Treasuring and teaching the Word of God

01-26-2020From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

This weekend we celebrate the Sunday of the Word of God for the first time. Pope Francis established this new feast day, which will henceforth be observed on the 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time each year, to remind us of the importance that God’s Word should have in our lives. Family and personal Bibles will be blessed at all the Masses this weekend, to remind us to make good use of them!

There is an old saying that goes something like this: “People whose Bibles are tattered usually have lives that aren’t!” The point is that people who read their Bibles often, and allow the Word they read to guide them, usually have lives that are well directed. Even when such people encounter the troubles and trials that are part of every human life, they find comfort and strength in reading the Word of God.

Some people tell me they find it overwhelming to read the Bible; with good reason. The language can be strange. The different books of the Bible are written in different literary styles, and it is essential to know the style (poetry, history, allegory, prophecy) to properly understand what the Lord is saying.

That is why it is so important to read the Bible with the guidance of the Church. One way of doing this is to read the readings for Holy Mass ahead of time, and see how the priest or deacon uses them in his homily. You can also find good Bible study resources on FORMED, the online resource available to all of our parishioners. You can find information on it in this bulletin and on the parish website. Finally, you can always ask me or one of our priest or deacons for suggestions about reading the Holy Bible in a meaningful way.

Today we begin Catholic Schools Week. One of the purposes of Catholic Schools is to educate our children in the Word of God. Our own Saints Philip and James School does this by giving students daily religion classes, daily prayer, regularly scheduled school Masses, and monthly adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Confession. Their Christmas show is a musical telling of the story of Jesus’ birth-as we find it in the Holy Gospel.

At the same time, they receive a good education in all the regular subjects. Study after study has shown that our Catholic schools do an excellent job at preparing students for life. Graduates tend to be more likely to attend college, get a good paying job, and even to become politically active! I learned a lot of these things from the conference I attended out at Notre Dame University this past summer. You can even google the Alliance for Catholic Education which is run out of Notre Dame. They do more research on Catholic Schools than you can possibly imagine, the results of which are well worth readying.

Please remember that Monday, February 3rd, is the Feast of St. Blaise; the day when Catholics traditionally seek God’s blessing on their throats. This blessing is a profession of faith in God’s power over illness and a prayer for good health. Throats will be blessed next Monday at the 6:45am, 8am, 12:10pm Masses and at a Special Prayer Service in the Church at 7pm. If you can’t make it then, you can always ask one of our priests or deacons to make other arrangements. We would be happy to help you!

Please pray for the children who will make their First Confession next Saturday February 1st. This is an important step in the life long relationship with Jesus-and in their preparation to receive Him in First Holy Communion. May it also be a happy one.

Say a prayer for me too, please-at least one Hail Mary a day. I appreciate all your prayers and assure you of my prayer for you.

Have a great week!

Fr. John