| By Pete Burak

Break Open the Word of God

Take a moment and reflect on the famous and startling quote from St. Jerome: “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” If we are to truly know God, we must know his Word. This is not God’s thinly veiled attempt to keep the Bible as the world’s preeminent best-seller, but rather a revelation of the absolute necessity of sacred Scripture. We not only need to understand and learn the words of Jesus, prophets, St. Paul, etc., but we need to be immersed in God’s grand narrative and plan for humanity. Scripture itself tells us that the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, capable of separating bone from marrow. That book collecting dust on your bedside table contains the ever-relevant, always accessible, never unreliable, word of God!

So, with that in mind, here are two passages that have deeply impacted me recently, one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament.

“My child, if you come forward to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for temptation … Accept whatever is brought upon you, and in changes that humble you be patient. For gold is tested in the fire, and acceptable men in the furnace of humiliation. Trust in him, and he will help you.” (Sir 2: 1,4-6)

Bet you didn’t expect a passage from Sirach! Change is all around us. Upheavals, and chaos reign in vast areas of our world and Church. Pain and suffering invade our lives and those whom we love. These ordeals are allowed by our good Father because, as Sirach tells us, he sees as us gold – something precious in need of deeper purification. You don’t throw garbage in the fire to purify it, but to destroy it. When “fire” rages all around us, let’s remember that we are sons and daughters of the King, living under divine providence, and each fire represents an opportunity for greater purification, sanctification and union with our Lord!

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Mt 11:28-30)

Jesus: our Savior, King and Teacher. He longs to walk the perilous road of life with us, showing us how to navigate, embrace and grow from each twist and turn. His burden is light because his Spirit is the only power source capable of helping us live a holy life. He calls us deeper and gives us the strength to get there. This passage is about surrender, and surrendering starts with being gentle on yourself (acknowledging weakness) and possessing the humility to ask for help. His yoke is a joy because now we are yoked to Jesus, instead of just ourselves or the things of the world.

As my pastor, Father Ed Fride, says regularly, “we need to read the Book.” Crack open the word of God, read with expectation and see what God has to say. I just shared two Scriptures that are blessing my life right now, which ones are inspiring you?

Pete Burak is the director of i.d.9:16, the young adult outreach of Renewal Ministries. He has a master’s degree in theology and is a frequent speaker on evangelization and discipleship.