“…be an example for the believers in your speech, your conduct, your love, faith, and purity. Until I come, give your time and effort to the public reading of the Scriptures and to preaching and teaching.” 1 Tim 4:12-13
When you read and live the Sacred Bible you are being conducted by the Holy Spirit. A true Christian life is guided by the reading of the Word of God, by prayer and ecclesial fellowship. This love for God brings about a deep interest for the exploration of His Word. This love makes Christians announce the Good News inspired by their own examples of the wonders of Jesus Christ’s graces to their neighbours.
“But for the searching and right understanding of the Scriptures there is need of a good life and a pure soul, and for Christian virtue to guide the mind” St. Athanasius of Alexandria (297-373) – Bishop and Doctor of the Church.
It is through the witness of the Christian faith that the non-believer will be moved to read and live the Word of God. Evangelical conduct is the living letter of the Holy Scriptures in the lives of the sons and daughters of the Eternal Father.
St. Paul the Apostle exhorts: “Imitate me, then, just as I imitate Christ” (1 Cor 11:1). St. Paul was obedient to the teaching of the master of Nazareth: “You study the Scriptures, because you think that in them you will find eternal life. And these very Scriptures speak about me!” (Jn 5:39).
The Holy Bible is the most powerful evangelisation tool that exists on the face of the earth.
St. John the Apostle writes: “ But these have been written in order that you may believe[a] that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through your faith in him you may have life.” (Jn 20:31). The Church and all Christians should make every investment in the propagation of the Scriptures. “So then, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message comes through preaching Christ.” (Rom 10:17).
“Everything written in the Scriptures was written to teach us, in order that we might have hope through the patience and encouragement which the Scriptures give us.” (Rom 15:4). Only through the Holy Scriptures is the story of Christ the Redeemer and God’s love for sinners revealed(Jn 3:16).
The Holy Bible is the book par excellence of comfort, confidence and blessed hope.
To be Church and to announce Christ
The Bible refers to the body of Jesus in such a realistic way that it can be shocking. Imagine a human being in front of you saying, “Eat my flesh and drink my blood.” Jesus’ statement may have shocked many people, but He chose not to change His words. Therefore, the Holy Communion is truly Jesus.
“For my flesh is the real food; my blood is the real drink.” (Jn 6:55).
Jesus also referred to his Church in a very realistic way. When Saul was persecuting it, Jesus made him fall off his horse and asked him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Ac 9:4). Jesus referred to the Church as His Body, not just a symbol of Him. Later St. Paul the Apostle writes: “He [Jesus] is the head of his body, the church; he is the source of the body’s life..” (Col 1:18).
Since the Church is the Body of Christ, we must have the proper attitude towards it, and seek to receive Jesus in Communion daily. We must say like Saul once converted and named Paul “All such things are only a shadow of things in the future; the reality is Christ” (Col 2:17). We must love the Church and give our lives for it (Eph 5:25); regardless of whether we do so as religious people, as laypersons, married couples or single people.
The focus of our lives must be the Body of Christ: Holy Communion and Holy Scripture. Therefore, the “Amen” that we respond to the words, “The Body of Christ” – in Holy Communion – must transform our lives and lead us to transform the world.
The famous English theologian John Stott said: “I read the Bible and pray every day, I go to church every Sunday and I never miss the celebration of the Eucharist.”
Encounter with human existence
The renowned intellectual Artur da Távola (1936-2008) wrote: “Without thought, children of education and culture, people enter the disintegration in which Brazil is today, divided between impunity, violence and superficiality. In this we are sunk”.
The world is sunken by economic and religious exploitation, by trafficking of drugs, weapons, humans and other crimes, by terrorism, by threats of nuclear, chemical, biological and bacteriological war, by the ethical deviation of scientists, by degradation of the environment, by the stupidity of the media, by political corruption, by the pornographic industry and by the culture of death.
In the face of all of this, where can the depressed, the sick, the imprisoned, the abandoned, the disillusioned, the distressed and the grieving find comfort, strength and hope to bear their suffering and pain and the meaning for their life? The answer can only be: “The Holy Bible”. “If your law had not been the source of my joy, I would have died from my sufferings. Your word is a lamp to guide me and a light for my path” (Ps 119:92,105).
The thirst and hunger for spiritual virtues that exist within humans are answered and quenched by the power of the Holy Scriptures. It is the Word of God that radically fills the emptiness of the existence human souls.
The true quest for spirituality, fortification for faith, charity and eternal life are found in the Word of God. Whoever has the Bible as a compass, a safe harbour and as light, will never get lost, never sink into the sea of misfortunes and never walk in the darkness of sin, on the contrary: they walk illuminated to dwell and contemplate the face of Eternal Light.