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Scripture research and spiritual growth
September 19th, 2016
By Alex M. Saunders, MD

How marvelous to read in CSF (Mary Pecci, Letters, Sept. 12), that one is not alone doing research on the Scriptures on any weekend! That is, to go beyond homilies that rarely explain; to learn what we need for our own inspiration. To be fair, homilists cannot satisfy everyone in every homily. It is up to each of us, individually, to achieve satisfaction if we wish to grow.

Personal research, however, is a great fear of some in the Catholic hierarchy because it leads to personal interpretation which may not always match dogma. But how else can we satisfy our need to interpret difficult passages that are not explained as we hear them read to us week after week?

In our parish the homilist actually did research on “hate” and gave his results. Don’t worry about individual words. Holy Scriptures are filled with words of exaggeration. It was a form of writing. The same episode in another Gospel (Matthew) uses a different word.

It is also true that languages evolve to more sophistication. Primitive languages tried using words to describe God, and failed. Many who tried used symbols familiar in their time. Unfortunately, the meaning of symbols evolves over time and so we are left with some puzzling readings today.

The meaning of the “hate” passage is clear, and we hear it often repeated in job interviews in our time: “If you come to work here, I want your full commitment to the company.”

Alex M. Saunders, MD
San Carlos


From September 22, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.


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