January 8, 2020

by Maureen McKew

Back on September 30, 2019, Pope Francis issued an apostolic letter or Motu proprio, titled “Aperuit illis.” The Latin title comes from the opening words of the letter, a quotation from Luke 24:45, “He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” The pope’s letter didn’t get huge press coverage but it is very important to the community of believers who make up our Catholic Church.

According to the Vatican News, this letter established that Sunday in the third week in Ordinary Time, January 26th this year, should be devoted to the celebration, study and spread of the Word of God. The pope said he issued this in response to requests from faithful around the world.

How does one do celebrate the Word of God? The pope has a few suggestions. The Bible should be enthroned in each church to focus the congregation’s attention on the value of God’s Word.  I would add that it should be placed in an honored setting in every home because everyone should have access to the Bible. Pope Francis also suggests that parishes distribute Bibles or one of the books of the Bible to those who attend Sunday Mass. Again, this demonstrates that the Word of God is not for an elite group.

What is your parish doing? What are you doing to mark this day?  You have about two and a half weeks to come up with some ideas. Your parish priests have wonderful readings on January 26 to break open and discuss with you all. If you hurry, your parish might be able to order copies of Matthew’s Gospel, which is emphasized in the Cycle A readings for this liturgical year.  Maybe January 26 th would be the Sunday to promote the idea of weekly Bible classes to the parishioners. Try to make this a live encounter rather than an online initiative.

What about the Bible and your children? Maybe you could do some homework by visiting the website of the religion book series being used by your Catholic School or parish religious education program. You will find many great scripture resources to help you. After all, you are your child’s primary catechist.

Sunday of the Word of God is great gift from the pope and from all those people around the world who asked him for it. There couldn’t be a better way to promote peace and unity in the family, in the faith, and in the world than through God’s holy Word