My Dear Friends,
On September 30, 2019, on the liturgical memorial of St. Jerome, Pope Francis announced that the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time would be celebrated as the Sunday of the Word of God. The inspiring full text of his Apostolic Letter, “Aperuit illis: Instituting the Sunday of the Word of God” is contained herein. This year it will fall on Sunday, January 24, 2021.
I hereby declare that the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time is to be devoted to the celebration, study and dissemination of the word of God. This Sunday of the Word of God will thus be a fitting part of that time of the year when we are encouraged to strengthen our bonds with the Jewish people and to pray for Christian unity.
This is more than a temporal coincidence: the celebration of the Sunday of the Word of God has ecumenical value, since the Scriptures point out, for those who listen, the path to authentic and firm unity.
The various communities will find their own ways to mark this Sunday with a certain solemnity. It is important, however, that in the Eucharistic celebration the sacred text be enthroned, in order to focus the attention of the assembly on the normative value of God’s word.
Pope Francis I (Aperuit illis)
In the Introduction to the Lectionary for Mass, we are reminded of the role of the Word of God in the life of the Church:
In the hearing of God’s word the Church is built up and grows, and in the signs of the liturgical celebration God’s wonderful, past works in the history of salvation are presented anew as mysterious realities. God in turn makes use of the congregation of the faithful that celebrates the Liturgy in order that his word may speed on and be glorified and that his name be exalted among the nations.
Whenever, therefore, the Church, gathered by the Holy Spirit for liturgical celebration, announces and proclaims the word of God, she is aware of being a new people in whom the covenant made in the past is perfected and fulfilled. Baptism and confirmation in the Spirit have made all Christ’s faithful into messengers of God’s word because of the grace of hearing they have received. They must therefore be the bearers of the same word in the Church and in the world, at least by the witness of their lives.
The word of God proclaimed in the celebration of God’s mysteries does not only address present conditions but looks back to past events and forward to what is yet to come. Thus God’s word shows us what we should hope for with such a longing that in this changing world our hearts will be set on the place where our true joys lie
We have been called by God to be the Church, the Body of Christ in this world. We are not a building, but a people, gathered and grounded in the Word of God, the love of Christ, and the unity of the Holy Spirit. Lord Jesus, you call us to follow you. You are our light and our salvation. You bring us the Good News of love and forgiveness.
Eternal God, may your word touch us deeply as we strive to answer your call. Keep us strong in love as we face the challenges of this pandemic. Hear our prayer so that our actions and our words may heal and help, teach and touch our homes, our workplaces and our world.
Have a blessed and safe week filled the blessings of almighty God knowing that you and your loved ones are remembered in the Masses I offer and my prayers each day.
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