Thursday, January 23, 2020

Psalm 119:105

Psalm 119:105

January 1998:
I am the adult advisor for the youth group at Princeton United Methodist Church.  The teens have just completed a service project and are waiting for pizza to arrive.  I hear Jennifer calling out to the other dozen or so high school students; “Let’s have a sword drill while we’re waiting!”   “A sword drill?” I wonder to myself.  “I don’t see any long sharp.....”.  My thoughts are interrupted by Jennifer’s shout of “Psalm 119, verse 105”  and a dozen bibles being furiously searched. In what seems to be 10 seconds I hear Billy, “Psalm 119:105 - Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”

Jason hands me a bible saying, “Now you can play too”.  Billy gets the honors to call out the next verse. I hear Timothy 3:16.  My mind races: Timothy... New testament....Written by Paul...After the Gospels before Revelation.  Where in the heck is....Suddenly the room around me erupts.  Got it! Me too! Hey, I got it first!  Second Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for correction and for training in righteousness”.

Twelve years of catholic school,  Mass EVERY Sunday Mass, plus lots of daily Masses…and.... I didn’t hear Billy say SECOND Timothy because I didn’t know the Bible presents Paul’s words to Timothy into two books.  

Two thoughts come to mind: 
1. Sword Drill: A game where these kids cut the adult shreds. 
2. Where in the heck is that pizza???

I now realize that knowing the order of the books of the bible is a bit of a parlor trick. It’s like reciting Keats or Yeats or The Gettysburg Address from memory.  But what about when those people knock on your door or approach you in Times Square? Shouldn’t I? You? We? Catholics? Be more familiar with Scripture?  

Pope Francis has instituted this Sunday, the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time to be the “Sunday of the Word of God”. The title of his Apostolic Letter: Aperuit Illis comes from the Emmaus Story found in the 24th chapter of Luke’s Gospel.   Luke tells of an encounter after the crucifixion between two dejected travelers and the risen Christ.  

In the words of the Holy Father:  “This scene clearly demonstrates the unbreakable bond between sacred Scripture and the Eucharist.”

The U.S. Conference of Bishops speak to the role of Scripture in our relationship with God this way  “The Bible is the story of God's relationship with the people he has called to himself.” Here is to what they title 10 points for fruitful scripture reading: 

"Understanding the Bible" U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Blest to be in ministry with you at St. Mary’s,

Bruce

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