THE WORD IS A RESPONSIBILITY
( By : H. H. Pope Shenouda )
Any intelligent person searches, with all his might, for a word of benefit. As the
word is for benefit, it is of responsibility.
The Bible says, "For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be
required." (Luke 12:48).
Ignorance is the sin of the one who does not know. As for the one who knows,
his sin is premeditated and is of an evil intention and his responsibility is greater.
Therefore, the sin of preachers, teachers and priests is greater than the sin of the
congregation. The priest says in the offertory, "For my sinsand the ignorance of
Your people". To him, they are sins but to those who didn't know, it is ignorance.
What then? Is it better for one not to know so his sins will be less? St. Augustine
here says, "There is a big difference between the one who does not know and the
one who refuses to know. The one who rejects knowledge will be judged for his
The one who refuses to know God and His ways also proves that he does not
love God and does not deserve Him.
What about the responsibility?
It is true that knowledge is a responsibility. But with knowledge comes a divine
support that helps those who know to carry out and apply.
With the word comes strength, therefore it is said that the word is alive and
effective. "For the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two
edged sword." (Heb. 4:12).
When one accepts the word of knowledge, he also accepts God who gave it and
also the Holy Spirit that gives strength and encouragement to carry it out. That
is how God's word was at the time of the Apostles. With one word from Peter,
three thousand believed. And the word said by St. Stephen could not be resisted
by the three councils. Therefore, ask for the strength of the word to work in you.
God's word has its effect on the conscience. It illuminates and also kindles it. It
stimulates it to do good and protests against any mistake.
God's word will always follow you pressing you. No matter how much you shall
resist, it will surely come back to you even after a long time and stand before
The Lord says, "So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth. It shall not
return to me void." (Is. 55:11).