Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Scripture: Historia Salutis, Answers to Questions from the Introduction (Why a Synod on the Word of God?)

Part 6 of the Historia Salutis series.

Here I provide my answers to the questions posed at the end of the Introduction.
  1. What "signs of the times" in your country give this Synod on the Word of God a particularly timely character? What do people expect from it?
    With the recent motu proprio which has led to celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite with greater frequency, the issue of the amount of Scripture read at Mass (in the Ordinary Form vs. the Extraordinary Form) has come up. I think the Synod on the Word of God will help to cement in the minds of the faithful the venerable character of Scripture and remind them that we come in contact with it not only in the readings at Mass but also in the prayers of the Mass, as well as outside the liturgy of the Mass: in our private devotions, in Bible Study groups, in the Liturgy of the Hours, in lectio divina, etc. Thus, there needn't be a cause for alarm over the one-year cycle found in the Extraordinary Form. Exposure to Scripture abounds, and needn't be confined to the Mass.

    What I expect from the Synod is proposals on how to foster Bible Study groups at parishes and how to effectively evangelize the complete Word of God at such studies and lectures. By "complete Word of God", I mean the entirety of the revelation the Catholic Church has received of Jesus Christ, both in Holy Scripture and Apostolic Tradition. I think a renewed appreciation of Scripture will produce a renewed appreciation for Tradition, if only first by resorting to the Patristic writings and commentaries on Scripture of the first few centuries of the Church.
  2. What is the relation of the preceding Synod on the Eucharist to the present one on the Word of God?
    As Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have written in the past, we are nourished in the Mass at the "two tables" of the Lord: that of the Word and that of the Bread (that is, His Body) (cf. Dominicae Cenae 10-11, Mane Nobiscum Domine 12, Sacramentum Caritatis 44). As the Holy Father's recent Apostolic Exhortation built upon the propositions of the Synod on the Eucharist, I'm expecting to see, after this Synod on the Word of God, a set of propositions and an Apostolic Exhortation to follow.

    The previous Synod dealt with the second table, that which is encountered in the Liturgy of the Eucharist; this Synod deals with the first table, that which is encountered in the Liturgy of the Word. A Christ-centered reading of Scripture, one which keeps the Eucharist as its focal point, seems to be the proper way to study and pray the Scriptures, keeping in line with the tradition of many early Church Fathers who sought to find a Christological sense behind every book, chapter, and verse of the Bible.
  3. Do experiences and practices with the Bible exist in your particular Church? What are they? Do Bible groups exist? Describe them and their activities.
    My parish has one Bible Study at a time, offered twice each Wednesday (in the afternoon and in the evening). Other parishes in our deanery (and just across diocesan lines) have Bible Studies as well, so parishioners can partake of those as well (or instead, if they cannot make ours). The attendance at my parish's Bible Study is generally quite low -- maybe twelve to eighteen people in all. A nearby parish has six or seven Bible Studies, each with at least a dozen participants.

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