"They have listened to the word, but anxieties over life's demands, and the desire for wealth, and cravings of other sorts come to choke it off; it bears no yield." —Mark 4:18-19
Jehoiakim took the scroll containing Jeremiah's prophecies, cut it up, and burnt it (Jer 36:23). The consequence to Jehoiakim's desecration of the word was: "No descendant of his shall succeed to David's throne; his corpse shall be cast out, exposed to the heat of the day, to the cold night. I will punish him and his descendants and his ministers for their wickedness" (Jer 36:30-31). Like Jehoiakim, the Seleucids also tore up and burnt "any scrolls of the law which they found" (1 Mc 1:56). They were defeated and their leader died of extreme depression (1 Mc 6:8-11).
We choke God's word by our sinfulness. We should not do violence against the word but yield to it. "Let the word of Christ, rich as it is, dwell in you" (Col 3:16). "Humbly welcome the word that has taken root in you" (Jas 1:21). At Mass, we have the custom of kissing the Bible after the reading of the Gospel. However, we must respect God's word not only by reverencing the Book but also by living and obeying the message of the Scriptures. Whether we choke God's word through worldly cares or physically desecrating the Scriptures, we still "choke it off" so that His word "bears no yield" (Mk 4:19).
Let's not do violence against God's word. The Lord says: "This is the one whom I approve; the lowly and afflicted man who trembles at My word" (Is 66:2).
Prayer: Father, may I kiss the Scriptures not out of habit but out of love.
Promise: "Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before Me." —2 Sm 7:16
Praise: Twenty-seven years ago, Edgar promised the Lord he would read Scripture every day, and he has kept that promise.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape Spiritual Anorexia on audio AV 101-1 or video V-101.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 30, 2007
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