By Fr. Rich, O.P.
The scriptures that are the foundation for our Catholic faith have been translated, studied, dissected, and discussed for centuries. Scholars have spent untold energy delving into single verses and entire manuscripts, searching for the last iota of meaning. Our belief that God’s hand is to be found throughout these texts makes the labor of these men and women an investment in faith and hope. That being said, occasionally, a text presents itself and is so clear that interpretation is not necessary. This Sunday’s verses from the Letter to the Romans is one such passage.
Whatever was written previously was written for our instruction, that by endurance and by the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God. Romans 15:4-7
In this season of preparing for the coming of the Christ, the birth of hope, we are being told directly that we should make the Scriptures the source of our faith, the guide by which we should order our lives. If we live in such a manner, in harmony, our lives would be the source of glorifying this Christ who we are anticipating. It is in this glorification that we find strength and peace, joy and hope.
When we ground our lives in Scripture we are like John the Baptist, “A voice of one crying out in the desert, Prepare the way of the Lord…” (Matthew 3:3).
As Catholics in today’s world, we are called to be prophets, speaking the truth to a world that can be very much a desert of despair, hate, and discord.
It behooves us, during Advent, to pay particular attention to the readings from both the Jewish and Christian testaments. Not only do they tell the story of our roots, but also the story of our future. The liturgical year of the Church takes us on the same journey each year, reminding us that our focus should be on that future; this life is an opportunity to prepare for the next. And Scripture helps us to prepare and then live, to prepare and engage our world.