Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bible Reflections from Fr.Tom on Psalm 119, 130

“The unfolding of your word gives light. It teaches the simple.”

Ps 119, 130.

Unfolding of your word: the first image that comes to mind is unfolding our clothes before we can wear them. So is the word of God. The Word of God must be unfolded, opened up, unraveled, explained so that we can understand them. Often we are too lazy, too languid and too uninterested to take the trouble to reflect on the word and make it digestible. It is like the food we eat, unless it is digested, it can do us grave harm to our health. So also, the Word of God unless we take the trouble to ‘unfold’ it, it remains useless for us. Jesus explained that the seed of God’s word not understood would be stolen by the birds of the air if they fell on the foot path of life ( cf Mt 13.19).

Word of God must be received with joy and humility and treasure it in the heart and meditate on it. Mother Mary is the model of this attitude. Of her Luke says: Mary remembered all these things and thought deeply about them” Lk 2.19 (cf Ps 119.15: I meditate on your preceptsand consider your ways..) She remembered them and thought deeply about them. This is the process of unfolding. Thought deeply: this is meditating. Some one has aptly said: if you know how to worry, you know how to meditate. Meditating is turning over an idea in our mind over and over again – as we do when we worry – until the idea becomes clearer and clearer with time. “By simple definition, meditation is continued or extended contemplation, especially of a spiritual or devotional nature. In practical terms, meditation involves concentrating on a single thought or mental image to the exclusion of all others.”

Our modern world militates against this process: we want precooked food, instant noodles and coffee and the like. We do not want to take the trouble to weigh, think and assimilate the word we hear. To us, alas, can be applied what Jesus lamented in Mt 13. 13-16. Jesus was saying why he speaks to the crowds in parables. Parables need unfolding to understand: 13This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. 14In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: " 'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. 15For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.] 16But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.

There is another malaise: surfeit of information. We are bombarded with an avalanche of information that was never available before. We hardly digest the message we have just received when another one comes with pressing urgency. In order to do what Mother Mary did we need silence of the heart and mind to receive the word of God and profit from it. We need to become more and more choosy about what we expose ourselves to; choosy in what we want to receive and choosy in what we want to meditate upon.

The Word of God is quite unlike human word. We need the help of the Holy Spirit to listen, treasure, ponder over and put it into practice. We need the Lord to open our minds (Lk 24.45; Acts 16.14) to hear and be transformed. Then the word of God becomes light that lightens our path: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Ps 119.105).

Such wisdom is available only for the simple hearted, the humble of spirit, those who hunger and thirst for God’s word: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled (Mt 5.6).

No comments: