowledge and vocabulary, and yet God also worked through him to say what He wanted said and nothing else.
Story time with the Father
“In the sacred books the Father who is in heaven comes lovingly to meet his children, and talks with them.” (DV 21)
What is the Bible about? It is a non-fiction drama about the romance between God and Man. It tells us that we were created by God and made to be happy, but instead we chose sin. It then unfolds the history of God’s conversation with human beings. It shows us how He called Noah to save a few human beings and all the animals from a great flood. It tells us about Abraham and his descendents who became the people of Israel. It tells us of great prophets who heard God’s call, and great sinners who rejected it. The Bible is God’s story, but it is also our story. It shows us who we are as human beings and what we are capable of. But also, we believe, through the power of the Holy Spirit it continues to speak to us today. Have you ever sat in church and thought, “That reading must have been meant for me!” It was. Each lector becomes a spokesperson for God himself, telling us what God wants us to hear. This is our story that is unfolded each Sunday at Mass.
Today’s Readings: 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A
United States Catholic Catechism for Adults (USCCA) Chapter 2
Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), paragraphs 101-141
DV = Dei Verbum, The Dogmatic Constitution on the Divine Revelation