ALL OF SCRIPTURES
I remember one time I was celebrating Mass. The Gospel then was Matthew 18, where Peter asked Jesus whether one should forgive as many as seven times. In response Jesus said, “No, not seven times, but seventy times seven!” I was hurting that time from an offense a trusted friend inflicted on me. I must confess, I didn’t feel like reading Jesus’ response. I even felt like changing Jesus’ words to “forgiving once is enough, Peter.”
There are days like that when God’s Word hits so close to home, they make real demands and you feel like changing God’s Word altogether. But the Word of God is the Word of God. In today’s First Reading, we are reminded: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (verses 16-17). Notice that it says “all,” not “some parts” of the Scripture. We cannot pick through Scriptures that simply suits us. The Word of God is comforting but it is also meant for rebuking and correcting.
A temptation for all believers is to domesticate God’s message — to make it convenient, less demanding, non-exacting. The Israelites of Moses’ times complained about the demands Yahweh was expecting from them. What did they do? They carved their own God, a molten calf — a God that they can manipulate, a “mute” God who will not make demands from them.
We still have that mentality in our day and age. Instead of conforming ourselves to God’s image, we want God to conform into ours. Be it in the area of religion, work, public life or sex life, we manipulate God’s Word to our own convenience. Yes, God became Man. But it did not stop there. God became Man so that man might become like God. Let us not invert the process.
Jesus is to be trusted. He is our Shepherd and everything He proposes is to our best interest. Fr. Joel Jason
REFLECTION QUESTION: In what area of your life do you usually “edit” the efficacy of God’s Word? Pray for healing in that area.
Lord Jesus, I believe in Your wisdom and love. Your commands will not enslave. Banish in my heart the fear of Your commandments. Put in its stead trust and confidence. Amen.