If You Want to Know Jesus, Know His Word.

01-26-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

This weekend we celebrate the Sunday of the Word of God. I’m sure that many of you remember that Pope Francis established this new feast day last year. It will 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!

St. Jerome, a great Biblical scholar who died in 420, used to say that ‘ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.’ He meant that you really can’t know Jesus if you don’t know His story, and His story is told in the Scriptures, especially the Gospel. This is why the Church assigns three readings from the Holy Bible, plus a Psalm, to every Sunday Mass. The hope is that by listening to these readings will help us get to know the Lord thru His Word.

It is also why the Church has encouraged devotional prayers based on the Bible over the years. The Mysteries of the Rosary and Stations of the Cross are all drawn from the stories about Jesus and Mary that appear in the Holy Bible. In past times, when literacy was not what is today and far fewer people could actually read the Bible themselves, these devotions helped people learn the important parts of it. Today, they remain important means by which we can meditate on the Holy Word of God.

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, an 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 priests or deacons for suggestions about reading the Holy Bible in a meaningful way.

Last week I told you that Fr. Gilbert and a group from our parish would be going to the annual March for Life this week. But we received a message from the organizers of the March asking everyone to attend it virtually this year. Being truly Pro–Life, the organizers were concerned for the health and well-being of not only the marchers, but also security personnel in the Capital. For this reason, we will have Exposition in Mercy Hall this Friday following the 12:10pm Mass until 4:00pm. It will be a time to pray for an increased respect for God’s gift of life.

Please remember that Wed, Feb 3, 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 Wednesday at the 6:45am, 8:00am, 12:10pm Masses and at a Special Prayer Service in Mercy Hall at 7:00pm. 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!

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

Have a great week!
Fr. John