By Fr. Roy Cimagala
IN the beginning of the gospel of St. Luke, we are told about how the evangelist took a most careful effort to compile the events of Christ’s words, deeds and life itself so as to assure us of the certainty of the teachings that come from Christ and from our Christian faith. (cfr. Lk 1,1-4)
This should make us realize how important it is for us to have a proper attitude and understanding toward the gospel, or simply the word of God, which is a living word, and not just some historical word. As such, we should realize our need to know it thoroughly, and apply it to our lives and spread it widely, since it is meant for everyone.
We cannot exaggerate how important the word of God is! As the Letter to the Hebrew would put it, “the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any doubled-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (4,12)
What then should be our attitude toward the word of God as recorded in the gospel? I would say that basically it should be the same attitude that we have toward God himself. And the reason is this—since God is absolute simplicity with no division, parts or distinction in his being, his word must be his being, his whole divine substance himself.
We, on our part, make some distinction between God in his being and in his word because that is how we understand things in general. We need to distinguish and analyze things, breaking them into parts, before we can arrive at the whole, integral picture.
In fact, in the Trinitarian nature of God, the Second Person whom we refer as the Son, is described also as the very Word of God, the Divine Word, who is God himself insofar as he perfectly and fully knows himself and all his creation. So, God’s word is God himself!
The word of God which now comes to us with some human and natural instrumentalities through the Gospel or the Sacred Scripture together with Tradition and the Church Magisterium, should be regarded in that light.
Its primary purpose is to bring us back to God. And so more than just giving us some helpful worldly knowledge, it gives us the ultimate spiritual knowledge we need to return to God.
We need to live the word of God if we are serious in corresponding to what God wants us to be—that is, that we be his image and likeness, that we be “another Christ.” I suppose it would greatly help if we develop the habit of reading and meditating on the gospel everyday, convinced that it is indispensable to us. Otherwise, we would just be at the mercy of our human and worldly wisdom, which if not inspired by God’s word cannot go far before it brings us to some trouble that can even be disguised as something good.
We also have to realize that proclaiming the gospel is one central duty of every follower of Christ. After all, our Lord told his disciples just before ascending into heaven: “Go into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mk 16,15)
Though addressed directly to his disciples, we have to understand that these words are meant also, in varying degrees and ways, to all of us, members of Christ’s mystical body, his Church. We should feel the unfading urgency of this command from Christ.