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SYNOD OF BISHOPS XII ORDINARY GENERAL ASSEMBLY THE WORD OF GOD IN THE LIFE AND MISSION OF THE CHURCH INSTRUMENTUM LABORIS VATICAN CITY 2008 PART I CHAPTER.

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Presentation on theme: "SYNOD OF BISHOPS XII ORDINARY GENERAL ASSEMBLY THE WORD OF GOD IN THE LIFE AND MISSION OF THE CHURCH INSTRUMENTUM LABORIS VATICAN CITY 2008 PART I CHAPTER."— Presentation transcript:

1 SYNOD OF BISHOPS XII ORDINARY GENERAL ASSEMBLY THE WORD OF GOD IN THE LIFE AND MISSION OF THE CHURCH INSTRUMENTUM LABORIS VATICAN CITY 2008 PART I CHAPTER 1 THE MYSTERY OF GOD WHO SPEAKS TO US "In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world" (Heb 1:1-2).

2 The Pastors made reference in their reports to some theological subjects which are very important in their pastoral activity: e.g., the meaning of the Word of God, the mystery of Christ and the Church, the centrality of the Word of God; the Bible as the inspired Word and its truth; the interpretation of the Bible according to the faith of the Church; and the proper disposition for hearing the Word of God.

3 CHAPTER I A. God who speaks to us, the meaning of the word of God God speaks to men as friends" (DV 2) Dei VerbumDei Verbum presents the theology of revelation as a dialogue, which entails the following three closely- entwined aspects: the broad meaning of the term "Word of God" in Divine Revelation; the mystery of Christ, the full and perfect expression of the Word of God; and the mystery of the Church and the Sacrament of the Word of God.

4 CHAPTER I A. God who speaks to us, the meaning of the word of God God speaks to men as friends" (DV 2) The Word of God as a Hymn with Many Voices 9. The Word of God is like a hymn with many voices, proclaimed by God in a variety of ways and forms (cf. Heb 1:1). The history of Revelation is long and has many heralds, yet it is always characterized by a hierarchy in meaning and function.

5 CHAPTER I The Word of God as a Hymn with Many Voices 9. a. The Word of God abides in the Trinity, from which it comes, by which it is sustained and to which it returns. The Word of God is the enduring testament to the love of the Father, to the work of salvation of the Son Jesus Christ and to the fruitful activity of the Holy Spirit. In Revelation, the Word is the Eternal Word of God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Son of the Father, the foundation of communication within and outside the Trinity: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made" (Jn 1: 1-3; cf. Col 1:16).

6 CHAPTER I The Word of God as a Hymn with Many Voices 9. b. Consequently, all creation tells of the glory of God (cf. Ps 19:1). At the beginning of time, God created the cosmos with his Word (cf. Gn 1:1) and sealed creation with his wisdom for which everything is his voice (cf. Sir 46:17; Ps 68:34). In a special way, the human person, because created to the image and likeness of God (cf. Gn 1:26), remains for all time the sure sign and wise interpreter of his Word.

7 CHAPTER I The Word of God as a Hymn with Many Voices 9. b. Indeed, through the Word, humanity is made capable of entering into dialogue with God and creation. God thus made all creation and the human person in primis, "an enduring witness to himself" (DV 3). Given that "all things were created through him [Christ] and for him...and in him all things hold together" (Col 1:16-17), the "seeds of the Word, (AG 11, 15) a ray of that truth which enlightens all men (NA 2); these are found in individuals and in the religious traditions of mankind (IOANNES PAULUS II, Litt. Enc Redemptoris Missio ( ), 56: AAS 83 (1991) 304.).Redemptoris Missio

8 CHAPTER I The Word of God as a Hymn with Many Voices 9. c. "The Word was made flesh" (Jn 1:14): the ultimate and definitive Word of God is Jesus Christ. His Person, mission and life on earth are intimately united, according to the Fathers plan, which culminates in Easter. But that plan will not reach fulfillment until the Lord Jesus consigns the Kingdom to the Father (cf. 1 Cor 15:24). He is Gods Good News to every human person (cf. Mk 1:1).

9 CHAPTER I The Word of God as a Hymn with Many Voices 9. d. In view of the Word of God who is the Son- Incarnate, the Father spoke in times past through the prophets (cf. Heb 1:1). Through the power of the Spirit, the Apostles continue to proclaim Jesus and his Gospel. Thus, the Word of God is expressed in human words in the proclamation of the prophets and Apostles.

10 CHAPTER I The Word of God as a Hymn with Many Voices 9. e. Sacred Scripture is the message of revelation written down under divine inspiration. As such, it can truly be said to be the Word of God (cf. DV 24) which is entirely focused on Jesus, because "it is they [the Scriptures] that bear witness to me" (Jn 5:39). Through the charism of divine inspiration, the Books of Sacred Scripture have a direct, concrete power of appeal not possessed by other texts or human discourses.

11 CHAPTER I The Word of God as a Hymn with Many Voices 9. f. But the Word of God is not locked away in writing. Even though Revelation ended with the death of the last apostle (cf. DV 4), the Word-Revealed continues to be proclaimed and heeded throughout Church history. The Church has the responsibility to proclaim the Word to the whole world as a response to its need of salvation.

12 CHAPTER I The Word of God as a Hymn with Many Voices 9. f. In this way, the Word continues its course through vibrant preaching and its many forms of evangelization, where proclamation, catechesis, liturgical celebrations and the service of charity hold a high place. Preaching, in this sense, under the power of the Holy Spirit, is the Word of the living God communicated to living persons.

13 CHAPTER I The Word of God as a Hymn with Many Voices 9. g. Like fruit coming forth from its roots, the truths of the Churchs faith, in the fields of dogma and morality, fall within the sphere of the Word of God. From this vantage point, when Gods Revelation is proclaimed in faith, it becomes a real moment of Revelation, which can truly be called the "Word of God" in the Church.

14 CHAPTER I The Word of God as a Hymn with Many Voices Pastoral Implications 10. Many responses from the particular Churches refer to the following pastoral implications: The Word of God displays all the qualities of true communication between persons, which the Bible often calls a covenant dialogue, in which God and the person speak to each other as members of the same family.

15 CHAPTER I The Word of God as a Hymn with Many Voices Pastoral Implications From this vantage point, the Christian religion cannot be defined as a "religion of the Book" in an absolute sense, in that the inspired book has a vital link to the entire body of Revelation (Cf. BENEDICTUS XVI, Litt. Enc. Deus Caritas Est ( ), 1: AAS 98 (2006) 217. ).

16 CHAPTER I The Word of God as a Hymn with Many Voices Pastoral Implications The created world manifests the Word of God, the seed of which is found in human life and history. Consequently, many reports raise relevant questions for today concerning the natural law, the origin of the world and ecology.

17 CHAPTER I The Word of God as a Hymn with Many Voices Pastoral Implications The idea of the "history of salvation" (historia salutis), so dear to the Church Fathers, as "sacred history" merits treatment within the context of Tradition. The implications from the "religion of the Incarnate Word" need to be understood, namely that the Word of God is not encased in abstract or static formulas, but has a dynamic power in history which is made up of persons and events, words and actions, developments and tensions, as the Bible clearly illustrates. The historia salutis, having completed its constitutive phase, continues its effects through time in the Church.

18 CHAPTER I The Word of God as a Hymn with Many Voices Pastoral Implications The fullness of the Word of God is seen by all its manifestations, according to the role of each person. Because of its nature, Sacred Scripture immediately comes to mind as a vital force for the Church. At the same time, every act in the ministry of the Word of God must interact in a mutually beneficial and harmonic fashion. Proclamation, catechesis, the liturgy and service in charity (diaconia) have an essential role in manifesting the Word of God.

19 CHAPTER I The Word of God as a Hymn with Many Voices Pastoral Implications The Pastors have the responsibility to help the faithful in acquiring a true, complete and proper understanding of the harmonious workings of the ministry of the Word, enabling them to become attentive hearers of the Word wherever it is proclaimed and to appreciate even the simplest expressions in the Bible.

20 CHAPTER I B. At the centre, the mystery of Christ and the church "In these last days, he has spoken to us by a Son" (Heb 1:2) At the Heart of the Word of God, the Mystery of Christ 11. Generally speaking, Christians know that the Person of Jesus Christ is at the centre of Divine Revelation. However, they do not always know the reason for this importance, nor do they understand in what sense Jesus is at the heart of the Word of God. As a result, they weary themselves in reading the Bible with Christ in mind.

21 CHAPTER I B. At the centre, the mystery of Christ and the church "In these last days, he has spoken to us by a Son" (Heb 1:2) At the Heart of the Word of God, the Mystery of Christ 11. This problem, mentioned in practically all the responses of those consulted, was raised because of two main concerns: firstly, to avoid any misunderstanding from a shallow, spotty reading of Scripture, and, secondly, to indicate the sure way to enter the Kingdom of God and inherit eternal life.

22 CHAPTER I B. At the centre, the mystery of Christ and the church "In these last days, he has spoken to us by a Son" (Heb 1:2) At the Heart of the Word of God, the Mystery of Christ 11. Truly, "this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent" (Jn 17:3). The essential relation in Revelation of the Word of God to the mystery of Christ is proclamation; then, in the course of the Churchs history, the understanding of that proclamation is deepened more and more. The following are a few theological points on this relation, which are clearly applicable in pastoral activity.

23 CHAPTER I At the Heart of the Word of God, the Mystery of Christ 11. According to Dei Verbum, God realized his plan in an entirely gratuitous manner: "He sent His Son,...the Eternal Word, who enlightens all men, so that He might dwell among men and tell them of the innermost being of God (cf. Jn 1:1-18). Jesus Christ, therefore, the Word made flesh...speaks the words of God (Jn 3:34), and completes the work of salvation which his Father gave him to do (cf. Jn 5:36; 17:4)" (DV 4). Jesus took up and completely fulfilled the purpose, meaning, history and plan of the Word of God in his earthly life and, presently, from his place in heaven, because, as St. Irenaeus states, Christ "has brought us everything new in bringing himself to us (S. IRENAEUS, Adversus Haereses IV, 34, 1: SChr 100, 847.).

24 CHAPTER I At the Heart of the Word of God, the Mystery of Christ 11. Gods plan presumes that revelation has a history. The author of the Letter to the Hebrews states: "in many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son" (Heb 1:1-2). It follows then that Jesus as the Word of God derives his meaning from his mission, namely, his purpose is bringing others to the Kingdom of God (cf. Mt 13:1-9); he manifests himself in his words and deeds; he expresses his power in miracles; his task is breathing life into the mission of his disciples, sustaining them in the love of God and neighbor and in the care of the poor; he reveals the fullness of his truth in the Paschal mystery, awaiting its total revelation at the end of history; until then, he guides the life of the Church in time.

25 CHAPTER I At the Heart of the Word of God, the Mystery of Christ 11. At the same time, the Word of Jesus must be understood, as he himself says, according to the Scriptures (cf. Lk 24: 44-49), namely, in the history of the People of God in the Old Testament, who awaited him as Messiah, and now, in the history of the Christian community, which proclaims him through preaching, meditates upon him in the Bible, experiences his friendship and lives under his guidance. According to St. Bernard: In the plan of the Incarnation of the Word, Christ is the centre of the Scriptures. The Word of God, already audible in the first covenant, has become visible in Christ (S. BERNARDUS, Super Missus Est, Homilia IV, 11: PL 183,86.).

26 CHAPTER I At the Heart of the Word of God, the Mystery of Christ 11. We must not forget that "all things were created through him and for him" (Col 1:16). Jesus is central to the cosmos, the King of the Universe and the one who gives ultimate meaning to all reality. If the Word of God is likened to a hymn with many voices, the key to interpretation, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is Christ in the universal character of his mystery. "The Word of God, who in the beginning was with God, is not, in his fullness, a multiplicity of words; it is not many words but a single Word that embraces a great number of ideas of which each is a part of the Word in its totality....and if Christ sends us to the Scriptures, as the written word which renders testimony to him, he considers the books of Scripture as one book only, because all that was written of him is recapitulated in a single whole (ORIGENES, In Johannem V, 5-6: SChr 120, ).

27 CHAPTER I In the Heart of the Word of God, the Mystery of the Church 12. Since the Church is the mystery of the Body of Christ, the Word of God is the proclamation of who she is, the grace of her conversion, the mandate of her mission, the source of her prophecy and the reason for her hope. She is constituted through an intimate dialogue with the Spouse and is made the recipient and privileged witness of the loving, salvific Word of God.

28 CHAPTER I In the Heart of the Word of God, the Mystery of the Church 12. To belong more and more to this "mystery" which constitutes the Church rightly results from hearing the Word of God. In this way, the continuous encounter with the Word is the source of her renewal and the font of "a new spiritual Spring" (BENEDICTUS XVI, Ad Conventum Internationalem Sacred Scripture in the Life of the Church ( ): AAS 97 (2005) 957. Cf. PAULUS VI, Epist. Apost. Summi Dei Verbum ( ): AAS 55 (1963) ; IOANNES PAULUS II, Weekly General Audience ( ): LOsservatore Romano: Weekly Edition in English, , pp. 1-2; Discourse on the Interpretation of the Bible in the Church ( ): LOsservatore Romano: Weekly Edition in English, , pp. 3-4, 6; BENEDICTUS XVI, Angelus ( ): LOsservatore Romano: Weekly Edition in English, , p. 1.). Ad Conventum Internationalem Sacred Scripture in the Life of the ChurchSummi Dei Verbum Discourse on the Interpretation of the Bible in the ChurchAngelus

29 CHAPTER I In the Heart of the Word of God, the Mystery of the Church 12. A keen awareness of belonging to the Church, the Body of Christ, will be effective only to the extent that these different relations to the Word of God are coherently followed, that is, the Word proclaimed, the Word meditated upon and studied, the Word prayed and celebrated and the Word lived and propagated. Consequently, the Word of God in the Church is not an inert deposit but the supreme rule of faith and the power of life which goes forth with the assistance of the Holy Spirit.

30 CHAPTER I In the Heart of the Word of God, the Mystery of the Church 12. In virtue of the Spirit, it grows with the reflection and study of Christs faithful into a deeply personal experience in the spiritual life. (cf. DV 8),

31 CHAPTER I In the Heart of the Word of God, the Mystery of the Church 12. Bishops as men of God who live the Word, bear witness to this in a particular way (Cf. CATECHIMUS CATHOLICAE ECCLESIAE, 825.). Clearly, the primary mission of the Church is transmitting the Divine Word to everyone. History attests that this has taken place over the centuries and continues today with much success and vitality, despite various obstacles.

32 CHAPTER I In the Heart of the Word of God, the Mystery of the Church 12. The opening words of Dei Verbum merit continual reflection and must be faithfully put into practice: "Hearing the Word of God with reverence and proclaiming it with a firm faith" (DV 1). The dual aspects of hearing and proclaiming the Word of God sum up the Churchs essential character.

33 CHAPTER I In the Heart of the Word of God, the Mystery of the Church 12. Undoubtedly, the first place is given to the Word of God. Only through the Word of God are we able to understand the Church. The Church defines herself as a "Church that hears". Only to the extent that she hears, can she also be a Church that proclaims. According to the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI: "The Church does not live on herself but on the Gospel, and in the Gospel always and ever anew finds the directions for her journey (BENEDICTUS XVI, Ad Conventum Internationalem Sacred Scripture in the Life of the Church ( ): AAS 97 (2005) 956.)".Ad Conventum Internationalem Sacred Scripture in the Life of the Church

34 CHAPTER I In the Heart of the Word of God, the Mystery of the Church Pastoral Implications 13. Drawing upon the Word of God, the Christian community is stirred and renewed through discovering the face of Christ. Consequently, St. Jeromes words take on a clear, compelling character: "Ignoratio enim Scripturarum, ignoratio Christi est (S. HIERONIMUS, Com. In Is., Prol: PL 24, 17.)" ("Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ"). In this regard, some pressing pastoral implications are mentioned in the responses to the Lineamenta:

35 CHAPTER I In the Heart of the Word of God, the Mystery of the Church Pastoral Implications to work out a program which considers Jesus own rapport with Sacred Scripture, how he read the Scriptures and how they assist in understanding him; to present simple criteria for reading the Bible with Christ in mind, thereby resolving difficulties in the Old Testament; to help Christs faithful see the Church, under the guidance of her Magisterium, as the essential place for a vital and ongoing proclamation of the Word of God;

36 CHAPTER I In the Heart of the Word of God, the Mystery of the Church Pastoral Implications to provide proper instruction to those Christians who say they dont read the Bible, because they prefer a direct, personal relationship with Jesus; to consider the liturgy as the primary place of encounter with the Word of God, because the Risen Lord is really present in sacramental signs; to emphasize continually in teaching the reading of the Bible, the priority of the Gospels, which are to be read in conjunction with the other books of the Old and New Testaments and the documents of the Churchs Magisterium.


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