Tuesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time [II]
Jeremiah 30:1-2,12-15,18-22 + Matthew 14:22-36
August 7, 2018
Those who were in the boat did Him homage, saying, “Truly, you are the Son of God.”
Very unusually, on this weekday in Ordinary Time the Church provides two options for the Gospel passage. The following reflection is based upon the former option (noted above). The latter option is Matthew 15:1-2,10-14.
The Church bears a rich treasury of interpretation of Sacred Scripture. By that I don’t simply mean that the Church has accumulated many different, though equally insightful, interpretations of Scripture from the writings of her many members (although that’s true).
The Church’s treasury of Scripture interpretation is based upon a four-fold view of the Holy Bible. The first view of the Bible looks at the literal meaning of a Scripture passage. In the case of today’s Gospel passage, for example, the literal meaning of the passage is an historical event involving Jesus interacting with His disciples, and miraculously walking on water. One could make a long and spiritually fruitful meditation solely about the literal meaning of this passage.
However, the other three views of Scripture consider different “spiritual senses” of a given passage. That doesn’t mean, of course, that the literal meaning doesn’t deal with spiritual matters. But the three spiritual senses of Scripture relate the literal meaning to a broader meaning that the passage doesn’t directly touch upon.
For example, at the end of today’s Gospel passage, those who were in the boat did Jesus homage, saying, “Truly, you are the Son of God.” Above and beyond the literal meaning of this event, one can “see” the boatful of disciples confessing the divinity of Jesus as symbolizing the Church Militant (that is, the Church on earth). Around this basic symbol are several complementary symbols: for example, the water on which the boat rests, and the weather surrounding the boat, as the turbulent world in which the Church Militant lives. Then again, the confession of faith is a symbol of the Sacred Liturgy of the Church, which receives Jesus into the Church’s “boat” in the sense of the faithful receiving God’s Word and His Word made Flesh.
It is easier to ponder the literal sense of Scripture than the three spiritual senses. But with the guidance of the Church’s saints, the spiritual senses invite us into great theological riches.