Pope Francis has dedicated the 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time each year as The Sunday of the Word of God. The Pope wishes to raise the profile of the Scriptures, the Word of God, as central to our understanding and living of the Christian life. He wishes us to have an intimate familiarity with the sacred Scriptures.

The great biblical scholar, St. Jerome, put it quite bluntly when he said: “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” In reading the Bible, and especially in the New Testament writings, we become aquainted with the life and teachings of Jesus and how these inform and guide our way of living as disciples of Jesus Christ today.

Reading and reflecting on the Bible texts is an important source of nourishnment for the Christian soul. It deepens our relationship with God and assists us in discerning how we can do God’s will in our daily lives. The ancient practice of Lectio Divina where we take a Bible passage and meditate and pray with it for some time in a structured way is a great tool for bringing the Word of God alive in our hearts.

If reading Scripture is not part of your prayer life at present, it is never too late to begin. Start simply, perhaps using one of the Sunday Mass readings. Read it slowly and reflectively, ponder on it, pray about it and allow the Lord to speak to your heart. It is certainly something worth trying in these days of Covid restrictions when it is not possible at present to physically attend Mass.

Fr. Kieran Coghlan