Sunday of the Word of God- 3rd Sunday
Our Holy Father Pope Francis declared the third Sunday in Ordinary time “Sunday of the Word of God” inviting all Catholics making the Sacred Scriptures part of their everyday lives. It is an opportunity for all of us making an intentional renewing of our commitment to the daily reading of the Most Important and Powerful Book. What is the Acronym of abbreviation for Bible? Bible means Basic Information Before Leaving Earth! It also can mean Best Instructions Before Leaving Earth. St. Jerome insists that ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ. This is a strong exhortation from a church Father, Doctor of the Catholic Church and Biblical scholar challenging all Christians to recognize that serious Bible study is a necessity, not an optional luxury.
Do you know why St. Francis of Assisi is known as second Christ? Because he imitated Jesus of the gospels very closely. Without daily reading how can we imitate Him! Gandhi is known us the father of the nations of India. Even though he was a Hindu man, someone gave him a small Bible. He started reading it and he was so fascinated with it; especially the beatitudes. He said “this is the solution to all the human problems and he started practicing them. But when he started travelling to Christian countries, to his surprise he did not see anyone reading or practicing it. He was deeply disappointed and as a result he never became a Christian!
There are seventy-three books in the Catholic Bible; forty-six in the Old Testament and twenty-seven in the New Testament. There are approximately 32000 verses in the Bible. It can vary from different editions. Out of 32000, 8500 of them are promises. What is a promise? The example would be The Promised Land; a land of honey and milk God Promised to Abraham in the Bible. And our God is a keeper of His promises! Life is so amazing when we live a life under the promise of God!
But the challenge for us, especially Catholics is that we don’t read the Bible as much as we should. I was like that too. Now I understand the importance and reading it every day and let me tell you it has been helping me much and changing my life.
That is why I have been encouraging Bible studies! We have started a while back ago the bible study called “Walking with Purpose”! We have 117 ladies attending and all of them are telling me how amazing it is and how it is changing their life. Soon we are going to start an evening session for Lent! All our junior high girls have started a Bible study called Blaze. Having your heart on fire for the Lord! Can you imagine all our ladies are walking with a purpose under God’s blessing? That will change the life of their families upside down for the good. Soon we going to start one for the junior high boys also.
What happens when we read the Bible? When we read the Bible, God is speaking! When God speaks He means it and it will happen to us. Suppose that you are going through a difficult time; then you need to read Psalm 23 which says “The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. In green pastures he makes me lie down; to restful waters he leads me; he restores my soul. He guides me along the right paths for the sake of his name. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me”. Suppose you are in a crisis; financial, physical or any others; then you need to read Isiah 45: 1-3 “Thus says the LORD to his anointed, Cyrus, ( use your name here) whose right hand I grasp, Subduing nations before him, making kings run at their service, Opening doors before him, leaving the gates unbarred: I will go before you and level the mountains; Bronze doors I will shatter, iron bars, I will snap. I will give you treasures out of darkness, and riches hidden away, That you may know I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who calls you by name”.
Few years ago there was a story in the Catholic newspaper that a lady who was suffering from cancer was completely healed of cancer by praying Psalm 91. Being a multiple Myeloma patient, people ask me all the time ‘why am I doing very well? I am praying Psalm 91 every day and also I am eating and drinking the Body and Blood of Christ every day! Of course, I have my wonderful doctor and nurses taking good caring of me too. Our Lady of Medugorje gives her children five stones to overcome the Goliath of their lives as King David used five stones to overcome Goliath. They are:
As the Gospel reading reminds us today, 2000 years ago Jesus found a few people and said to them “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” There is saying that says “plant a church and sometimes you will get disciples. But disciple people and you will always get a church. That is why Jesus never started a church rather discipled people. Today as we hear the same message let’s ask ourselves ‘am I a church member or a disciple’?