The Word of God reveals to us the story of our salvation. In the Catholic Church we hear the Word proclaimed each weekend in a cycle of three years which is continually repeated. So when you sit and listen you may often say; I remember that or I remember that story being told over and over again in my life. The wonder of that fact is that we get something more each time we read or hear a particular part of Sacred Scripture. Take for example the parable of the Prodigal Son; as a young child what you may have remembered most was that the man ate what the pigs left – yuck! As a teen you may have been struck with wondering where my inheritance is and whether or not my parents would give it to me if I wanted to leave home. As a young adult, we might identify with the son who stayed home, always helping his father, yet he was never given a party or celebration. As a parent, we may begin to understand why the old man ran toward his son with open arms as he returned home, even though he had squandered his inheritance. Then as an adult we may come to understand that God will always be there with open arms, ready to forgive our transgressions. He will welcome our return to him and love us forever!
There are so many more examples like that parable. And then there is the Old Testament which is also proclaimed at every Mass in the First Reading. Are you aware of how many times we receive a prelude in the Old Testament of what is to come in the New Testament? When teaching the story of our salvation to teens, I would explain it as like a “movie trailer” or advertisement of what they will see when they go the theatre. This Sunday’s First Reading is one such example. Taken from the Book of Wisdom, we hear from the wicked a complaint about the one who is teaching goodness, patience and gentleness, the one who is reprimanding them and charging them with wrongful behavior. And we hear of their plot to condemn him to a shameful death, just to see if he really is the ONE. If so he should be able to save himself.
This of course, is a prelude to what unfolds in the New Testament when God sends his only Son into this world. As Jesus begins his ministry, he points out the wrongdoing of many as he challenges them with a message of love, compassion and truth. Many people rejected Jesus as being a false prophet whom they, in the end, rally to condemn to death as they nail him to the cross. We, of course, know the rest of that story. So listen closely and look for the preludes and connections between the Old and New Testaments. Think about how you have grown in your understanding of Sacred Scriptures, not only through Bible studies or theology courses that you may have participated in, but from simply being attentive to the Word at each and every Mass. We are formed by what we hear; by God’s design!
Blessings on your week,
He Would Love First!
October 24, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC