“You search (ἐραυνᾶτε) the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me; yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” (Jn 5: 39-40)
So, it is possible to seek “life” in the written words we’ve received in Tradition, while forgetting the Author of these words. I can easily miss the point of the Word of God, if I turn it into some abstract philosophy or “system of moral values,” divorced from the lived experience of encountering Christ; of “coming to Him,” that I may truly have life. I think this approach is often a pitfall, – subtle and yet tragic, – of those of us who study theology. What’s “tragic” about this approach is that it turns us into terrible bores, devoid of the Spirit. It’s what turns us into “people talking without speaking,” as Simon & Garfunkel note in their prophetic song, The Sound of Silence.
So let me be reminded today, as I “search” the Scriptures, that I am not dealing with a dead letter, which I can “possess” or “master” as I do some other object or data. No. I am dealing with the voice of a living Being, calling to me in His Spirit, seeking communion with me, and calling me to respond. God, as St. Paul tells us, “has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Cor 3: 6). Let me take some time for heartfelt prayer today, before and as I engage Scripture, that I may truly “have life,” passing it on to others, and truly "disturbing" their "sound of silence."