XII Ordinary General Assembly Of The Synod Of Bishops, 5-26 October 2008 - Fouad TWAL, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem (JERUSALEM)

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Twal, Fouad

Città del Vaticano       10/10/2008

“Verbum caro hic factum est” (Jn 1:14), this sentence propels us to the threshold of the great Mystery of the Incarnation of the Word of God in the Holy Land where He chose to come and “he lived among us” (Jn 1:14).
On this Holy Land: “At many moments in the past and by many means, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; but in our time, the final days, he has spoken to us in the person of his Son” (Heb 1:1-2). Finally, on this Holy Land, the Holy Spirit was given to the Apostles who “will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you” (Jn 14:26).For all these reasons, the act of reading, of studying and of meditating on the Word of God, receives a unique value and fertility, when done in the Holy Land, which preserves not only history but also the geography and the topography of salvation.
The Israel-Palestinian conflict creates problems in reading and understanding certain passages of the Bible. Thus, Arab Christians, in general, often find difficulties in reading the Old Testament, not because of the Word of God, but because of the political and ideological interpretations.
Two principles protect us from political and ideological interpretations:
1. To read and interpret the Word of God in the light of Christ. Jesus said: “'Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them” (Mt 5:17). Christ took back and summarized all categories of the Old Testament in Himself, to given them new impulse and mew meaning (He “achieved” them). The Old Testament is read and understood in Him and through Him.
2. The second principle for interpretation is the Church. Any interpretation outside the Church is a dangerous one.
To conclude, I would like to take the occasion of the presence of the Holy Father and of all the Synod Fathers to make an appeal for the Holy Land and ask for more prayer, more solidarity and more pilgrimages to help us be the witnesses of Christ, Messiah, Savior “not only in Jerusalem but throughout Judaea and Samaria, and indeed to earth's remotest end” (Act 1:8).

[00128-02.03] [IN101] [Original text: French]

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