Like many my age I grew up with limited exposure to the bible and scriptures. In Catholic school the bible was not a subject studied regularly and in church we were all confronted with a language barrier as Mass was said in Latin. Thank God for Vatican II.
It was not until later in my life that I became interested in the scriptures and got involved in a night time bible study lead by our former Director of Religious Education, Barb Aluotto. Barb had such a wonderful understanding of scripture that showed me a different side of God. I grew up with a fear of God as we were constantly reminded in school and church. He was a demanding and vengeful God that punished you for not following his word. Barb showed me through the scriptures that our God was just the opposite, a loving and merciful God who is constantly calling me to be with him and who forgives my gravest sins. It was truly an ‘ah ha’ moment for me. Our God actually loves me!! Because of my interest in scriptures I entered the Master’s program at the Seminary and took several classes on both the Old and New Testament scriptures. It was great fun for me and provided additional learning as well as many new resources.
My interest in scripture continues and I continue to read. While I have a great love of scripture I have also seen how it can be used to induce fear and control people. You can find quotations in scripture to support just about anything you want to say or do. God had only one message—his love for us and when scripture is used for hatred, control or fear it is not what God intended. My interest in our bible study today is to help others understand the message of God in the scriptures. Sometimes we have to read between the lines or dig a little below the surface to get that message but His love is always in there.
I would invite all of you not involved in ministry to give it a try. Take a risk and trust God. Fear often keeps us from doing God’s work so do not let it stop you. It can be fun and rewarding. If you cannot find a ministry you like, start your own as there are many unfulfilled needs. Do it today!
For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jerimiah 29:11
Mike Hazard grew up from birth at St. Andrew and attended Catholic schools and colleges that prepared him for life. One of the fun things he does is to lead the weekly Wednesday morning Bible Study. He is also on the RCIA Team and leads the Scripture discussions. He is retired and enjoying life with his wife Pam. They are blessed with children and grandchildren and wonderful friends from both St. Andrew and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parishes.