In April 2018, a video clip of Pope Francis in a public audience went viral. A crying young boy shared with the Pope how his dad recently died; he was an atheist but had his four children baptised. “Is my father in heaven?” he asked sobbing. The Pope answered before the whole audience, “[Your dad] was a good man… God is the one who decides who goes into Heaven. What is God’s heart like…? God has a dad’s heart. Does God abandon His children?” “No!” the audience replied. “There is your answer. God is proud of your dad…” (You can watch the video below!) From the comments of that video (and my own personal reaction!), you can see how many were moved to tears by this exchange. In a simple yet very powerful way, Pope Francis made REAL the words of the Gospel: “Let the children come to me… Our Heavenly Father loves each one of us, and He will never abandon His children… You are my son, with whom I am well pleased… God is kind and merciful…” and so on. If this is what it means to have the Word of God comes alive, no wonder the Israelites in the first reading today were in tears!
How different would our lives be, if we were to take the Word of God seriously?
Perhaps not many of us are in the habit of reading the Bible at our own time – I remember a group of very dedicated and active senior parishioners who told me that in their 50+ years as Catholics, they have never once opened or read from an actual Bible, let alone know how to find a specific passage! Nonetheless, I am sure you are more familiar with it than you think. Every time we participate in a Mass, the liturgy is rich with the Word of God – you’ll be surprised how much much our brain retains information, even when we are only half listening! The challenge each and every time would be to listen to it more actively, and to bring these words to life with our lives.
In today’s Gospel, we see Jesus reading a passage from Scripture: “ ‘The Lord has sent me to bring the good news to the poor…’ This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen!” Jesus’ mission while on earth was simply to make TRUE the Word of God, and fulfill it. And He sent us to do precisely the same…
Sometimes we may find it hard to take the Word of God seriously; we go from one extreme of treating them as too high an ideal, or otherwise see them simply as a fairy tale and irrelevant. Yet each one of us, with who and what we are, can choose to bring the Word of God to fulfilment with our lives as Jesus did, and as Pope Francis showed in his way of being…
On this Sunday of the Word of God, I will leave you with the words of Moses “[The Word of God] is neither obscure nor beyond your reach… no, it is very near to you, it is in your mouth and in your heart, for you to put into practice…” (Dt 30:11,14)
Have a blessed week! Sr. Devy