Bishop Michael O. Jackels of Wichita, Kansas talked about his journey into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ to about 200 young adults during the diocese's monthly Theology on Tap gathering.
Bishop Jackels spoke about the ancient practice of “lectio divina,” which literally means “Divine Reading,” and refers to a method of reading and meditating over the Scriptures.
The church is intent that we have a living encounter with Jesus, the bishop said. “All Scripture is inspired by God,” he said, referring to 2 Tim. 3:16, which continues “and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
Walking around the large room with a hand-held microphone, he urged all those attending to get a Bible, if they didn’t have one, and to start reading it.
Bishop Jackels suggested that the Bible be read daily, to refer to it for answers and direction. “The Lord is speaking to you through it,” he said. “Respond to God in your prayer and action.
The Scriptures are proclaimed at daily and Sunday Masses, “but they are kind of like an appetizer,” Bishop Jackels said walking over to a young adult with a plate of food in front of her. “Keep that away from him,” he jokingly said pointing to her neighbor.
“The readings we have at Mass are a preparation. They’re good, but it’s not enough,” he said. “You get what’s given to you, just like your mother sliding a plate of liver and onions in front of you. You eat this or you go to bed hungry!”
Bishop recommended that the young adults start with one of the Gospels. After peppering recently-ordained Father Ben Sawyer, one of those attending, with several Bible-related questions, Bishop Jackels also recommended that the young adults also read the Psalms, Isaiah, the epistles of Paul, and the Gospels – especially Matthew.
“This is what you focus on,” he said. “There’s probably enough for a lifetime right there.”
Bishop Jackels reinforced the importance of daily scripture readings by providing copies of the New Testament and a small fit-in-your-back-pocket size card describing the steps for lectio divina.
Chris Edmonds, director of diocesan Youth & Young Adult Ministries, said she visited with some of the young adults after the presentation and all were impressed that Bishop Jackels gave New Testaments to everyone.
“Even though most of the young adults probably have a Bible somewhere,” she said, “everyone I saw was clutching the gift as a new-found treasure.
“Some discussed how they would keep these New Testaments in their cars or purses, so they could dive into the scriptures during those times when they had to wait, such as at traffic lights and whenever.” Edmonds added that some wanted to keep a copy on hand to give to those they might encounter who don’t have a Bible.
“It really made the presentation come to life as young people explored ways to fit more scripture reading into their busy lives and share the Good News in a very tangible way. The Bishop gave a wonderful, honest and heart-felt presentation and the gift was like icing on the cake.”
Printed with permission from the Catholic Advance, newspaper for the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas.