Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Synod of Bishops in Rome Focus on the Word of God

Many bishops from around the world have gathered with His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI in Rome to prayerfully study how to respond to the situations in the world and the Catholic Christian response according to the Word of God. You can find the latest updates on the Vatican Web site, http://www.vatican.va/, including the working document and responses.

The Holy Bible has always been at the heart of the life of the Church since its beginning. The Lord Jesus, the Word of God made flesh (cf. John 1:14) is often depicted in the Gospels as quoting from the Scritpures [Old Testament] -- in combatting the devil (cf. Mt. 4:4; see Dt. 8:3), in addressing the people at his hometown synagogue in Nazareth (cf. Lk. 4:18-19; see Isa. 61:1-2a), and even when hanging upon the Cross, Jesus invokes the Scriptures (cf. Mk. 15:34; see Ps. 22:1).

Pope Benedict XVI, 2008

The Apostles and Evangelists quoted freely from the Sacred Books of the First Covenant of the Jewish people, citing from the ancient texts to indicate that Jesus is the Messiah of Israel and the Savior of the nations. Therefore, he is the fulfillment of the Jewish Bible (Hebrew and Greek texts).

The proclamation of the biblical texts has always been part of our liturgical tradition. Direct Scriptural quotes are found throughout the Roman Mass and other sacramental celebrations. Indirectly, there are multiple allusioins to the Bible. Two examples are the "Holy, Holy, Holy" [Sanctus], which quotes from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah 6:3 and Psalm 118:26b, and the "Lamb of God" [Agnus Dei], which combines the invocation to Christ as the Lamb of God (cf. John 1:36 and Rev. 5:12) with the plea for mercy (cf. Mt. 9:27).

As Franciscan friars we rejoice that Pope Benedict and the bishops from around the world have gathered in the Twelfth Synod to focus on the Word of God. The Bible, being at the heart of the Church, is always at the heart of our Order and our Franciscan tradition.

St. Francis and St. Clare were both inspired to renounce everything for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and as our respective Rules state (i.e. that of St. Francis for the Friars Minor and that of St. Clare for the Poor Clare nuns), ". . . to live the Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in obedience, without anything of our own and in chastity."

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