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The WORD. The TRUTH.

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Amen is one of the shortest words in the Bible, just three Hebrew letters: אמן (‘ãmën). But at the same time, it is one of the Bible’s most powerful words; it is the Bible’s supreme expression of assent. By saying Amen we mean much more than simple agreement. It is a remarkable word because it allows us to succinctly articulate “Praise the Lord” and “I agree”.

This powerful word comes from the Hebrew root אמן (a-m-n) that is also related to the word אמונה (emunah) which means “faith”. Interestingly, Amen is classified as an adjective which describes states and moods. This word is not another “Yes” or “No”. When a person says Amen, they commit themselves to a state of conscious agreement, judgement and faith. In the Bible, having faith is not just a question of being spiritually awake, but of being firmly committed to one’s religious identity. This comprehensive sense of the word Amen can be seen in the first reading from prophet Nehemiah (8:2-4, 5-6, 8-10), where Ezra read the Torah before the presence of the convened assembly in Jerusalem at the moment of restoration after the Jews returned to their homeland. And as in a solemn ritual, the community expressed their recognition and formal acceptance of Yaweh’s invitation to a covenant recommitment by saying Amen.

In the gospel (Lk 1:4, 4:14-31) Jesus presents himself as the one to whom the Isaian prophecy points. Just as he accepts his designated role, he implicitly ask for his hearer’s acceptance. But as in the later part of the chapter will indicate (4:28f), the response of the people did not match the submisssion of Ezra’s hearers.

Today’s readings stress the power and truthfulness of God’s Word and in a very real sense we all stand under the judgment of the Word. As the scripture is read, it is directed to each one of us and our responsibility is to examine our own conversion in the light of the Word. Can we respond AMEN with firm conviction and express not only our willingness but to really center our lives in the saving Word.

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Veritas Editorial

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

President of Radio Veritas

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