Bible

Do this and understand scripture

We pickup the story of the events of the Resurrection where we left off yesterday in the Gospel, According to Luke.  The men from Emmaus recounted to the disciples the story of Jesus breaking bread with them.  Jesus appeared to them and said:

“These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you,
that everything written about me in the law of Moses
and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.”

Jesus continued:

“Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer
and rise from the dead on the third day
and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins,
would be preached in his name
to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

Thanks be to God that He loves us so much to give his son for our sins as we continue to celebrate this mystery during the season of Easter.

Bible
A Bible

In between these two quotes from Jesus, Luke inserts what I think is a vital verse in this reading today:

Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.

For many years, I took the Bible for granted.  It was always there, ready for me to jump in and tackle the imagery, the lessons, the Living Word.

I was lazy.

I did not want to devote much (any?) time to understand the written Word of God.

My laziness is amusing and ironic to me because now I cannot begin to express the transformation in my faith that came from a daily devotional reading (and writing about) the scriptures.

This verse – that Jesus “opened their minds to understand the scriptures” (Luke 24:45) is similar to one from yesterday’s reading when the two disciples said, “Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32)

After writing a couple hundred reflections on God’s word it was through other means that I came to understand  something.  There are times when the Holy Spirit guides my thoughts and fingers as I write.  Writing is effortless and I have a palpable sense of the presence of our Lord.  Reader comments often give me a barometer if something special may have happened.

Other times, I write what I think is a great post but I was not guided by the Holy Spirit and the message does not resonate with readers.  In these examples, I inserted my own agenda into my reading of the scripture, instead of prayerfully listening to the message God intends for me to receive and share.

A happy priest
A happy priest (not Fr. Peter)... :)

It was Father Peter (a priest recently assigned to my parish) who decoded this phenomenon.  He talked about another priest who always prayed before he prepared his homily.  One day, there was a nobleman who the priest thought should be converted and so the priest worked overtime on his homily and did not take the time to pray before he delivered it.  The priest delivered a ho-hum homily and the nobleman was not impressed or converted.  The priest realized that he must allow the Holy Spirit to open his mind to understand (and communicate) the scriptures.

The priest recognized his error and vowed to always pray before he preached.  Luckily for him (and the nobleman), the nobleman returned to another mass and was moved to conversion by the homily of the priest.

In retelling this story, Fr. Peter did not mention these two verses from Luke.  I am going to make a leap of faith and suggest that prayer is the key that opens our minds to understand the scriptures.

So, I pray that we can remember this important lesson: that before we try to encounter God through scripture, we spend time in prayer in order to prepare for our hearts to be opened.  Lectio Divina is an excellent method for this practice.  If you know of other means, please share them in the comments section.

Have a blessed night and I pray for each of you.

Enjoy these related posts from cinhosa:

Who wants the cure for anxiety?
What is leading you away from God?
When you are summoned by Jesus
Be a disciple for your family

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8 thoughts on “Do this and understand scripture”

  1. I agree with you Cinhosa! The Holy Spirit is there to guide us. If we follow His instructions we cannot go wrong.

    Thanks a lot for sharing this post. God bless

  2. “My laziness is amusing and ironic to me because now I cannot begin to express the transformation in my faith that came from a daily devotional reading (and writing about) the scriptures.” I connect with this statement and many that follow. The method you describe is one I follow and in doing so we are opened up to hear afresh from the Holy Spirit who was sent to bring remembrance and understanding. For me it starts with the Lord’s prayer and continues as I read, write and sit with the Lord in the early morning hours before any other is up and about. Less distractions that way. This has become a time I now look forward to each am. Go figure! Looking forward to early rising!! That is irony! Continue your writing and insights, I find them inspiring and beneficial.

  3. I enjoy in depth Bible study. When we dive into His Word, each reading at the mass comes much more alive. Because we study it, we pray over it, we share it… it is alive.

    So glad I bumped into your blog today. Many blessings!

  4. Excellant post! May be one of my favorites! It’s funny how when we try to take things on our own agenda but get no where with it. The Spirit knows what needs to be said.
    John 16:13 – But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

    God Bless!
    Joshua J. Huffman

  5. What a good point! I’ve always tended to “dive right in” when it comes to reading scripture, and now I realize that I really should prepare my mind and my heart first – thank you!

  6. Obviously, God is trying to whack me over the head — “Stop reading so many blogs and open the Word!” Thank you for this lovely reminder.

    Thanks so much for linking up to Saints and Scripture Sundays! I always appreciate seeing your perspectives!

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