Today we consider those “places of encounter with Jesus Christ.” Pope Benedict assists us in these two sections.
246. Due to the invisible action of the Holy Spirit, the encounter with Christ takes place in faith received and lived in the Church. With Pope Benedict XVI’s words, we repeat with certainty:
The Church is our home! This is our home! In the Catholic Church we find all that is good, all that gives grounds for security and consolation! Anyone who accepts Christ, “the way, the truth and the life” in his totality, is assured of peace and happiness, in this life and in the next! (BENEDICT XVI, Address at the End of Praying the Holy Rosary at the Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, May 12, 2007)
Not a surprise here. The church–not necessarily the building–is one place in which we encounter the Lord. We might not necessarily be talking of any gathering of Christians, though the divine encounter could certainly be experienced in the midst of people.
One wouldn’t be surprised to hear Pope Benedict urging people to engage and be engaged by the Bible. We are speaking here of liturgy, but also a regular encounter with the Bible at any opportunity: prayer outside of Mass, Bible studies, and other opportunities.
247. We encounter Jesus in Sacred Scripture read in the church. Sacred scripture, “Word of God written by inspiration of the Holy Spirit,”(Dei Verbum 9) is, along with tradition, source of life for the Church and soul of its evangelizing action. To be ignorant of scripture is to be ignorant of Jesus Christ and to fail to proclaim him. Hence Benedict XVI’s invitation:
At the beginning of this new phase that the missionary Church of Latin America and the Caribbean is preparing to enter, starting with this Fifth General Conference in Aparecida, an indispensable pre-condition is profound knowledge of the word of God. To achieve this, we must train people to read and meditate on the word of God: this must become their staple diet, so that, through their own experience, the faithful will see that the words of Jesus are spirit and life (cf. Jn 6:63). Otherwise, how could they proclaim a message whose content and spirit they do not know thoroughly? We must build our missionary commitment and the whole of our lives on the rock of the word of God. (Introductory Address, 3)
If we struggle with the Bible as Catholics, do you suppose it is part of why our evangelization efforts falter so easily?
For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.