Over the past few days, we've heard Jesus being challenged and questioned by the people. On Tuesday, it was asked whether or not Jews should pay the secular tax. Yesterday, it was asked what would happen to a woman who had died having seven husbands. Today Jesus is asked, "Which is the first of all the commandments?"
Throughout our days, we encounter all sorts of questions sometimes posed by others sometimes posed by ourselves. Some are simply questions about our circumstances: what time is it? What are you doing this weekend? Some are deeper, engaging sometimes hidden aspects of our hearts and the highest truths of reality: how will you love your spouse today? How will you love those who hate you? Why do you believe in God? How does God want me to spend my money? Why should we defend the unborn's right to life? We faced with these questions; we need to find the truth.
When we have ultimate questions about the meaning of our lives, morality, and the highest Truths of the universe, where do we turn to find the answers? We can try to make up our own. We could imbibe the messages of the world. Jesus turns to the Scriptures. When asked which is the first of all the commandments, Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6: "Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength." Jesus meditated on the Scriptures frequently and memorized them so that when He was posed with a question He could answer with truth.
The Sacred Scriptures were written by men inspired by the Holy Spirit and therefore in matters necessary for our salvation, they are inerrant. The Bible has God as its primary author, so what is written in it is true and worthy of belief. The Lord is able to instruct us by these means. The Scriptures are an answer to the Psalmist's prayer which is the prayer of every faithful Christian, "Your ways, O LORD, make known to me; teach me your paths, Guide me in your truth and teach me…" By reading the Sacred Scriptures, we find true answers to the questions we encounter.
When we approach the Scriptures, it is important to approach them in humility. The Lord "guides the humble to justice, he teaches the humble his way." The proud are they who consider themselves not Revelation to be the measure of truth. On the other hand, the humble receive God's Word as a pearl of great price. They listen attentively to its proclamation and savor every Word. They love God's word, and they memorize it. They etch it into their heart so that it will always be there.
This is important! Often we, as Catholics, fail to memorize Scripture, but doing so is to fail to imitate Christ. By memorizing verses of the Bible, we keep the truth ready at hand so that we are always able to give an account of the hope that is in us. Moreover, it can be a buffer against temptation. When Jesus is tempted in the desert, he responds to Satan by speaking the truths contained in the Sacred Page. Finally, it can be an inspiration to love. By memorizing a favorite verse, we can easily recall the Truths of our faith: that God is merciful, that we have been made His Sons, that He died for our sins, and that we await an eternity with him in heaven. Recalling these truths inspires us to fall more deeply in love with God, and to fall in love with God is critical. The first of all commandments is "You shall love the Lord your God." Letting the Lord guide us in His truth by memorizing and meditating the Sacred Page enables us to fulfill that commandment.