Friday, July 9, 2010

Announcing The Great Adventure!

Here is a copy of the article that I wrote for our parish bulletin this weekend. It's not a homily, but has homiletic aspects...

On the weekend of June 26th and 27th, I had the blessing of going with around 30 youth from our parish to the Steubenville South youth conference in Alexandria. It was a wonderful experience to see and discuss the faith of so many of our youth here at Our Lady of Mercy and to experience in a different way the power and love of God. In addition to the celebration of the Mass, hours of Eucharistic adoration, and the joyful praise music, we heard talks on the value of living a life of sexual purity, the love that God has for us, and the love that we are called to have for Him. I was struck by the fact that nearly every one of the speakers walked on stage with a Bible in one hand and the microphone in the other. As they spoke, they would reference scripture and break it open in a clear, understandable way. It was beautiful to see people so immersed in the story of our salvation and who had made it such a part of their lives.

I myself have often desired to have a deeper knowledge and intimacy with the Sacred Scriptures, and have made numerous commitments over the years to read the whole Bible. I failed each time for different reasons; I didn’t have a clear plan of how to order things, I got lost in the ‘this guy begot so-and-so, and so-and-so begot what’s-his-name…’ or simply because I lost the desire to continue on. I must confess that I’ve never read the Bible cover to cover and I question whether I ever will…and if I really should.

If you’ve been keeping up with the “From the Pastor” section, you will probably recall that we will be starting up a Bible study here at Our Lady of Mercy on Thursday evenings. It will begin at 7pm, starting on July 22, and will continue for 12 weeks. By way of exciting and enlightening videos and small-group discussions, the program helps us to get past those problems of having to form a plan, having to struggle with the dry parts of the scriptures, and even with the loss of desire to continue on.

So often we get caught up in trying to read the Bible from start to finish – cover to cover - but the problem is that they books themselves are not listed chronologically but are generally grouped according to genre and length, which can make it really confusing. Jeff Cavins, the creator of the program, shows us that they key to reading the Bible is to start with the basic story of the Jewish people. He selects certain texts in the Bible and orders them to clearly illustrate the story that we often only glimpse in pieces and parts on Sunday or during the week. Once the basic story is there, then we can easily begin to understand the place of every single book in the Bible and read it with a much greater depth and understanding of its own significance in the history of the Jews and it’s fulfillment in Christ. Not a single word of the Bible is unimportant because it is inspired by God and beneficial for our sanctification and salvation (2 Timothy 3:16-17). We are reminded of St. Jerome’s famous quote “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ,” which reminds us of the importance of reading and praying with the scriptures. I hope that you will come join with me in learning more about the story of our history, the beauty of Sacred Scripture, and about Jesus Himself.