Thursday, January 08, 2009

Thursday word, 08 Jan 2009

Epiphany Thursday (08 Jan 2009) 1Jn 4. 19-5. 4; Ps 72; Jn 4. 14-22a
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Scripture to Life

Judaism used scripture to appreciate scripture. It used scripture to understand better a puzzling scripture passage and thus appreciate it more. The Church inherited that. Considering Risen Jesus allowed Christians to appreciate afresh passages of the Scriptures, realizing they pointed to their risen Savior.

After the Church recognized some Christian writings as scripture, the practice of using scripture to interpret scripture continued. The practice isn’t as common as it was. It can help us appreciate our lives as well as scripture. I begin with today’s first reading.

Celebrating mass daily as you do, you have been hearing the First Letter of John announce these days the conviction that love flows from God, that love is God; and yesterday we heard the Christian consequence of that conviction, namely, we are to love others because God has loved us in becoming one with us in our flesh.

Before it was a church divided--lacerated by leaving and intolerance as the First Letter of John strongly implies--action and conviction, action and faith, went hand in hand. Such harmony between action and conviction revealed Jesus to the members and to the world.

After it was divided the word liar best described the dissonance between action and faith. A strong word for a desperate circumstance. Even today lying hides the truth and only reveals--usually afterward--people who fear truth.

Read with Jesus’ inaugural address, the selection from the First Letter of John helps us appreciate that to fulfill on the lips of Jesus--the scripture of liberating us for the kingdom he proclaimed and embodied has been fulfilled in your hearing--also connotes to reveal. Jesus revealed the kingdom in person!

The Christmas season, and the drama of the first Christmas cast, remind us that we, too, reveal Jesus to each other and the world. We fulfill our roles the more united are our action and faith-conviction. Jesus’ homily in Nazareth was his life. Our world counts on us to grow more like the one who was born for us and calls us to be born anew. New birth for us means union in daily living of action and faith, allowing our faith to reshape our actions for the sake of others and the world. Union of faith and action also helps us better appreciate our lives.
Wiki-image of part of a scroll of the Book of Isaiah is in the public domain.

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