By Fr. Alex Radulescu - During the COVID-19 quarantine, our parish has continued the Bible study via the internet. I am so glad we can still meet and learn the word of God. Many of our parishioners who were not able to attend it in the past are now interested, since the sessions are online and there is no need to travel in the evening.
Some of our attendees have been with us since the beginning (pun intended), when Fr. Nick started with Genesis, some fifteen years ago! They have learned a lot over the years, and this is obvious when we have discussions in class because they are able to give some very good answers.
Lately we saw some new attendees, thanks to the online classes. And some of them are shy, waiting for others to answer, not daring ask a question so they do not look bad. It seems normal when you join a group to wait and see what others are doing and slowly integrate. But it can also be frustrating when you realize how much you missed out.
I recently had a discussion with one of the newer attendees who is so happy she can join online. She was so impressed with the class that she felt the need to call and offer positive feedback (I am not selling anything, don’t worry). But then the frustration kicked in. She felt so bad because she did not know how to answer some of the questions. She even thought that this is not for her, but rather it is for the more advanced in the Faith.
At that point, I said to her: “Please, do not think this way. On the contrary, this is the reason why you should join us every week!” I continued: “Do you think the others knew more when they started? Of course not.” She felt more at ease after that.
One of the most famous Scriptural quotes comes from John 3:16. But the following verse is just as important: “for God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:17) Christ’s mission was (and still is) to bring us back to the Father. He did not come to just point out our mistakes, our lack of knowledge, our iniquities. If He was to do that, who would be able to pass the test? On the contrary, God sent His Son to take on His shoulders our own shortcomings and fill what is lacking with His loving grace.
The story of our salvation was recorded in the Holy Scriptures. God’s word is in there. His message of love and hope is there. That is why is so important to learn it and get its proper interpretation in the Church. And this is what we are trying to do in the Bible study classes. We begin with a prayer, asking God to guide us and instruct us though His Holy Spirit. We also ask Him to move our hearts in the direction of His message.
Brothers and sisters, I urge all of you to make an effort and learn about our Faith by joining our Bible study. Be bold and ask questions, do not feel ashamed for not knowing all the answers. God's message was meant for all, rich or poor, experts and novices, teachers and students, the elites and the uneducated. We are all called to salvation. Come and seek Christ for He did not come to condemn but to save us. Amen.