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Remember God’s Word

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Dear friends, our memory is one of the many gifts given to us by God. Imagine you are driving back home and you forget to take the right turn. Or. Or you are cooking the favourite dish of your husband and suddenly you can’t recall the ingredients. Even worse, you are filling up a form and you suddenly can’t remember your own name. How frustrated you would feel? Besides, it will cause you so much of loss and inconvenience. In fact, life becomes even more challenging for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease as the person loses gradually the ability to even carry on a conversation or respond to the environment.

Now, while everyone is using this indispensible God-given gift in everyday life, many do not realize that it is even more important for our spiritual lives. In fact, we find God using the words ‘remember’ or ‘do not forget’ in so many places in the Bible. More importantly, God wants us to remember His Word because the Book of Deuteronomy says… These teachings are not empty words; they are your very life. Obey them and you will live long in that land across the Jordan that you are about to occupy." (Deuteronomy 32:47). The land across the Jordan signifies eternal life, a life which God has called each of us to possess by obeying His teachings. But to obey these teachings, one must remember them.

At the time of Jesus, the largest crowd recorded in the Bible that came to listen to His teachings was a crowd of 5000 men not counting the women and children. However, in our times, it may be impossible to count in one single day the number of those listening or reading the Word of God, which is available in great abundance not only because of the many across the world who are preaching it but more because of the modern technology. By means of WhatsApp, Facebook, Zoom, YouTube, etc., the Word of God is accessible at the touch of our fingers. But how much does one remember the Word of God after reading it or listening to it and then put it into practice? That is the question that remains unanswered.

St. James, in his letter, speaks about people who listen to the Word of God but do not obey it… If you listen to the word, but do not put it into practice you are like people who look in a mirror and see themselves as they are.  (James 1:23). And then he adds… They take a good look at themselves and then go away and at once forget what they look like.  (James 1:24). Note the word ‘forget’. It means that ‘remembering the Word of God’ is very important pre-condition if one has to obey it. Many people listen attentively and are even touched by what the preacher tells. But then, after the preaching is over, most of them simply forget. If you ask them a little later what was preached, they will not be able to recollect.

Remembering the Word of God must be followed by meditation. That is when God opens our minds and we are able to understand what God is trying to say… Devote all your time to studying the Lord's commands and thinking about them. He will give you the insight and wisdom you are looking for. Sirach 6:37. In Mark 4, we find Jesus telling the parable of the sower to the crowd. But after the teaching was over we are told that some of those who had heard Him came to Him with the twelve disciples and asked Him to explain the parables. (Mark 4:10). And Jesus did explain. But before explaining, He said to them… "You have been given the secret of the Kingdom of God," Jesus answered. "But the others, who are on the outside, hear all things by means of parables,  (Mark 4:11). This confirms what we read just now in Sirach 6:37.

The fact that the few returned back to Jesus to gain more understanding of the parables indicates that they were thinking deeply about them even after Jesus had finished giving the teaching. The rest of the crowd left because they had other things to remember – their daily chores, business, celebrations, etc. which they had set aside temporarily in order to listen to the teachings of Jesus. There was no time to remember, no time to think deeply. Of course, they were waiting to go again to listen to more of the teachings of Jesus wherever they would get the opportunity. But the Word of God for that day was forgotten.

To be continued in the next Issue...