Sunday of the Word of God
In September 2015, Pope Francis’ in his motu proprio Apostolic Letter, “Aperuit illis,” established the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time to be devoted to the celebration, study, and dissemination of the Word of God.
For 2023, it will be observed this Sunday, January 22, and has as its theme a verse from John’s Gospel, “We proclaim to you what we have seen” (1 Jn 1:3). Pope Francis instituted the Sunday of the Word of God to remind the faithful of the importance and value of Sacred Scripture in the Christian life, as well as the relationship between the word of God and the liturgy. We must also keep in mind the great importance of spending time every day with the Scriptures because, through them, we encounter Christ. As St. Jerome warned, “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.”
Below are two scriptures verses that were very significant to my vocation as priest and bishop:
“…yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20).
**This verse from Galatians was printed on the card from my Priestly Ordination.
“Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:8-10).
**These words from St. Paul appear in my Episcopal Coat of Arms
A copy of the Liturgical – Pastoral Resource 2023 and additional resources for the Sunday of the Word of God is available on the USCCB website.
Nine Days for Life
The “9 Days for Life,” annual novena for the protection of all human life—from conception to natural death, is prayed this year from January 19 – 27, 2023. Each day’s prayer intention is accompanied by a short reflection and suggested actions to help build a culture of life. The website has a downloadable novena for you to follow along each day, or you may choose to sign up to receive the daily prayers via email or text message. Find additional resources on respectlife.org.
During the 2022 Annual Pro-Life Mass, I reflected on Mary’s fiat and posed the question to consider what if she had not accepted the angel Gabriel’s message to be the Mother of Jesus. What if she thought it would be too difficult or, worse yet, had decided because it was not a planned pregnancy to terminate it? Many people only see the rights of a woman and her body; they fail to see there is another person who has the same rights and dignity.
Let me be clear; no one is saying the woman has no right to her body; however, people fail to see there is another person who also has the same rights and the same dignity. It is not the mother who gives these rights and dignity to a person. It is not a government; it is God alone. If given by God, who are we to take it away, along with all the beauty this life has to offer?
Suppose we begin to reflect on this truth and help others see it as well? I believe if we can do this, things will change, and all will respect life from conception to natural death.
Eucharistic Revival Diocesan Events
Theologian, author, and popular speaker Dr. Edward Sri will lead a virtual Biblical Walk Through the Mass for members of our Diocese on Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 6:30 p.m. There is no charge to take part, but persons must register in advance to have access to the presentation to be offered via Zoom. Anyone interested in Dr. Sri’s virtual presentation on February 15 may register here.
The Diocese is hosting this free virtual session reinforcing the importance of the Mass for Catholics and explaining its biblical roots as part of the initial year of formation and preparation for the National Eucharistic Revival. The Revival is a three-year initiative launched last year by the bishops of the United States to inspire and prepare the faithful to be formed, healed, and united through a renewed encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist. Each year is designed to have a different focus for the formation, and missionary discipleship with the overall aim of lasting impact on the renewal of the Catholic Church in the U.S. Coming up in March, the Diocese will offer three Eucharistic Nights and Relic Tour with Fr. Roger Landry. You may follow the Diocese’s offerings and growing resources on our Eucharistic Revival webpage.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha