In his Apostolic Letter Aperuit illis(AI) Pope Francis writes, “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.”
The pope suggests the following ways to mark the Sunday of the Word of God. At the same time, he acknowledges that parishes “have undertaken a wealth of initiatives to make the sacred Scripture more accessible to believers, to increase their gratitude for so great a gift, and to help them to strive daily to embody and bear witness to its teachings” (AI 2). In a similar vein, he invites parishes to mark the Sunday of the Word of God in “their own ways” (AI 3).
• “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 honor that it is due” (AI 3).
• “Pastors are primarily responsible for explaining sacred Scripture and helping everyone to understand it. … Helping people to enter more deeply into the word of God through simple and suitable language will allow priests themselves to discover the beauty of the images used by the Lord to encourage the practice of the good. This is a pastoral opportunity that should not be wasted!
… For many of our faithful, in fact, this is the only opportunity they have to grasp the beauty of God’s word and to see it applied to their daily lives. Consequently, sufficient time must be devoted to the preparation of the homily. … When we take time to pray and meditate on the sacred text, we can speak from the heart and thus reach the hearts of those who hear us, conveying what is essential and capable of bearing fruit” (AI 5).
Pray for Unity
• Pope Francis writes, “we are encouraged to strengthen our bonds with the Jewish people and to pray for Christian unity. … 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 “Week of Prayer for Christian Unity” is celebrated January 18–25, which will usually coincide with the Sunday of the Word of God.
The Word of God in Our Homes
I would like to add this personal note: that we endeavor to make the meditation on the Word of God a frequent personal practice – individually, with friends, or with our families. For example, praying together with the scriptures before meals and during other family or social gatherings.
Wishing you a Blessed Sunday.