The WORD in Other Words by Fr Chito Lorenzo SVD (Japan)
Friday Week 25 Ordinary Time, Hg 2:1-9, Lk 9:18-22
The Merriam— Webster dictionary defines theology as “the study of religious faith, practice, and experience; especially, the study of God and of God‘s relation to the world.” When we study something, we usually rely on outside sources other than our own experiences. To become a priest, I had to do four years of theological studies and with a diploma to show. But all these studies transpired within an academic setting. How much are really retained of the things we study in school? I guess most of the things we remember are those that have been useful in our daily lives, either personally or professionally.
Thus theology presents us with the possibility that while we may have had the opportunity to study the divine in an academic setting, that does not necessarily mean that we are church-going religious persons. To study who Jesus is, and to have an experience of Him in a personal way are very different things. This is the challenge that the gospel presents to us today. Jesus is also asking each of us, “Who do you say that I am?” When we answer, “You are the Messiah,” do we say this because we read it somewhere, or do we say it because we have experienced in our lives the saving power of God?
Religion is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We experience Christ‘s love and mercy in the Sacrament of Penance; we experience him as teacher when we read the Gospels; and we meet him in all the people we encounter. May the Spirit always lead us to see Christ‘s presence in our lives.