It is 2nd September 2018. The readings are from Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-8; the second reading is from James 1:17-18, 21-22, 27; and the Gospel from Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23. As we are in the Bible month, the readings of the day invite us to prioritise the familiarity with the Word of God. In 1943 Pope Pius XII issued the encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu, encouraging the Catholics to study, teach and to be familiar with the Sacred Scripture that really changed our affinity with the Bible. Some of us truly have become committed to the meditation of the Word of God daily. The awareness and longing to know the Word of God has truly increased in most of our families. There is an honourable place to keep the Bible in our homes for everyone to use it. Vernacular reading of the Word of God has churned our consciences to hear what God is speaking to us. The Holy Scripture always played a vital role in the prayer of the Church as well as in every individual. The Word of God is indeed the Source of peace and hope for us all. St. Jerome teaches us, ‘Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ”. The dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum suggests, first of all venerate, read, listen, proclaim, preach, study and spread the Word of God. The Church never stop proclaiming the Word of God and being nourished by it day in and day out and through the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit, who strengthens us and prepares us, and allow us to listen attentively to the Word to receive the message of life and blessings. The Holy Father Pope Francis encourages us telling, “To be able to proclaim the word of truth, we ourselves must have had the experience of the Word: we must have listened, contemplated, almost touched it with our own hands.” The first reading invites us to listen to God’s Word without any alteration for our convenience that brings life and wisdom to human heart, soul and mind. The Word of God is the abiding presence of the indwelling God among us. “You must neither add anything to what I command you nor take away anything from it, but keep the commandments of the Lord your God with which I am charging you.” (Duet. 4:2). The responsorial Psalm teaches us, “Those who act justly will live in the presence of the Lord.” (Ps.15:1). St. James desires that we receive the Word of God with open mind and must live accordingly not just be satisfied with the mere reading of it. “Humbly welcome the Word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls. Be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.” (James 1:21). The Gospel offers the strength we need to live and improve the quality of living by taking God’s Commandments seriously. Our internal disposition is shaped and shining by the Word of God. Let not our customs, traditions and cultural ethos suppress and submerge the importance of the Word of God in our lives. Are we upholding some human traditions over God’s Word? How much importance do we give for the Word of God in our lives? It is the Word of God that purifies and provides the blessings that our hearts require. When we deprive our hearts and minds of the Word of God, there is a high possibility of accommodating all kinds of evil right within each one of us. God’s Word purifies human hearts. “For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” (Mk.7:23). A life without Word of God is like a desert without water. May we take the Word of God seriously and apply them on to our lives personally. May we give the full cooperation to the Word of God that is required to penetrate all spheres of our lives. May you have a good day. May God bless you.

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