unintelligible.It is not enough to know the biblical languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, or to study history andarcheology extensively. If the Bible is not read in the living context in which it was written, it cannot be trulyunderstood.For this reason,
(no. 12) stresses that Scripture must be read and interpreted in the same spirit withwhich it was written.Practically, this means that the words of the Old and New Testaments must be understood within the livingtradition of the Church: "There exists a close connection and communication between Sacred Tradition andSacred Scripture. For both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into aunity and tend toward the same end"
, no. 9).Scripture alone, therefore, is not sufficient for understanding the whole truth of Christ and Redemption;Scripture must be understood within a context greater than itself.Intrinsically connected with Scripture and Tradition is the Magisterium of the Church. The Magisterium is theteaching authority of Christ’s Mystical Body extended throughout time. It consists of the pope, and the bishopsin union with Him, as they explain Scripture and other revealed truths, especially in matters of faith and morals.The Holy Spirit actively guides the Magisterium, not only in times of heresy or misunderstanding, but in anordinary way through instructions given by popes and bishops throughout the ages.The Magisterium can never be considered outside of the living tradition of the Church; rather, it is thesupernatural extension and protector of the living tradition. Without the Magisterium, we would have noguarantee that what we believe today was really revealed by Christ to His disciples. This was emphasized byVatican II
Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handedon to it. At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it withdedication and expounds it faithfully (
, no. 10).We will speak more about this connection, but perhaps an example will help. The Old Testament text of Malachi 1:11 says the following: "And in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations."In writing this prophecy, Malachi was working within the tradition of fidelity and loyalty to God’s covenant, aswere all the prophets. Implicit in Malachi’s message is the fact that God should be honored with a generousfulfillment of the ritual laws, without cheating or lukewarmness.Thus, the literal meaning of this text, placed in its historical context, appears to be the correction of unlawful practices when offering sacrifices.Malachi is upbraiding those who would bring animals that were blind, or sheep that were lame, in order tofulfill their duty to God. However, placed within the living tradition of the Church and of Christ the Messiah,this text refers to a greater offering which would be pure and universal - extended to all the corners of the earth -namely, the offering of Christ to His Father for our sins, for He is the Lamb without blemish.Finally, the Council of Trent in 1562, working within this tradition and desiring to address Protestantmisunderstandings about the Eucharist, stated explicitly that Malachi 1:11 referred to the sacrifice of the Mass.For Christ’s offering of himself to the Father in the Holy Eucharist is truly universal, without blemish, and