Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr (Memorial)
You have taken away the key of knowledge.
Scribes played an important role in first-century Judaism. They copied sacred texts like the Torah and the Talmud. Because of the importance of these texts, their work had to be meticulous. If their copies contained any errors on three or more pages, the entire scroll had to be redone. If even two letters touched each other, the document could be declared invalid. But scribes not only transcribed text. They also interpreted the Law, took on the role of judges at times, and wrote their own commentaries on the texts.
It’s ironic, then, that Jesus reprimands these “scholars of the law” in today’s Gospel (Luke 11:52) for missing the entire point of Scripture (Luke 11:46). The scribes were supposed to hold “the key of knowledge” that would open the door to a deeper understanding of God’s word (11:52). But they failed to use that key, either for themselves or for the people. Here was the Messiah standing right in front of them, and these men refused to recognize him.
Now, we don’t have to be learned scholars to understand the Scriptures. What’s more, we have all been given a kind of “key of knowledge” at our baptism—the Holy Spirit. It’s the Spirit’s role to take the words that we read on the page and write them on our hearts. Even when we read the same passage many times over, the Spirit can make new and different words, phrases, and meanings jump out at us. We just have to be willing to carve out a time and a quiet place so that this can happen.
If you don’t do so already, get into the habit of calling on the Spirit when you open your Bible. Just pray, “Come, Holy Spirit” several times slowly and quietly. Then choose a passage and read it prayerfully. While you may not be moved by everything you read, over time the Spirit will unlock more and more of God’s word for you. He may even lead you to join a Bible study or give you insights through your Bible’s footnotes or a good commentary.
God is so good to us! He has graciously provided us with a “key” that will open up treasures that will last a lifetime.
“Holy Spirit, guide me today and every day as I pray with God’s word.”
Word Among Us