August 2003

A God who speaks with us as with friends! The people of Israel were proud to have a God who was so close to them, who gave them such just laws and norms (see Dt 4: 7-8), as we read in this passage from Deuteronomy, which is part of the Old (or First) Testament.
Precisely because the word of God is extraordinarily fascinating there is the danger of believing that all we have to do is to listen to it; instead the word of God must be lived. This is the point.
In the New Testament as well, the apostle James warned the first Christians: “Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves” (Js 1:22). Moses taught the same thing when he addressed these words to all the Israelites:

«Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees which I am teaching you to observe»

It is clear then that we must listen to the word of God and live it.
Besides, Jesus himself is present in his words, they are Jesus himself. His words are eternal, therefore suited to every moment. They are universal, valid for everyone over and above every race and culture. They are not simply exhortations, suggestions, commands, as human words might be; his words contain and transmit Life.
At the end of his great sermon on the mount, Jesus left us a famous parable in this regard (see Mt 7: 24-27). He compares a house built on sand to people who enthusiastically listen to his words, but then do not translate them into life. The winds and rains come, that is, other easier and alluring human proposals, doctrines that enchant and deceive with their passing glitter, and these people pitifully collapse because the Gospel message did not become life in them.
Then Jesus compares people who put his words into practice to a house built on rock: there might be trials, temptations, doubts, confusion, but these people remain steadfast along the way of the Gospel, they continue to believe in the words of God because they have experienced how true they are.
Living the word of God leads to an authentic revolution in our lives and in that of the community with whom we share the Gospel.

The words of Jesus should be lived with the simplicity of children! He tells us: “Give and gifts will be given to you” (Lk 6: 38). We have experienced so often that the more we give the more we receive! We have never been empty-handed because each time we gave to someone in need we found ourselves with a hundred times as much. And when we didn’t have anything to give? Didn’t Jesus say: “Ask and it will be given to you” (Mt 7:7)? We asked … and our home was filled with all kinds of goods so that we could continue giving to others.
When we are weighed down by a worry over some particular situation which we feel surpasses our strength, by anguish which paralyzes us, let us remember the words of Jesus: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened…” (Mt 11:28), and, casting all our worries onto him, we will see peace return and with it the solution to our problems.
The word of God breaks our ego, it annuls our selfishness, and replaces our way of thinking, of wanting, of acting with that of Jesus. By living it, a divine logic takes over, a Gospel mentality sets in and we see everything with new eyes. Our relationships change: by living the word of God together and sharing the consequent experiences, people who didn’t know one another before discover that they are brothers and sisters, they become a people, the living Church. One single word of the Gospel lived by many could change the course of history.
If the word of God is put into practice it works miracles. Our hearts are filled with a new, boundless trust in the love of our Father who intervenes and helps his children every day. His words are true; if we live them, he too puts them into practice, to the letter, and he gives us what he promises: the hundredfold here on earth, the fullness of life and the never-ending joy of heaven.

Chiara Lubich

 

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