This morning in Mass I totally missed the first reading, there was a newborn captivating my full attention, until we stood and the response was, “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” Later, the clarity of this response brought to my mind the concern touched on in a couple of comments from the last chapter about there being no new public revelation, that Jesus is the last word. Perhaps is was because at first reading it really sounds almost as though what is done is done and now all we have is the history of the event. But of course while the incarnation is an historical event, Jesus speaking to us isn’t a singular past event.
We have this “Word of God contained in Scripture, transmitted by Sacred Tradition” and authoritatively interpreted by the teaching office of the Church, the Magisterium, the servant of the Word of God.
When the Scripture says, “if today you hear his voice…” it isn’t like a regular book of history recounting an event written by someone long dead, about events long past, to an audience we are out of touch with. It really means TODAY: the author of Sacred Scripture is the living God; at least many of the actors remain intimately connected to us, cheering us on in that great cloud of witnesses in Hebrews 12; and rather than just inform, the Word of God, together in Sacred Scripture and Apostolic Tradition, has the power to transform us, not only for individual salvation, but as Church, across cultures and centuries, a people brought into unity, into fellowship, into participation in the divine life.
In the General Audience, March 29, 2006, titled “The Gift of Communion,” Pope Benedict XVI speaks of the proper goal of gospel proclamation and conversion to Christianity as fellowship with God and with one another… lifting us “from our loneliness, from being closed in on ourselves, and makes us sharers in the love that unites us to God and to one another.” He concludes, “Scripture is not something of the past. The Lord does not speak in the past but speaks in the present, he speaks to us today. He enlightens us, he show us the way through life, he gives us communion and thus he prepares us and opens us to peace.”
I will pray about: Am I really living as though this is all relevant TODAY, as though I am a sharer in the love that unites me with God and others. Am I open to ongoing conversion, to hear his voice and not harden my heart, that will lead me into a deeper participation in this gift of communion… (Laurie E.)