By Kaelanne Jordan, firstname.lastname@example.org
“What you have come to in your graduation, I pray is mission, that you have not graduated and now you’re gone, but you have now come to the place of mission to go into the world and bring the fruit of your labour and knowledge for the good of the Church.”
Archbishop Jason Gordon made this pronouncement to the Catholic Bible Institute’s (CBI) graduating class of 2022. The July 23 ceremony was held via Zoom platform.
Drawing reference to the Gospel reading (Mt 13:24–30), the Archbishop observed while faithful accept God’s will, submitting “is a different story”.
“It’s different. To accept it is the way of God is the matter of intellect. Submit is a matter of the will. How many times we know what is right, but we don’t submit to it,” he commented.
The Archbishop then invited the graduates to reflect on the question: ‘How has God, the Sower, planted in me?’.
He reminded them if the Word is planted on the edge of the road, or among the thorns and the brambles, or in some other way, if it is not planted in the “good soil”, then accepting and submitting will not happen.
Accepting and submitting to the will of God, the Archbishop emphasised, can save your souls. “…and if you ask the question, ‘Why should somebody study the Bible?’, you know what the answer is? ‘So that it can save their souls’.”
Archbishop Gordon underscored that one of the things that faithful have not yet done great at as a Catholic church is to give scripture the prominence it deserves.
On the other hand, he acknowledged that for the last 35 years, the Catholic Bible Institute has done “exceptionally well”, in giving the Word of God the prominence it deserves.
“So you must study the Bible because the Word of God is something alive and active. And it can judge secret emotions and thoughts and that means it can sort us out….”
He added, “…if you are not steeped in God’s Word, you will be all over the place. How much bad spirituality, bad breakdown, bad prophesy, bad counsel, and advice because people just don’t really understand the Word of God and have not accepted and submitted it.”
He addressed some of the assertions people say about the Bible and Catholics. That “the Catholic and them chain up the Bible” and that Catholics do not understand the Bible. While he highlighted that the latter is not true, the former is “absolutely true”.
“We did chain up the Bible because the Bible is absolutely precious…you have to put a chain on that…and we wanted to ensure it remained in the church for everyone to have access to the Word of God….”
Quoting St Jerome’s philosophy that ignorance of scripture is ignorance of God, Archbishop Gordon emphasised the Bible is a moral compass for the pilgrim on their journey to God.
He highlighted while there are many ways of encountering Christ, when it comes to the direction of the journey and the tools of discernment that are required, “the Bible is second to none”.
According to Archbishop Gordon, the message to Jeremiah from the Lord in the First Reading (Jer 7:1–11), can be said to us in T&T today.
“And what Jeremiah is saying to the people is that don’t put stock in the fact that you in the temple and that you are Charismatic, Legion of Mary, that you are a priest or bishop…. don’t put stock in that…put stock in the fact that you are ready to accept and submit to the Word of God,” the Archbishop said.
He invited the graduates to imagine if in every parish, there was an active Charismatic Renewal Prayer group bringing faithful to worship. And if in every parish, there was an active Bible Study group. “And imagine when people come and wet their mouth on holy scripture and learn to submit and accept…and all of a sudden, Caroni too small…”
The 35th graduation ceremony comprised graduates of Bible, Evangelisation and Counselling Skills studies.
In her brief address to the graduates, Catholic Bible Institute’s Principal, Dr Wendy-Ann Jones implored the graduating class to don’t just read the Word, but pray the Word, reflect on the Word, study the Word, accept the Word and obey the Word.