Thursday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
(I Timothy 2:8-15; Mark 12:28-34)
“…the word of God is not chained,’” St. Paul tells his disciple Timothy in today’s first reading. It is not chained because, first, it is an idea and not a body that can be locked down. It also is not chained because it is liberating. It moves people to act. It foresees an end that is both desirable and attainable. It promises life in the full – the absolute joy of knowing God. Yet its vision is so threatening to some that they actually try to prohibit it. This occurred in El Salvaor during the 1970s and 1980s.
El Salvador was experiencing severe social oppression. Many rich families wanted to maintain their economic privilege at the expense of the poor. Church leaders organized small faith communities among the poor s a pastoral service. These groups reflected on the word of God together. They dwelt upon passages articulating God’s love for the oppressed. At the same time an armed revolution assisted by Communist governments was gathering momentum. Both movements - the small faith communities and the revolution -- spoke of social liberation. But their means and ends differed. Nevertheless, the wealthy’s armed militia started to persecute poor people for possessing a Bible. Heroes like Archbishop Saint Oscar Romero spoke out against this repression.
We too might see the word of God as a source of liberation. It can free us from the anxiety of not having all that others have. It also assures us that the really important goal is eternal life. It cannot be chained. On the contrary, it can unchain us from useless worries and prideful ambitions.