On the 11th August, Deacon Lazarus conducted a formation on Salvation History in the parish of the Church of Divine Mercy, Penang (CDM). This was a follow-up formation as the parish has been focusing on the theme of the Word of God this year. A total of 67 parishioners attended the formation.
Deacon started the formation with a reading from Matthew 15:21-28. This bible verse is about the Canaanite woman approaching Jesus asking for healing for her sick daughter. Even after Jesus refuses her, the woman remained persistent to ask for the healing of her daughter. Throughout the Bible there are stories of how Jesus reacts to different people. The reading taught us that Jesus was at first silent, then willing to listen and finally changes his mind when we are persistent with him. Deacon reminded us that as Christians we need to be ready to encounter Jesus in our daily lives and we are also required to share the faith, not just to friends and family, but throughout the whole world.
Deacon then addressed the definition of Salvation History, for those present to embrace the context and relate to various stories in the Bible. Salvation history is the pattern of events in human history where God reveals his presence and saving actions. In Salvation history, the presence of Father, Son and Holy Spirit is always active and present in the lives of the people from the beginning of time. The Father nature is to Create, the Son is to Redeem and the Holy Spirit is to sanctify. God’s desire is to love us, period. Salvation History reveals Gods love for his people and we are led into the deeper mystery and wonder of God.
In the old testament, even though God revealed his plan to Adam, Eve, Abraham and Moses, the humanity’s inclination to sin stood in the way of God’s plan. The Israelites continued to turn away from the covenant and the law again and again, even while God continued to send his message through prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. Nevertheless, God remained faithful to the covenant when the people did not remain faithful to him. He gave them the freedom to love and to do good or evil.
Jesus Christ was the fullness of all revelation, revealing God to us throughout his life. The life of Jesus reveals the New Covenant, which brings us to the fullness of salvation. The transmission of Divine Revelation, commanded and entrusted to the Apostles, are communicated through 2 main pillars of faith, i.e. Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture. The bishops, in communion with the Pope forms the Magisterium of the Church, use these pillars to interpret its meaning and these teachings are known as dogma.
Deacon began to explain the first book of the bible. He reviewed in detail the book of Genesis, meaning “the book of Generation of Heaven and Earth” in Greek with more clarity on the key events during that period. This guided those present to develop a critical and questioning mind over what happened during that time and what was written in the bible. He brought about a deeper understanding and coverage of creation, sin, marriage and the family generations that followed. The discussions surrounding the events of lives of Cain, Noah, the Ark and the flood, were also compared to the events and persons of Jesus and Mary. Many examples of real life situations were cross-referenced to the bible stories to allow a deeper understanding of the events.
Deacon was not able to complete even the book of Genesis in this formation. He had earlier explained that the course on Salvation History normally takes a semester to cover in the seminary but this session gave a good foundation for parishioners to move forward with renewed interest. The formation ended with all looking forward to Deacon’s return to complete the formation later in the year.
22nd August, 2018