AnBy Mike Punzal
From January 23 to 29, the Philippine Church celebrate the National Bible Week. During this week, all Filipinos are enjoined for one week to focus on the reading and studying of the Bible toward the nation’s spiritual, moral and social stability.
Pope Francis' Apostolic Letter "Aperuit illis," which establishes 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.
On this Sunday, it would be particularly appropriate to highlight the proclamation of the word of the Lord and to emphasize in the homily the honour that it is due. Families can also find ways of giving a Bible, or one of its books, to the entire assembly as a way of showing the importance of learning how to read, appreciate and pray daily with sacred Scripture, especially through the practice of lectio divina.