In three previous articles on the topic “How Does One Konek Konek?” I have shown that one can relate liturgical readings to one another using the “free association of ideas”. I have said that it is a good way for building up in one’s memory “textual connections” that can allow one to understand a particular scriptural passage within the whole of salvation history and in accord with the “analogia fidei”. The liturgy, after all, gives us an objective criterion by which to understand Scriptures using Scriptures. Besides, as we have shown, the lectio divina practised by Guy the Carthusian depends on textual connections that are based on the liturgy.
There is another way of relating the liturgical readings to each other, and this is through the help of the magisterium and the Fathers of the Church. We have shown this latter in some of our articles on St. Augustine’s sermons. An example regarding the former is one provided in a letter from Bishop Gabriel Reyes for Pro-Life Sunday (February 5, 2012). The letter is entitled “Pastoral Reflection for the Pro-Life Sunday: Celebrate Life Sunday”. Below is an outline of the letter:
- Job 7:1-2 Life is drudgery
- Job gives expression to the plaint of every man who suffers injustice
- The dignity of human life demands a quality of life that befits it
- Evangelium Vitae (EV 2): man’s worth must be seen in his transcendent vocation
- Civil laws should not be made that are contrary to God’s intentions
- The most basic human right is the right to life: from its beginning to its natural end. This includes all the stages of life between birth and death (cf. EV 3).
- Exhortation: let us reflect on how we regard life, especially, its sacred character
- let us ask the Lord for healing that, healed, we too may promote the value of life [cf. the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law]
- let us build a culture of life
- St. Paul: woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel (1 Cor.9:16) — the Gospel of Life
- Conclusion: With Mary and through Mary, may we find Christ who is Life.
Note how the readings (even the responsorial psalm) find their place in both direct and allussive references in this letter. The bishop begins the letter with a direct quote from the day’s first reading (Job 7:1-4,6-7). Job’s mention of “my life” leads the author to the topic of human life and its dignity. A quote from John Paul II’s Evangelium Vitae underlines that dignity. Man is after all the only creature that God wants for Himself. Another quote from Evangelium Vitae (no. 3) underlines what the dignity of human life demands and especially the duty of the State to respect it. In the exhortatory part, the bishop alludes to the episode of the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law (Mark 1:29-39). The woman, healed from her fever, “began to serve them”. The response to grace received from Christ is to serve others. In the spirit of Pro-life Sunday, that service is the promotion of a culture of life. This should become a particular witnessing to the Gospel that Paul declares is a task that one cannot lay aside. “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel”, he declares. “Woe to me if I do not proclaim and give witness to the Gospel of Life.” Towards the end of the letter, the bishop adds an allussion to the John 1:1-14 and 14:6 which underlines the duty to proclaim the Gospel of Life as witnessing to Christ. For Christ is the Word of God in whom one finds Life.
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