Friday, 14 October 2016

The Reading of the Scriptures by Fr Felix, O.F.M.Cap. part 12.


Both Testaments alike are the inspired Word of God. The Council of Florence states clearly: "The Holy Roman Church . . . professes that One and the Same God is Author of the Old and the New Testament, i.e., of this Law and the Prophets and of the Gospel: because the holy men of both Testaments spoke under the inspiration of the Same Holy Spirit." (Decree for the Jacobites. Denzinger Bannwart. 16 ed. No. 706). The New Testament itself bears witness to this in Our Lord's own words in the Sermon on the Mount: "Do not think that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets. I am not come to destroy but to fulfil." (St. Matthew 5, 17). Again, when we read the New Testament we must be impressed by the number of citations from, and references to the Old Testament. This is especially true of the Gospel of St. Matthew and of St. Paul's Epistles. St. Matthew in writing his Gospel had in mind the immediate needs of those Jews who were the first converts to Christianity, and in consequence he proved for them that Christ Our Lord is the Messias promised and foretold in the Old Testament Scriptures. St. Paul was well versed in the Old Testament before his conversion. He quotes it very frequently, and uses it with great effect in defending and expounding the Gospel. To understand the New Testament, therefore, it is necessary to read and study the Old. Nor is the interest which we discovered in the study of the New Testament absent from that of the Old. On the contrary, it is, if possible, still greater. It was to the Old Testament Scriptures Our Lord referred when He said: "Search the Scriptures . . . . the same are they that give testimony of Me." (St. John 5, 39). This testimony of Our Divine Redeemer has an imperative claim on us. Again, the heroic virtues of many of the saints of the Old Law are proposed in the New Testament for our admiration and imitation, e.g., the faith of Abraham (Hebrews 8, 10) ; the patience of Job (St., James 5, 11); the modesty of Sara. ( I St. Peter 3, 6).