Reading the scriptures daily and on Sundays in the lectionary is one of the great reforms begun by the Catholic Church after the Second Vatican Council. It’s part of the church’s effort to seek renewal through the Word of God. But it’s going to take us awhile to get used to it.
For one thing, reflection on the daily and Sunday readings is a new way to reflect on our faith. The scriptures are old and we live in a new world. Pope Benedict, describing his own search for “the face of God” in scripture said you have to “trust” you will find it there.
We have to trust we will find God and enter God’s presence as we take up this daily discipline. “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” God promises to speak today. The daily scriptures are daily bread, and they offer a varied diet. We go from Matthew, preoccupied with the tensions of his church with Pharisaic Judaism, to Luke preoccupied with an outreach to the gentiles, to the other New Testament writings, each with its own purpose.
Then there are the varied readings from the Old Testament. They can be hard to understand, but the church wisely keeps them side by side with the New Testament. They hold a treasure all their own. We need to understand them better.
We need help to appreciate this daily bread, this varied diet served up. We need people like those people on the cooking shows on television who not only tell you what to eat but make those strange dishes appetizing and appealing. We need good homilists and good catechists.
We need a “lamp, shining in a dark place.”