Summary: We need to understand the reason why some sayings of Jesus are put together as they are, sometimes logically, sometimes phonetically.

Monday of 25th Week in Course

Verbum Domini

“Jesus is the Wisdom of God incarnate, he is his eternal Word who became a mortal man.” These words of our Holy Father end the prologue to his letter, Verbum Domini, and give depth to our readings today.

The logia, or sayings of Jesus, were handed down orally in each Christian community to new members as they were initiated into the sacred mysteries. Many of them, perhaps most, were soon written down in the Gospels, the apostles’ letters, and the Acts of the Apostles. The sacred writers realized that Jesus is the Word of God, and so every word that came from His lips was precious and ought not be lost. To encourage memorization of Christ’s words, some of the collections were put together logically, but others that were one-liners were joined phonetically. So, for instance, in the Greek, there is a phonetic connection between these three apparently disrelated sayings: 16 “No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light.

17 For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.

18 Take care, then, how you hear. To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away.”

The word “light” (phos) in the first verse has a similar sound to “become visible” (phaneron) in the second. The word “see the light” (bleposin) in the first verse sounds like the word for “take care” (blepete) in the third.

It’s hard in English to see the connection that is much clearer in the original languages. There are similar word plays, I am told, in the real original languages, Hebrew and Aramaic.

These Gospel words are a warning to every generation of Christians. First, the light we possess, the truth, goodness and beauty of Jesus Christ and His Bride, the Church, must not be concealed. They are the only real truth, goodness and beauty accessible to this world. That is why the new evangelization must succeed, or our world will collapse into a dark age of despair and perversion. Already over $100 billion per year is spent on Internet pornography. Almost 20% of adults are addicted to pornography. You see the results in violence, divorce, and child abandonment. The new evangelization must succeed.

If we didn’t believe that nothing could be concealed, the past ten years should convince us that Jesus was right. There is no such thing as a secret sin. There is no such thing as a victimless crime. Priests, ministers, rabbis, teachers and politicians who thought thirty years ago that their abusive behavior had vanished found out in the past fifteen years that nothing can be concealed. Those who aspire to leadership have to have a ready explanation now for why they put their dog in a carrier on the roof of their car forty years ago, or why they ate one.

So we have to take heed how we hear the Word of God. If we let it run right over our head instead of penetrating to our core being, if we don’t ruminate over the Word and hold our behavior up against its standard, we risk losing even that which we thought to be immovable–our most precious possession, union with God in Christ.

May the blessed Virgin Mary pray with us for the world and its people to be open to Her Son, the Word of God.

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