3rd Week in Ordinary Time
The mystery of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you.
In World War II, the Nazis believed the secret code they were using to transmit radio messages was unbreakable. But men and women at the now famous Bletchley Park in Britain were finally able to crack the code, and their work is credited with shortening the war by up to two years.
Have you ever felt as if you were trying to crack a secret code when you read Scripture? It’s not always easy to understand what the Gospel writers, St. Paul, or any of the Bible’s authors, for that matter, were trying to convey. But Jesus told the disciples—and us—that “the mystery of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you” (Mark 4:11). That’s why he sent his Holy Spirit, the ultimate “Code Breaker.” He is the One who enlightens us as we read, opening our hearts and minds to understand and internalize God’s word.
So the first and most important thing you can do is to call on the Holy Spirit every time you open the Bible. Just as the disciples asked Jesus for an explanation of his parable, you can ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you read. He can turn what might seem at first glance a dense paragraph into a clear and eloquent passage that moves you deeply.
Second, invest in a Catholic study Bible with footnotes as well as a good Bible commentary. These are invaluable aids that will help you understand the history, context, and genre of each book you read. You might also consider joining a Bible study or studying one-on-one with a friend or your spouse.
Third, get in the habit of regularly praying with Scripture. For example, the parable in today’s Gospel (Mark 4:11) of the sower and the seed can be the basis of a rich meditation. You might ask yourself, “What kind of soil have I been lately? Am I letting anxiety about worldly things or the lure of riches get in the way?”
Finally, be persistent. You might not always understand everything you read, but don’t get discouraged. Keep asking the Holy Spirit for help. Believe that over time, the Spirit will continue to reveal the mysteries of his kingdom to you.
“Thank you, Holy Spirit, for opening my heart and mind to God’s holy word.”
2 Samuel 7:4-17
Psalm 89:4-5, 27-30