Admonition Seven

Years ago I was invited to lunch with the teaching staff at a seminary in Kenya. I walked in on the middle of a good-natured debate.  On one side were the two scripture scholars – on the other side of the debate was the entire remainder of the staff.  The proposition was whether studying Scripture was the shortest route to losing one’s faith. Everyone was a faithful believer and the debate was all in good fun taking the opportunity to poke fun at their friends.

I was asked to render a Solomon-like decision on the question before the staff.  Of course, being a guest my inclination was to declare a Gordian knot of a tie (getting myself out of the firing line), but they were having none of that. So being a simple guy sitting in a room full of PhDs, I thought to present a simple question to one of the Scripture scholars.  I asked, “Is Jesus God?”  Fr. Peter’s answer was well formed, offered insight, and caution – and went on for 20 minutes.  At the end of the soliloquy, he asked me what did I think of his reply.  Innocently, I responded, “For most of us the answer is simply ‘Yes.’”  The rest of the room howled in laughter as did Fr. Peter.

Fr. Peter continued to do what was his to do, teaching young seminarians the love of God revealed in our sacred texts. I returned to the slums of Nairobi where I lived and worked, do what was mine to do among the poor and refugees there.  Each of us returning to God our gifts, returning them to Whom they rightly belong.

Admonition 7: Let Good Action Follow Knowledge

1 The apostle says: The letter kills, but the spirit gives life.

2 Those people are put to death by the letter who only wish to know the words alone, that they might be esteemed wiser than others and be able to acquire great riches to give to their relatives and friends.

3 And those religious are put to death by the letter who are not willing to follow the spirit of the divine letter but, instead, wish only to know the words and to interpret them for others.

4 And those people are brought to life by the spirit of the divine letters who do not attribute every letter they know, or wish to know, to the body but, by word and example, return them to the most high Lord God to Whom every good belongs.

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