Word of God: "We proclaim to you what we have seen".

On the third Sunday in Ordinary Time, the whole Church celebrates the Sunday of the Word of God and there are many documents that speak of Sacred Scripture.

Paloma López Campos-January 20, 2023-Reading time: 3 minutes
Child holds Bible

Child holding a Bible (Unsplash / Samantha Sophia)

On the third Sunday in Ordinary Time, the universal Church celebrates the Sunday of the Word of God. Through an apostolic letter in the form of a motu proprio, Aperuit IllisPope Francis instituted this feast in September 2019.

The purpose of this Sunday is to "highlight the presence of the Lord in the lives of all the faithful". For this reason, it is important that in the days leading up to the celebration the People of God prepare themselves to take advantage of this day dedicated to the Word. There are many ecclesial documents that delve into Sacred Scripture and its centrality in the life of the Church.

Aperuit Illis

Pope Francis, in the letter Aperuit IllisThe relationship between the Risen Lord, the community of believers and Sacred Scripture is intensely vital for our identity. If the Lord does not introduce us, it is impossible to understand Sacred Scripture in depth, but the opposite is also true: without Sacred Scripture, the events of the mission of Jesus and his Church in the world remain indecipherable".

This Sunday's liturgical celebration allows "the Church to relive the gesture of the Risen Lord who opens for us the treasure of his Word so that we can proclaim this inexhaustible richness throughout the world".

What the Holy Father wishes is that "the Sunday dedicated to the Word may make the people of God grow in religious and assiduous familiarity with Sacred Scripture, as the sacred author taught already in ancient times: this Word 'is very close to you: in your heart and in your mouth, so that you may fulfill it'" (1 Corinthians 5:17).Dt 30,14)".

Dei Verbum

The Second Vatican Council prepared a dogmatic constitution, Dei Verbumon divine revelation. In this document they explain that "the Church has always venerated the Sacred Scriptures as well as the Body of the Lord Himself, never ceasing to take from the table and distribute to the faithful the bread of life, both the word of God and the Body of Christ, especially in the Sacred Liturgy".

This explains the need for "all ecclesiastical preaching, like the Christian religion itself, to be nourished by Sacred Scripture". For we must not forget the greatness of the Bible, since "the words of God expressed in human tongues have become like human speech, just as once the Word of the Eternal Father, taking the flesh of human weakness, became like men".

Verbum Domini

Benedict XVI published an apostolic exhortation, Verbum DominiThe theme of the meeting was "The Word of God in the life and mission of the Church. In it, he emphasizes "the urgency and the beauty to proclaim the Word so that the Kingdom of God, preached by Christ himself, may come. We renew in this sense the awareness, so familiar to the Fathers of the Church, that the proclamation of the Word has as its content the Kingdom of God (cf. Mc 1,14-15)".

But why do we need the Word so much? Benedict answers clearly: "The divine Word illumines human existence and moves the conscience to review its own life in depth, because the whole history of humanity is under the judgment of God".

Catechism of the Catholic Church

When we contemplate the Word, it is essential to remember what is stated by the Catechism of the Catholic ChurchGod is the author of Sacred Scripture". However, we cannot forget that "the Christian faith is not a "religion of the Book". Christianity is the religion of the "Word" of God, "not of a written and mute Word, but of the incarnate and living Word" (St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Homilia super missus est, 4,11: PL 183, 86B)".

Inspired by Dei VerbumThe Catechism points out three keys for interpreting the Bible according to the Spirit who inspired it:

  1. "Pay great attention to the content and unity of the whole of Scripture. In fact, however different the books that compose it may be, Scripture is one because of the unity of God's plan, of which Christ Jesus is the center and heart, opened up since his Passover (cf. Lc 24,25-27. 44-46)".
  2. "Reading Scripture in "the living Tradition of the whole Church." According to an adage of the Fathers, Sacra Scriptura pincipalius est in corde Ecclesiae quam in materialibus instrumentis scripta ("Sacred Scripture is more in the heart of the Church than in the materiality of written books"). In fact, the Church contains in her Tradition the living memory of the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit gives her the spiritual interpretation of Scripture (...secundum spiritualem sensum quem Spiritus donat Ecclesiae [Origins, Homiliae in Leviticum, 5,5])".
  3. "Be attentive "to the analogy of faith" (cf. Rm 12, 6). By "analogy of faith" we understand the cohesion of the truths of faith among themselves and in the total project of Revelation".
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