So often as a preacher of God’s Word, I feel a certain responsibility for ‘my message’ to lead to conversion. I’m learning how misguided is such thinking! After Thursday night’s Chrism Mass, I was visiting with someone and ‘heard’ myself in conversation coming to ‘insight’. God’s WORD needs simply to be proclaimed! The WORD is what carries the power to change, conform, convert and give LIFE.
It is the same in simply speaking the word Christ to others. There is power in the Name of Jesus. It is not so much the wisdom of us who speak, but the power of the Name we profess and proclaim.
In other words, it is not so much the eloquence of the preacher, but the power of the WORD. This is to take seriously our belief that God’s WORD is alive! This understanding also lends insight to the meaning of the Incarnation…The WORD became flesh, and lived among us. Jesus is the living WORD of the Father.
As the WORD became alive in the person of Jesus for the work of salvation, this WORD did not disappear after the Resurrection. Rather, the WORD is Eternal, and thus, Isaiah could proclaim:
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)
So alive was the Living Christ in St. Paul, and such was his own understanding of the power of the Word, that he was able to proclaim:
If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel! (1 Cor 9:16)
May these holy days open us fully to the power of God’s Word.