Sunday, November 21, 2010

Reading the Scriptures With the Heart and the Head

Starting on the Feast of Christ the King to the Saturday before Advent, the Korean Church will celebrate Bible Week. It will be an opportunity for Catholics to do more reading and living with the Scriptures. This year we start the week with the apostolic exhortation of Pope Benedict's Verbum Domini (The Word of the Lord), a reflection on the 2008 Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on "The Word of God in the Life and the Mission of the Church."

The two Catholic papers had editorials and articles on how we can make Scripture a part of our lives. This year the emphasis will be on living the Scriptures rather than simply knowing what they say.

The Peace Weekly, along with their article, had the picture of a young Japanese woman who had received the prize for  excellence in the Suwon Diocese Scripture Competition.  She had only been baptized  a year and yet, in the parish preliminaries, was picked to represent the parish in the diocesan competition. She was also made a small community leader.

In 2008, she was in a traffic accident that required a  serious operation. This made her think about her purpose in life; she realized not everything was under her control. Although she had no interest in religion, she went to the Catholic Church and asked for instructions. She finished the course and was baptized with the  baptismal name Rita.

She  met her husband in Canada, where she was studying English, and were married in 2003. Her husband was a tepid Catholic, who had been away from the Sacraments for 15 years. Seeing his wife's effort to learn about Catholicism motivated him  to return to the Church.

The day before the finals of the competition she was notified that her maternal grandfather had died. She didn't know whether to forget the finals and leave for Japan or to stay and compete in the finals. When her husband said he would get the tickets and arrange  everything, she felt better about staying, which allowed her to finish the competition and win. This brought joy despite the sadness of her grandfather's death.

This is just one example of how many Korean Catholics have taken the study of Scripture seriously. In the  past they have used many catch-phrases: "let's read, write and be close to the Scriptures." Now, the words are: "Let us live the Scriptures." After many years of effort in getting to know the Scriptures, we have learned to appreciate the necessity of approaching the Scriptures less with the head and more with the heart, if we are to bring meaningful change into our lives.

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