Wednesday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial Feast: Saints Marcellinus and Peter, Martyrs (+304)
Book of Tobit 3:1-11a, 16-17a, Psalm 25, & Mark 12:18-27
In today’s Gospel narrative, Saint Mark considers the particular problem of life after death and its implications. You may have noticed that Jesus takes the side of the Pharisees, believing in resurrection from the dead, as opposed to the view of the Sadducees.
The question which Jesus and Mark are opening here is how we are to interpret Scripture. A literal interpretation is easy for us to understand and follow, at least insofar as having the confidence to do the right thing. Anyone who is truly willing to come to grips with Scripture, however, soon recognizes that this approach has its problems, even in something as seemingly simple as naming the twelve tribes of Israel or trying to decide whether we should take all of the Old Testament prophets literally.
I suspect that much of this “interpretation” can be left to Scripture scholars, who have the appropriate skills and information to discover what the “truth” of a text is, and their conclusions can be found in a variety of Bible Commentaries. What is important for us is to read Scripture and draw sustenance from God through it.
Friends, what I refer to is “prayer.” If we are to have a living relationship with God, we must be in conversation with Him. Sacred Scripture, as the Word of God, plays an important role but cannot be taken literally or assumed to have only one “message” in any given passage. If that were true, by now, we would have one and only one homily in regard to each Scripture passage. Scripture is a place where we listen to what God says through a particular passage. The Spirit will lead us to pay attention to one aspect of that reading, a word or expression, or inspire us with a new understanding of ourselves and who we are. This is how Christ Himself aids us in our understanding the afterlife, which He reveals in today’s Gospel narrative.
What is most important first and foremost is for us to sincerely pray, with or without using Scripture, and then to reflect on what we are doing and what we experience in prayer. As a result, we can then go on to live in the strength of that Word.
Question of the Day: How will you increase and improve your prayer life in order to increase your personal relationship with God?
Prayer: To You, O Lord, I lift my soul. Amen.