Ignorance of Scripture is Ignorance of Christ

In Reflections and Homilies by Deacon Scott1 Comment

Thursday of the 4th Week of Lent
March 18, 2021
Exodus 32:7-14; Psalm 106:19-20, 21-22, 23; John 5:31-47

Audio Recording

In today’s gospel Jesus answers the Jews in regards to his testimony that he is the Son of God. In doing so he highlights the importance for us to read and meditate on the Scriptures. The Jews were objecting to his testimony, essentially saying that we do not believe you, because no one who bears witness to himself is to be depended on.

Jesus’ opponents refused to accept his authority to speak and act in the name of God. And they refused to believe that he was sent from the Father in heaven. They demanded evidence for his claim to be equal with God. Jesus answers their charges with the supporting evidence of witnesses, as required by the Law of Moses.

He begins his defense by citing John the Baptist as a witness, since John publicly pointed to Jesus as the Messiah and had repeatedly borne witness to him.

The second witness to Jesus’ identity and equality with God the Father are the signs and miracles he performed. He references his works, not to point to himself but to point to the power of God the Father working in and through him. He cites God the Father himself as his supreme witness, who testified of him at his baptism.

Finally, Jesus asserts that the Scriptures themselves, including the first five books of Moses, point to him as the Messiah, the promised Savior. The Scriptures testify on Jesus’ behalf. If the Jews truly believed Moses, that is, the first five books of the Bible, they would believe Jesus.

If we don’t believe Moses and the prophets, that is, the two major parts of the Hebrew Scriptures, we will not be convinced of our need to repent, “even if one should rise from the dead”. St. Jerome said it best when he said that “Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ”.

Also highlighting the importance of the scriptures as testimony that he is the Christ, Jesus walked about seven miles with two disciples on the afternoon of the day on which he rose from the dead. On the road to Emmaus “Beginning, then, with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted for them every passage of Scripture which referred to Him”. On the first day of his Resurrection, Jesus spent hours teaching the Scriptures to his disciples. This underscores the extreme importance of our coming to knowledge of Sacred Scripture so that we might come to believe that he is indeed, the Christ.

The lesson for us today is that we too must “search the Scriptures”, reading them daily, especially the readings for daily Mass. If we seek to understand the meaning of the scriptures and build our lives on obedience to them, “whether convenient or inconvenient”, our faith will be strengthened and our lives will be changed.

Dear friends, we are blessed to have the Sacred Scriptures to guide us in the ways of love and justice. Let us read and reflect on them daily. Let us listen attentively as Scripture is proclaimed at Mass and resolve to pray with them daily, allowing God to reveal his truths to our hearts.

May the truth revealed to us through the scriptures be the “joy and the happiness of our hearts.” May we truly be men and women of God’s Word.

God bless you.

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