Transform lives through God’s word
The American Bible Society’s mission statement is “to transform lives through God’s word” and in his greetings to members of the society in the Vatican on Wednesday, Pope Francis encouraged them to pursue and even intensify their commitment, to that mission.
The Pope went on to stress that “truly the word of God has the power to transform lives, and quoting from the Letter to the Hebrews, he said, it is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword…” The Pope underlined that “no other book has the same power.” In its word, he continued, “we recognize the Spirit who inspired it: for only in the Spirit can Scripture truly be received, lived and proclaimed, for the Spirit teaches all things and reminds us of all that Jesus said.”
Double edge sword
The Pontiff explained to those present that God’s word “is honey, offering the comforting sweetness of the Lord, but also a sword bringing a salutary unrest to our hearts. For it penetrates to the depths and brings to light the dark recesses of the soul. As it penetrates, it purifies.” The double edge of this “sword”, he said, may at first wound, but it proves beneficial, for it cuts away everything that distances us from God and his love.
Finally, Pope Francis noted that God’s word judges thoughts and intentions. “The word of life is also truth and his word “creates” truth in us, dissipating every form of falsehood and duplicity. Scripture constantly challenges us to redirect our path to God. ”Letting ourselves “be read” by the word of God, said the Pope, enables us to become in turn “open books”, living reflections of the saving word, witnesses of Jesus and proclaimers of his newness.