“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation.’” (2 Timothy 3:14-15).
In today’s first reading, St. Paul writing to Timothy from prison notes: “Anyone who desires to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12). In this letter, St. Paul recalls his painful experiences for the sake of preaching the Gospel. “You have observed my… persecutions, my sufferings which befell me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra, what persecutions I endured; yet from them, the Lord rescued me.”
As the book of Sirach says: “My son if you come forward to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for temptation.” (Sirach 2:1). Some translations would say: “prepare yourself for an ordeal.” As much as serving God is the greatest life that can ever be, the truth is that as Jesus says: “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24).
Being a Christian has never and will never be something easy. Living out the dictates of our Christian calling requires a lot of personal sacrifices, this is because it is not the popular way of the world and it attracts the world’s hatred. “Because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:19).
If we must be good Christians, we cannot avoid the tough and difficult route, we cannot avoid suffering and pain. “For the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (Matthew 7:13-14).
Regardless of all that we have to suffer, we must never forget that even though for God’s sake, “we are being killed all the day long; regarded as sheep to be slaughtered, … in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:36-37). God is our Good Shepherd who would never forsake His flock (Psalm 23).
From the above quotations, you can already see that moving on as Christians in such a troubled world as ours demands that we soak our feet firmly in the Scriptures. Hence, in admonishing Timothy, St. Paul tells him never to forget or underplay the importance of Sacred Scripture.
The best approach to Scriptures is to remember that “all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable…” As my Scriptures teacher, Sr. Mary Jerome Obiora would say: “Read the Bible on your knees.” Read it not as any book but as God speaking to you. If you think that God is silent in all these things happening around us today, it is simply because you have stopped reading the Bible. As St. Paul says, the Bible is for teaching, reproof, correction, training in righteousness and it makes us complete and equipped for good works. A Christian who does not read the Bible is not complete, he soon gives up and falls apart when challenges come.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, teach me to see you and love you in my neighbours. Amen. Bible Study: 2nd Timothy 3:10-17, Psalm 119, Mark 12:35-37).