Why Focus on The Word

"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Jesus." - St. Jerome

Colossians 3:16

It can be tempting to think of the Bible as a an ancient text that some old guys wrote, a text that is outdated and written for people who didn't have to deal with all the worries of today. Perhaps you feel that Catholics don't really know the Bible that well because it's a "Protestant" thing. Or perhaps you feel we don't need to know it because we are the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church, and we have beautiful sacraments like the Eucharist.

For those of us who sometimes feel this way, the Church helps us to deepen our understanding. The powerful statement above by St. Jerome shouldn’t be taken lightly, but what does he mean? How can ignorance of Scripture be ignorance of Jesus? Why is there such a huge focus the Word? Don't we have the Eucharist, the Lord's actual body and blood?

Yes, we do. But the Catholic Church also reminds us that "the Church has always venerated the Scriptures as She venerates the Lord's Body" (Catechism of the Catholic Church CCC 103). This means the Bible is just as sacred and holy as the Eucharist which we receive at Mass.

This is also powerful . . . and convicting. Do we venerate the Scriptures in our daily lives as much as we venerate the Eucharist?

In John 1:1-3, it says that the Word was with God, and the Word was God. It is only when we realize and reflect on the fact that Jesus is the Word of God incarnate that we begin to understand the importance of Scripture. The Word not only existed since the beginning, it was not only with God - the Word was God, and all things were made through him. As Catholics, we hold this truth as something to which the only proper response is reverence and veneration. 

But how is the Bible relevant? Why should I spend time reading Scripture just because the Church says it's true and holy? What does it have to do with me, today, right here?

The beauty of Scripture is that it's always relevant. St. Paul and the others emphasize how the Word of God can transform us and bring light and truth to the darkness of our hearts. Because it was inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Word of God is "living and effective" and can be applied to the trials and temptations we face in our world today. With so much suffering, change, and confusion in our lives, how beautiful it is that we have an unchanging God whose Word is constant and true!

When we come together as friends, as community, as women, we have an opportunity to share what’s going on in our lives. We can share the truth which we are learning through Scripture. And when we are struggling in this world that buzzes with distractions, lies, and half-truths, let us remember that Sacred Scripture is relevant and true, sharing the encouraging words of God with one another.