“so … everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.”

2 Timothy 3:17

Friday, 05 June 2020

2 Timothy 3:10–17; Psalm 119:157, 160–161, 165–166, 168; Mark 12:35–37

Today’s readings reminds us of the importance of Scripture.Our first reading today from the Second Letter of Paul to Timothy begins by listing nine elements involved in truly ‘following’ the Master. Timothy is not only Paul’s companion, but also his ‘beloved child’, his disciple who has followed him. Paul is trying to say who are the good teachers and who are the wicked ones, and Paul praises Timothy for learning from the ‘sacred writings’.Reading the Bible requires study and an attention to how it was translated. In 2 Tim 3:16 there are two ways to translate this verse since it does not have a verb in the original language. It can be translated as either: “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful.” or “All Scripture, inspired by God, is useful.” You can see, I hope, the difference in meaning, and the consequence it would have with regards to Scripture.In our Gospel Jesus is also breaking open the scriptures for his followers. He asks a question related to Psalm 110, where we read: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.” The crowd are delighted at how Jesus answered a perplexing question about who the Lord is in the sacred text.Sacred Scripture was part of Jesus’ tools as a teacher in Israel, and our first reading says it should be ours, too. Although our methods of biblical interpretation will be different from those of Jesus’ or Paul’s day, they must always recognise and respect the word of God as a living word that demands a lived response.We might ask ourselves today: How are we “equipped for every good work” by the word of God? How do we learn from our ‘sacred writings’? Can we be inspired by Scripture?

Lord,

We thank you for putting us in the presence of your Word which you inspired in your prophets. May we approach this Word reverently, humbly and attentively. May we not despise this Word, but receive all it has to say to us. We know that our hearts are closed, often incapable of comprehending the simplicity of your Word. Send your Spirit to us so that receiving the Word in truth and simplicity, our lives may be transformed by it. Let us not be resistant, Lord; may your Word penetrate us like a two edged sword; may our hearts be open to it; let not our eyes be closed, nor our minds wander, but may we give ourselves entirely to this listening. We ask this Father, in union with Mary who used to recite the psalms, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen

(Carlo Maria Cardinal Martini S.J. [b. 15 Feb 1927, d. 31 Aug 2012] – Archbishop emeritus of Milan)

 
Fr Matthew Charlesworth SJ

Fr Matthew Charlesworth SJ entered the Society of Jesus in 2005 and underwent the usual course of studies in his formation, which took him to such varied places as Canada, France, Ireland, Kenya, Spain, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, the United States, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Matthew manages the background technical aspects of much of the Institute's work and is involved in the Spirituality work whilst completing the Advanced Spiritual Directors Training Course and Spiritual Exercises Training run by the Institute. He is a member of Spiritual Directors International and is also a part-time lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St Augustine College of South Africa.

m.charlesworth@jesuitinstitute.org.za @mcharlesworth
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