Before his conversion to Christianity, St. Augustine dismissed the Bible as crude and unsophisticated. Then one day an unseen child’s voice urged him to "Take up and read, take up and read." A Bible was nearby. He read it, his heart was set on fire, and soon thereafter he became a Catholic.
Sometimes we ignore the Scriptures as St. Augustine once did. Maybe we think it’s too hard to understand- like the Ethiopian in today’s reading from Acts. (Thankfully, he asked for help!) Or perhaps we dismiss the Scriptures as too out of date to really address our contemporary needs.
Today's gospel reading, however, reminds us that God himself speaks to us through the Bible. When speaking of the bread of life, Jesus was referring not just to the Eucharist. He was speaking also of his gift of the Word- his personal revelation of God that nourishes and sustains us on our journey of faith. We encounter this Word in Sacred Scripture- God’s Word in human words- written in the past, but with the power to change our lives today.
Catholic psychologist Robert Wicks explains that although the Scriptures are ancient, they speak of an eternal wisdom, radiating from a God who is ageless, and ever new. When we ignore Scripture, he says, our faith becomes rootless, God becomes vague, and we’ll feel lost in times of crisis. Or as St. Jerome said so bluntly: "Ignorance of the Scriptures, is ignorance of Christ."