Commentary on the Gospel of
“Do you understand what you are reading?”
“How can I, unless someone explains it to me?”
Scripture is revealed. So is its understanding. One does not break open the Word and understand it by oneself. Just as no one can come to Christ unless he or she is drawn by the Father, no one understands Scriptures unless the understanding is given to him or her.
And who is the giver? The Holy Spirit. We know that despite living with Jesus and listening to him 24x7, the disciples understood nothing—until the Spirit revealed it to them. Another way to receive understanding is through the mediation of the Magisterium, which itself depends on the Holy Spirit for understanding. Still another way is our own little prayer groups, Bible study groups, parish communities, and family prayer circles where we break open the Word with others. “They shall all be taught by God.”
Hence let no one claim that he or she received Christ and his Truth by one’s own effort. It is God who draws them, directly or through the mediation of others. Nor shall one say that he or she understands God’s word all by himself or herself. It is the Spirit that gives it to them, directly or through mediation. So is how the Ethiopian was taught.
(Note: This reflection is a revised and updated version of the author’s own reflection for the same readings in the Bible Diary 2013 [Claretian Publications]. All rights reserved. He may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org)