VATICAN CITY, DEC. 3, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here are translations of the synodal propositions 6-10, which were submitted to Benedict XVI at the end of the world Synod of Bishops on the “Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church,” held in October at the Vatican.
ZENIT will publish a translation of the remaining propositions in subsequent services.
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Patristic reading of Scripture
Not to be neglected for the interpretation of the biblical text, is the Patristic reading of Scripture, which distinguishes two senses: literal and spiritual. The literal sense is that signified by the words of Scripture and found among the scientific instruments of critical exegesis. The spiritual sense concerns also the reality of the events of which Scripture speaks, taking into account the living Tradition of the whole Church and of the analogy of the faith, which implies the intrinsic connection of the truths of the faith among them and in the totality of the design of divine Revelation.
Unity between Word of God and Eucharist
It is important to consider the profound unity between the Word of God and the Eucharist (cf. “Dei Verbum,” 21), as expressed by some particular texts, such as John 6:35-58; Luke 24:13-35, in such a way as to overcome the dichotomy between the two realities, which is often present in theological and pastoral reflection. In this way the connection with the preceding Synod on the Eucharist will become more evident.
The Word of God is made sacramental flesh in the Eucharistic event and leads Sacred Scripture to its fulfillment. The Eucharist is a hermeneutic principle of Sacred Scripture, as Sacred Scripture illumines and explains the Eucharistic mystery. In this sense the Synodal Fathers hope that a theological reflection on the sacramentality of the Word of God might be promoted. Without the recognition of the real presence of the Lord in the Eucharist, the intelligence of Sacred Scripture remains unfulfilled.
Word of reconciliation and conversion
The Word of God is word of reconciliation because in it God reconciles all things to himself (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20; Ephesians 1:10). God’s merciful forgiveness, incarnated in Jesus, raises the sinner.
The importance of the Word of God in the sacraments of healing (Penance and Anointing) must be underlined. The Church must be the community that, reconciled by that Word that is Jesus Christ (cf. Ephesians 2:14-18; Colossians 1:22), offers all a space of reconciliation, of mercy and of forgiveness.
The healing force of the Word of God is a living call to a constant personal conversion in the listener himself and an incentive to a courageous proclamation of reconciliation offered by the Father in Christ (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:20-21).
In these days of conflicts of all kinds and of inter-religious tensions, in fidelity to the work of reconciliation fulfilled by God in Jesus, Catholics are committed to give example of reconciliation, seeking to share the same human, ethical and religious values in their relationship with God and with others. Thus they seek to construct a just and peaceful society.
Encounter with the Word in reading sacred Scripture
This Synod re-proposes forcefully to all the faithful the encounter with Jesus, Word of God made flesh, as event of grace that reoccurs in the reading and hearing of the Sacred Scriptures. Taking up a thought shared by the Fathers, Saint Cyprian reminds: “Attend assiduously to prayer and to “lectio divina.” When you pray you speak with God, when you read it is God who speaks with you” (“Ad Donatum,” 15).
Hence, we sincerely hope that from this assembly a new season will spring of great love for sacred Scripture on the part of all the members of the People of God, so that from their prayerful and faithful reading in time the relationship with the very person of Jesus will be deepened. In this prospective, it is hoped — in so far as possible — that each of the faithful will personally possess the Bible (cf. Deuteronomy 17:18-20) and enjoy the benefits of the special indulgence connected with the reading of Scripture (cf. “Indulgentiarum Doctrina,” 30).
The Old Testament in the Christian Bible
Jesus prayed the psalms and read the laws and the prophets, quoting them in his preaching and presenting himself as the fulfillment of Scripture (cf. Matthew 5:17; Luke 4:21; 24:27; John 5:46). The New Testament has drawn constantly from the Old Testament the words and expressions that allow it to recount and explain the life, death and resurrection of Jesus (cf. Matthew 1-2 and “Es passim”; Mark 6:3; Luke 24:25-31). At the same time, of the rest, his death and resurrection “gave these same texts a fullness of meaning that at first was inconceivable” (Pontifical Biblical Commission, “The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church,” III A 2).
Consequently, apostolic faith in Jesus is proclaimed “according to the Scriptures” (cf. 1 Corinthians 15) and presents Jesus Christ as the “yes” of God to all the promises (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:20).
For these reasons, knowledge of the Old Testament is indispensable for those who believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because — according to the word of St. Augustine — the New Testament is concealed in the Old and the Old is revealed in the New (cf. “Quaestiones in Heptateucum,” 2, 73).
Hence, we hope that in the preaching and in catechesis due account will be taken of the pages of the Old Testament, explaining it appropriately in the context of the history of salvation and help the People of God to appreciate it in the light of faith in Jesus Lord.