The Gospel of Misinterpretation

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Friday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1: I Sam 24: 3-21; Gospel: Mk 3: 13-19

The great reformation of the 17th century rested on the principle of personal interpretation of the Bible. One of the basic teachings of the Catholic Church rejected by the reformers was the teaching authority of the Church. But from then on we find various sects arising based on their own personal interpretation on the scripture, some even going contrary to the basic teachings of Christianity. That is why we have the often said dictum: ‘even devil can interpret the scripture.’ In today’s first reading too we find the friends of David making such an interpretation. The Word of the Lord to David, “Look I will deliver your enemy into your hands and you will do with him as you see fit,’ is interpreted by his friends as the time given to David to kill Saul and thus take revenge. Though ‘thou shall not kill’ is the teaching of the commandments, the friends of David interpreted the Word of God in a different way altogether. In this context, the Gospel acquires a deeper meaning. Jesus chose the first disciples whom he wanted to send them out to preach. ‘To preach’ the Word of God is the primary authority and duty given to the apostles which is handed over to the successors of the apostles, the bishops who today form the Church’s Magisterium. With the advent of reformation, personal interpretation of the scripture has taken much momentum. Though application of scripture to one’s life through a personal reading of the scripture is to be encouraged, experience has proved that there is always a chance for error. So our personal reading should be corroborated by recourse to the teaching of the magisterium.

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