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 III CHAPTER."— Presentation transcript:
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 III CHAPTER VIII The Word of God and the grace of communion
CHAPTER VIII The Word of God: The Bond of Ecumenism 54. The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI has given primary importance to the full, visible union of all disciples of Jesus Christ and its impact on the witness to the Gospel (Cf. BENEDICTUS XVI, Pontificatus Exordia: Sermo ad S.R.E. Cardinales ad Universumque Orbem Catholicum ( ), 5; AAS 97 (2005) ). Christians have two realities in common: the Word of God and Baptism. Through embracing these gifts, the ecumenical movement can reach fulfillment. The farewell discourse of Jesus in the Upper Room forcefully illustrates that this unity is manifested through a common witness to the Word of the Father, spoken by the Lord (cf. Jn 17:8).
CHAPTER VIII The Word of God: The Bond of Ecumenism 54. According to the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI: "Listening to the Word of God is a priority for our ecumenical commitment. Indeed, it is not we who act or who organize the unity of the Church. The Church does not make herself or live of herself, but from the creative Word that comes from the mouth of God. To listen to the word of God together; to practice the Lectio Divina of the Bible, that is, reading linked with prayer; letting ourselves be amazed by the newness of the Word of God that never ages and is never depleted; overcoming our deafness to those words that do not correspond with our prejudices and our opinions; to listen and also to study, in the communion of believers of all ages; all these things constitute a path to be taken in order to achieve unity in the faith as a response to listening to the Word (BENEDICTUS XVI, Homily: Our World Awaits the Common Witness of Christians ( ): LOsservatore Romano: Weekly Edition in English, , p. 5.).
CHAPTER VIII The Word of God: The Bond of Ecumenism 54. Generally speaking, it is gratifying to see the Bible being used today as a major point of encounter in prayer and dialogue between the Church and ecclesial communities. The faith that unites us and the differences in interpreting of the same Word are an invitation to rediscover together the reasons responsible for divisions. At the same time, progress done in ecumenical dialogue with the Word of God can undoubtedly lead to other benefits.
CHAPTER VIII The Word of God: The Bond of Ecumenism 54. A good example of this, in the last decade, is the positive effect of a commonly-agreed-upon Traduction oecuménique de la Bible (TOB), and the collaboration of various Christian Bible Associations which have fostered understanding and dialogue among the different confessions.
CHAPTER VIII The Word of God: The Bond of Ecumenism 54. However, the common bond in ecumenism, from the beginning of the last century until the present, is the communal invocation of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit, who fosters the spirit of ecumenism among Christians. According to the Second Vatican Council, "this change of heart and holiness of life, along with public and private prayer for the unity of Christians, should be regarded as the soul of the whole ecumenical movement" (UR 8).
CHAPTER VIII The Word of God: Source of Dialogue between Christians and Jews 55. Special attention is given to the Jewish people. Christians and Jews are both children of Abraham, grounded in the same Covenant, because God, who is always faithful to his promises, has not revoked the first Covenant (cf. Rm 9-11) (Cf. IOANNES PAULUS II, Allocutio Mogontiaci ad Iudaeos habita Veteris Testamenti Hæreditas ad pacem et iustitiam fovendas trahit (Mains, ): AAS 73 (1981) ).
CHAPTER VIII The Word of God: Source of Dialogue between Christians and Jews 55. According to Pope John Paul II, "this people was gathered together and led by God, the Creator of heaven and earth. Thus its existence is not a mere fact of nature or culture, in the sense that through culture man displays the resources of his own nature. It is a supernatural fact. This people perseveres in spite of everything because they are the people of the Covenant, and despite human infidelities, the Lord is faithful to his Covenant" (IOANNES PAULUS II, Ai partecipanti allincontro di studio su Radici dellantigiudaismo in ambiente cristiano ( ), 3: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, 20/2, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Città del Vaticano 2000, p. 725.).
CHAPTER VIII The Word of God: Source of Dialogue between Christians and Jews 55. Christians and Jews share a major part of the canonical books of the Bible. Christians refer to their "Holy Scriptures" (cf. Rm 1:2) as the Old Testament. This close relationship based on the Bible gives a unique character to the dialogue between Christians and Jews.
CHAPTER VIII The Word of God: Source of Dialogue between Christians and Jews 55. In this regard, the Pontifical Biblical Commissions document, entitled The Jewish People and their Sacred Scriptures in the Christian Bible (Cf. PONTIFICIA COMMISSIO BIBLICA, Le peuple juif et ses Saintes Écritures dans la Bible chrétienne ( ): Enchiridion Vaticanum 20, EDB, Bologna 2004, pp ) reflects on the close association of the two in faith, which is equally mentioned in Dei Verbum (cf. DV 14-16).
CHAPTER VIII The Word of God: Source of Dialogue between Christians and Jews 55. Recognizing Jesus of Nazareth to be a "son of the Jewish people " (Ibidem, 2, p. 524; cf. RATZINGER J., Jesus of Nazareth, Doubleday, New York 2007, pp. 101ff.) can lead to a better understanding of his Person. Jesus is and always will be a Jew.
CHAPTER VIII The Word of God: Source of Dialogue between Christians and Jews 55. Particular consideration should be given to the following two points. Firstly, the Jewish understanding of the Bible can be of assistance in the Christian understanding and study of the Bible (Cf. Cf. PONTIFICIA COMMISSIO BIBLICA, Le peuple juif et ses Saintes Écritures dans la Bible chrétienne ( ) 22: Enchiridion Vaticanum 20, EDB, Bologna 2004,, pp ). In some cases, ways to study Sacred Scripture together are being developed and can be further developed providing occasion to learn from each other, while closely respecting eachs differences.
CHAPTER VIII The Word of God: Source of Dialogue between Christians and Jews 55. Secondly, efforts need to be made to eliminate every form of anti-Semitism. The Second Vatican Council emphasized that the Jews "should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures" (NA 4).
CHAPTER VIII The Word of God: Source of Dialogue between Christians and Jews 55. On the contrary, Pope John Paul II often made reference to the fact that, because of Abraham, we can and should become a source of blessing for each other and the world (Cf. IOANNES PAULUS II, Messaggio agli Ebrei polacchi in occasione del 50º Anniversario dellinsurrezione ( ): Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, 16/1, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Città del Vaticano 1993, p. 830: "As Christians and Jews, following the example of the faith of Abraham, we are called to be a blessing for the world (Cf. Gen 12: 2ff). This is the common task awaiting us. It is therefore necessary for us, Christians and Jews, to be first a blessing to one another." ).
CHAPTER VIII Interreligious Dialogue 56. Making reference to what the Magisterium of the Church has expressed up until now (cf. AG 11; NA 2-4) (Cf. CONGREGATIO PRO DOCTRINA FIDEI, Declaratio Dominus Jesus ( ), 20-22: AAS 92 (2000) ), and the various responses which arrived, the following points call for reflection and evaluation.
CHAPTER VIII Interreligious Dialogue 56. The Church, sent to bring the Gospel to all creation (cf. Mk 16:15), encounters a great number of followers of traditional religions and those which possess sacred books with their own way of understanding them. Everywhere she encounters persons who are actively searching or simply awaiting the "Good News".
CHAPTER VIII Interreligious Dialogue 56. In every case, the Church feels herself duty-bound to the Word which saves (cf. Rm 1:14). Positively speaking, an effort should be made to discern the "seeds of the Word" (semina Verbi) among people, which can serve as a genuine preparation for the Gospel (Cf. CONGREGATIO PRO CLERICIS, Directorium Generale pro Catechesi ( ), p. 109: Enchiridion Vaticanum 16, EDB, Bologna 1999, pp ). Religions and spiritual traditions which especially merit attention because of their age and diffusion, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Taoism, ought to be objects of study by Catholics, in light of a faithful, respectful dialogue.
CHAPTER VIII Interreligious Dialogue 56. In particular way, "the Church regards with esteem also the Muslims. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to humankind" (NA 3). As Christians and Jews, Muslims also look to Abraham, seeking to imitate him in his submission to God whom they worship, above all, with prayer, alms and fasting. Although they do not recognize Jesus as God, they venerate him as a prophet and honor Mary his virgin mother (cf. NA 3). They await the day of judgment and value the moral life.
CHAPTER VIII Interreligious Dialogue 56. The dialogue of Christians with Muslims and members of other religions is an urgent need, providing mutual understanding and working together in promoting religious, ethical and moral values, thereby, contributing to the building of a better world.
CHAPTER VIII Interreligious Dialogue 56. The encounter in Assisi in 1986 is a reminder that hearing God must lead to eliminating every form of violence, because his Word becomes active in the heart through the promotion of justice and peace (Cf. BENEDICTUS XVI, Nuntii ob Diem ad Pacem Fovendam Nella verità, la pace ( ): AAS 98 (2006) 56-64; La persona umana, cuore della pace ( ): LOsservatore Romano ( ), pp. 4-5.).
CHAPTER VIII Interreligious Dialogue 56. The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI has said: "We must seek paths of reconciliation and learn to live with respect for each other's identity" (BENEDICTUS XVI, Address at a Meeting of Representatives of some Muslim Communities ( ): LOsservatore Romano: Weekly Edition in English, , p. 9).
CHAPTER VIII Interreligious Dialogue 56. When considering the Bible in relation to the sacred texts of other religions, due care is required so as not to fall prey to syncretism, superficial approaches or a distortion of the truth, because of various conceptions about the inspiration of such sacred texts. Particular attention is given to the many sects at work in different continents, who take up the Bible in an improper manner and apply methods at odds with the Church.
CHAPTER VIII Interreligious Dialogue 56. The Bible is not exclusively for Christians; it is a treasure for all humanity. Through fraternal and personal contact, it can become the source of inspiration for those who do not believe in Christ.
CHAPTER VIII The Word of God: Leaven in Modern Cultures 57. Throughout the centuries the book of the Bible has entered cultures, so much so as to inspire various fields of knowledge, including philosophy, pedagogy, science, art and literature. Biblical thought can so penetrate as to become the summary and soul of culture itself.
CHAPTER VIII The Word of God: Leaven in Modern Cultures 57. In an essay on the Encyclical Fides et Ratio, the then Cardinal Ratzinger wrote: "Already in the Bible is formulated a patrimony of pluralistic religious and philosophical thought coming from the various cultures of the world. The Word of God develops in the context of a series of encounters with the mans search to respond to his ultimate questions. It does not fall directly from heaven, but is properly a synthesis of cultures " (RATZINGER, J., Allocutio Fede e Ragione in occasione dellincontro su "La Fede e la ricerca di Dio" (Roma, ): LOsservatore Romano ( ), p. 8.).
CHAPTER VIII The Word of God: Leaven in Modern Cultures 57. The economic and technological influence of a widely diffused mass-media, strongly inspired by secularism, calls for an intense dialogue between the Bible and culture. At times, this dialogue can be dialectical but it is always full of potential in proclaiming the Word, because of its richness in meaning. In this way, the Word of the Lord can prove to be a freeing experience.
CHAPTER VIII The Word of God: Leaven in Modern Cultures 57. To do this, the Word of God must enter as leaven in a pluralistic and secularized world, in the modern areopaghi, bringing "the power of the Gospel into the very heart of culture and cultures" (IOANNES PAULUS II, Adhort. Apost. Catechesi Tradendæ ( ), 53: AAS 71 (1979) 1320.), to purify them, elevate them and make them instruments of the Kingdom of God. This task requires an inculturation of the Word of God which is done in a serious manner, so as to adequately prepare a person to weigh opposing factors and to clearly sets forth the Christian mystery and its beneficial effects in peoples personal lives.
CHAPTER VIII The Word of God: Leaven in Modern Cultures 57. The process requires research in the so-called "history of effects" (Wirkungsgeschichte) of the Bible on culture and on a common ethos, for which the Bible is rightly referred to and valued as the "Great Code," especially in the West.
CHAPTER VIII The Word of God: Leaven in Modern Cultures 57. According to Pope Benedict XVI: "Today more than ever, reciprocal openness between the cultures is a privileged context for dialogue between people committed to seeking an authentic humanism, over and above the divergences that separate them. In the cultural arena too, Christianity must offer to all a very powerful force of renewal and exaltation, that is, the Love of God who makes himself human love" (BENEDICTUS XVI, Discourse to the Pontifical Council for Culture ( ): LOsservatore Romano: Weekly Edition in English, , p. 4.). Many centers for culture throughout the Catholic world are undertaking this work with great seriousness and merit.
CHAPTER VIII The Word of God and Human History 58. During the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI described the Church as the "servant of humanity (PAULUS VI, Homilia ad Patres Conciliares ( ): AAS 68 (1966) 57.) guiding the world towards the Kingdom of God, according to the measure of Jesus Christ, the Perfect Man (GS 22). The Church, then, recognizes the mark of God on history, resulting from the freedom of the individual which is sustained by divine grace.
CHAPTER VIII The Word of God and Human History 58. In this context, the Church is aware that the Word of God is read in the events and signs of the times with which God manifests himself in history. According to the Second Vatican Council, "to carry out such a task [serving the world], the Church has always had the duty of scrutinizing the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel. Thus, in language intelligible to each generation, she can respond to the perennial questions which men ask about this present life and the life to come, and about the relationship of the one to the other" (GS 4).
CHAPTER VIII The Word of God and Human History 58. Immersed in human events, she therefore must "decipher authentic signs of God's presence and purpose in the happenings, needs and desires in which this People has a part along with other people of our age" (GS 11). In this way, exercising her prophetic role by means of her members, she will be able to help humanity encounter in history the way leading from death to life.
CHAPTER VIII The Word of God and Human History 58. In this regard, the Holy Spirit calls the whole Church to proclaim the Word of God as the source of grace, freedom, justice and peace and the safeguard of creation. The Church is also to put the Word of the Lord into practice in various ways, in collaboration with all people of good will.
CHAPTER VIII The Word of God and Human History 58. The Churchs members draw sustenance, above all, from the words and example of Jesus himself and use as a reference point and a source of encouragement the first words spoken by God in the Bible in creating the world and the human person: "God saw that...it was good...very good" (Gen 1:4-31). Through the due means of culture, the Bible, then, provides inspiration and motivation in the duty to promote justice and human rights, to participate as Catholics in public life and to care for the environment as a commonly shared heritage.
CHAPTER VIII The Word of God and Human History 58. In this way, the Word of God, planted by Christ as the seed of Gods Kingdom, makes its way through human history (cf. 2 Thess 3:1). When Jesus returns in glory, that Word will resound in an invitation to participate fully in the joy of the Kingdom (cf. Mt 25:24). In response to this sure promise, the Church cries out in ardent prayer: "Maranatha" (1 Cor 16:22) "Come Lord Jesus!" (Rev 22:20).
CONCLUSION "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him" (Col 3:16-17).
CONCLUSION 59. In his great goodness, the Triune God wished to communicate to humanity the mystery of his life hidden for ages (cf. Eph 3:9). In his Only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, God the Father spoke his final Word, through the Spirit, to each person who comes into the world.
CONCLUSION 59. A attentive listening to the Word is fundamental to a personal encounter with God. Living according to the Spirit results from making room for the Word and allowing it to be born in ones heart. No one can fathom the depths of the Word of God. However, only in the previously mentioned manner can the Word take hold of and convert a person, making him discover its riches and secrets, widening his horizons and promising freedom and full human development (cf. Eph 4:13). Knowing Sacred Scripture is one of the charisms of the Church; she transmits this knowledge to believers who are open to the Spirit.
CONCLUSION 59. According to St. Maximus the Confessor: "The Words of God, if pronounced by rote and not heard, have no resonance in the actions of those who merely speak them. But rather, if they are pronounced and put into action, they have the power to dispel demons and help people build Gods dwelling in their hearts and make progress in works of justice (S. Maximus Confessor, Capitum Theologicorum et onomicorum Du Enturi IV, 39: MG 90, 1084.).
CONCLUSION 59. This comes about through an act of praise arising from the heart, without the use of words, a prayer which flows from simplicity and adoration, after the example of Mary, the Virgin who listened so well that every Word of God was taken up and lived in love (cf. Deut 6:5; Jn 13:34, 35).
CONCLUSION 59. The Church, as the community of believers, is called by the Word of God. It is the privileged place in which the believer encounters God who continues to speak in the liturgy, prayer and the service of charity. Through the Word celebrated, especially in the Eucharist, the faithful insert themselves more and more in Church communion which has its origin in the Trinity, the mystery of infinite communion.
CONCLUSION 59. The Father, who in the love of the Holy Spirit creates all that exists through his Son and for his Son (cf. Col 1:16), proceeds in his original work in what the Son himself does (cf. Jn 5:17) on earth.
CONCLUSION 59. His work is his Church, the Church of the Incarnate Word, the Way which in one sense descends from God to man and, in another, ascends from man to God (cf. Jn 3:13). In this life-giving and active Word (cf. Heb 4:12) the Church is born, is built up (cf. Jn 15: 16; Acts 2:41ff) and finds life in abundance (cf. Jn 10:10).
CONCLUSION 59. In response to the mandate of the Risen Lord, the Church, the community of his disciples, guided by the Apostles, is sent to proclaim salvation always and everywhere, in faithfulness to the Word of the Master: "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation" (Mk 16:15).