Homily – 26 January 2020 (3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A)

Do You Live By the Word of God?

Today is the third ordinary Sunday. This Sunday is dedicated to the word of God. Pope Francis in his Apostolic Letter, Motu proprio “Aperuit Illis” in September 2019 declared that the third Sunday in ordinary time is to be devoted to the celebration, study and dissemination of the Word of God. The Sunday of the Word of God is not similar with Bible Sunday and not replace Bible Sunday.

There are two important questions: How many Catholics really read the Bible every day and how many live out the message from the Bible in their daily lives. The two are intimately linked. Why is it important to know the Bible? The Pope shared that without the Scriptures, the event of the mission of Jesus and of His church in this world will remain incomprehensible. He said that for the faithful this is the only opportunity to grasp the beauty of God’s Word and to see it applied in their daily lives.

How to implement the message of Pope Francis in our parish and in our daily lives? First of all, we have to love the Bible. Love the Bible is not love the book but love to read and understand the messages from God in the Bible. We can do personally or in the community. To love Bible means to love Jesus and His messages. The Bible is the good news and bad news. It is the good news for us, the children of God, but the bad news for the wicked. The devil doesn’t like it when he sees us reading the Bible. That is why we have to love the Bible and not ignore it. The great Bible scholar, St Jerome said, “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.” Furthermore, the Bible is “the words of God expressed in human language.”

Secondly, we have to grasp the Bible. Not everybody is able to grasp the Bible easily. Sometimes we have to read several times to understand it. For those who want to understand more they have to study the Bible. When we are able to understand the Bible we will love the Bible more.

Thirdly, we have to evangelise. After Jesus called his first apostles in today’s Gospel reading, He went round the whole of Galilee teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom. Now is our turn to continue the mission of Jesus to proclaim the Good News. Nonetheless, many Catholics are not aware of their duty to evangelise. At the last paragraph of St Matthew Jesus commands us to go to tell peoples everywhere and make them His disciples: baptise them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything He has commanded us.

On the other hand, many Catholics who want to evangelise but have no knowledge of how and what to do. They are not confidence to evangelise though they want to. There is a testimony from someone who has joined the SCC (Small Christian Community) workshop. She said, “In the beginning I totally did not understand what was it all about. I don’t know how to begin, always tongue-tied, nervous, fearful and reluctant. These sessions have helped me tremendously. I had trouble grasping some of the materials in the first two to three sessions. I was asking myself “how”. As these are progressive formation sessions, it has helped me to gain momentum and understanding slowly on a new horizon of ideas, understanding and clarity opened before me. These sessions have taught me the skill of the art of evangelising.

Jesus is the Word of God. If you love Jesus you will also love His words in the Scripture. The Word was the source of life, and this life brought light to people. (John 1:4) So let us live in and by the word of God. Let us share His words to all people we meet and tell them that Jesus loves them too. Amen.