We are inundated with words every day by traditional and social media.
Ideas and opinions challenge us to find the truth, discerning what is authentic or fake news. Midst this backdrop we encounter the Word of God in our times of prayer both public and private. The scriptures are more than writings from centuries ago, some composed before the time of Christ, they are God’s living Word. For each time we read from scripture, a new insight surfaces, a message for us today. The scriptures are filtered by the events of our daily lives, as God helps us to find meaning and truth. This week the writer of Hebrews invites to reflect upon the impact of God’s word in our lives.
Our second reading for the rest of Ordinary Time comes from the Letter to the Hebrews. The letter is traditionally attributed to St. Paul. A consensus of scholars holds that the sermon or treatise titled “To the Hebrews” was destined for a community of believers who were struggling with the demands of discipleship. However, scholars are not in agreement about which community it was. Many have suggested that Hebrews’ challenge to renew fervor was intended for Rome, which had one of the three largest Jewish communities of the Diaspora. The Jewish Christians in Rome were deeply acclimated to their Hellenistic environment. They were exposed to a variety of religious persuasions, and the threat of syncretism loomed large. Some in academia believe that Hebrews was addressed to Essenes, who converted to Christianity but were tempted to return to their former Jewish faith. Others posit that there were apostates within the community whose presence eroded the faith and zeal of their fellow believers. (Notes from Celebration Publications, NCR, Kansas City, 2018)
The writer of Hebrews recalls Genesis, where God spoke and the earth was formed. All of creation came to be and it was good. In addition, Isaiah 55 proclaims that, like rain and snow, the word of God accomplishes its purposes. For the writer of Hebrews, the Word of God, penetrates soul and spirit, joints and marrow. In other words, as it comes to a person it can enter the most hidden recesses of a personality. Like it or not, the Word reveals the truth of our inner self. At times, we may reject what God’s word reveals about our true selves. The Word judges because it calls to stand in the presence of God and evaluate how we are living God values.
Our reading today asks how we have allowed God’s Word into our heart and soul. We are reminded that God is ever present to us, inviting us to the path of holiness.