Now What is Pope Francis Doing?

Now what is Pope Francis doing?

Whenever he makes any kind of change reactions come from all sides. Some are frightened by what he is doing while others why he is not doing something. Others are intrigued by what he is doing while others could care less. One can see all of these reactions to his change to the liturgical calendar.  Starting this year he has the Third Sunday of the church year as the Sunday of the Word of God.

Why is he changing the liturgical Calendar?

He did not explicitly say this. But is no secret that we are on the way to becoming post-biblical society. When I was growing up most Catholics knew the “standard” bible stories of the Good Samaritan, the story of the last supper, etc. But they might be able to tell you the difference been between a gospel and an epistle. But as religion is receding from consciousness more and more people have only the most passing awareness of “the book” and its stories.

How are we to understand this new Sunday designation? Why did the pope do it and where can we turn in our efforts to try and understand its value? And, in raising these questions, let’s ask the broader and more pressing question: How can the Bible help us to live our faith today?

There is a story is still familiar to many of us. As Pope Francis reminds us…

After Jesus’ passion and death, two disciples left Jerusalem and were on their way to Emmaus, a journey of about seven miles. As they were walking, they talked about all the things that happened, and while they were discussing these matters, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them. He asked the disciples, “What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?”

The disciples stood still, looked sad, and said to Jesus, “Are you the only visitor who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” Jesus asked, “What things?” and the disciples recounted the events of the passion and death. The disciples expressed dismay because they had hoped that Jesus would redeem Israel.

In response, Jesus opened the Scriptures to them, and from Moses to the prophets, he showed them how the Christ was to suffer these things in order to enter his glory.

He goes on to say, the very first Christian “Bible study” was given by the Lord Jesus on the road to Emmaus.” The lesson made sense to them. Their hearts were burning and the eyes were opened to the meaning not only of his life … but also their lives.

By reading the Bible, we can understand the work, the ways, and the teaching style of God. We can understand how we are called to live as his children and how he draws close to us to accompany, correct, encourage, and guide us to a deeper relationship with him.

Many people approach God as a stranger, and so his ways seem strange. Through the Scriptures, Jesus showed the disciples the truth about his passion and death. In reading the Sacred Scriptures, we too can come to know Jesus Christ better, discern the ways of God more deeply, and see how he works in our lives and in our world today. As we dive into the Bible, we realize more fully how it is truly a living Word, and how God uses it to speak to us and show us his presence and providence every day.

St. Vincent de Paul would rejoice

The word of God turned his life around He began to view the world of his day differently when he became more familiar with the Word of God in Scripture.

Listen to what is said of him

“Each day Vincent read from the New Testament and obliged his confreres to do the same: The priests and all the students are to read a chapter of the New Testament, reverencing this book as the norm of Christian holiness.

One of the elderly missionaries of the Congregation noted that Vincent was very devout during the celebration of Mass, especially during the reading of the Gospel. Others noted that when he found a passage that began with the words: “Amen, amen, I say to you…,” he became more attentive to the words and his voice became more devout: “He seemed to absorb the meaning of the words of the  Sacred Scripture, nurturing his soul with the substance of the text just as a child is nurtured by his mother’s milk. Thus it seemed that all his actions were filled with the spirit of Jesus Christ.”

Food for thought

  • Can we really ask “What would Jesus do?” if we do not know what he actually said and did?
  • If we don’t ask “What would Jesus do?”, in what sense do we call ourselves Christian?
  • Is “Word of God Sunday” just another Sunday … or a call to let the Word of God change us?



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