bible blog 250

This blog follows the daily bible readings of the Catholic Church

Ps 119:29, 72, 89, 101, 104, 163

Responsorial Psalm

R. (105) Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet.
Remove from me the way of falsehood,
and favor me with your law.
R. Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet.
The law of your mouth is to me more precious
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
R. Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet.
Your word, O LORD, endures forever;
it is firm as the heavens.
R. Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet.
From every evil way I withhold my feet,
that I may keep your words.
R. Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet.
Through your precepts I gain discernment;
therefore I hate every false way.
R. Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet.
Falsehood I hate and abhor;
your law I love.
R. Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet.

I don’t often use the responsorial psalm from the catholic lectionary, but I have done so today, because it expresses the faith of the church in Jesus Christ, the Word of God. In my theology Christ is always THE Word of God, and the Scripture is only God’s Word as witness to Christ. That is not to downgrade the scripture but to give it its true dignity as written witness to God’s supreme self-communication in Christ. It also helps the correct interpretation and ordering of scripture. If its purpose is witness to Christ then the Old Testament must be interpreted in the light of the New.

With those reservations, however, I could use the words of the psalmist as an expression of my own relationship to scripture: it is a always a lamp for my feet (beautiful expression meaning it guides my life’s walking), it is precious, enduring, protecting, discerning truth and exposing falsehood. Often so-called “bible churches” shout about scripture but fail to love it, read it and interpret it, and many liberal churches barely use it all.

Lk 9:1-6

Gospel

Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority
over all demons and to cure diseases,
and he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God
and to heal the sick.
He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey,
neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money,
and let no one take a second tunic.
Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there.
And as for those who do not welcome you,
when you leave that town,
shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.”
Then they set out and went from village to village
proclaiming the Good News and curing diseases everywhere.

Jesus appoints the twelve (representing the tribes of Israel) to announce the new Israel which God is gathering through his ministry. They have an announcement “God rules here and now” and a practice, “healing the sick”. It’s astonishing in its simplicity. Until you think of the obvious question, “Look at the state of the world-you call that God’s rule?” And the only answer is that God rules in his servant Jesus, in what he does and says, and therefore in those who trust him.

But look, there’s a sign of the kingdom: care for the bodies and souls of human beings. This is not the fullness of God’s rule, but it is an effective sign. Where this care is offered people may be able to believe the announcement, the glad tidings.

Care of the bodies and souls

We are accustomed to talk of the complexities of mission in our society, and I certainly don’t want to sack all professors of post-modern missiology (or maybe I do), but a clear statement of Christian mission is here:

1. Announce God’s rule in Jesus. 2. Care for the bodies and souls of men and women and children. 3. Stay poor 4. Never argue, just keep moving.

One comment

  1. You wouldn’t want to sack the missions prof I heard last week. He gave a great talk calling the evangelical church to reclaim its mission to the poor – specifically the ones in our own backyard – and he is teaching his students to do it. (Jay Moon at Sioux Falls Seminary, Sioux Falls SD)

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