Wednesday, June 8, 2011

One in the Word

When Jesus prayed to the Father "that they may be one just as we are one" (John 17:11), He realized that this unity would come about because He had given his disciples "your word". In reflecting on this passage, I see that the two - unity and the word- are intertwined. When some people think about the inspired word of God found in Sacred Scripture, they see it almost as a personal preserve. We have a Catholic Bible, Protestant Bible, Hebrew Scriptures and various pieces of each. We tend to forget that God's word is always and everywhere One Word. No one can claim to hold and understand the Word of God in its entirety, but we are all united in that One Word.
It is always interesting to listen to various people of faith who come from different traditions and denominations when they speak about their Sacred Scriptures. The most interesting thing is that, in these discussions, we find we have much more in common that we have differences. And that point is exactly what Jesus expressed in His prayer. Scripture is supposed to unite us. But that cannot happen if we do not become familiar with it. For this reason, it is important for each of us to not only read but also study scripture, diving into the meaning of the words and expressions. There are hundreds of commentaries that can help us, although we have to realize that all commentaries are flawed. After all, how can we ever fully grasp the meaning of God's Word when we are flawed human beings?
The important point is that Jesus gave us the direction to unity. A love for, and knowledge of Scripture can and should bring us together with others. After all, if we truly live according to what is contained in Sacred Scripture, we will naturally become more and more one in the Word.

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