The Word of God
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
On September 30, 2019 – the liturgical memorial of St. Jerome – Pope Francis announced that the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time would be celebrated as the Sunday of the Word of God. The Pope instituted this special celebration by means of the Apostolic Letter, “Aperuit illis.” So, on this Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Catholic parishes throughout the world will place a special emphasis on celebrating the Sunday of the Word of God. What do we mean when we say the “word of God”?
Jesus, Himself, is the Divine Word who became flesh, so in that sense we refer to Jesus as the “Word of God.” In a broader sense, any revelation by God concerning Himself, His plan for salvation or His will for mankind could be considered God’s word. Thus, the Church has always understood Sacred Tradition (the truths, beliefs and ways of praying that have been handed on by word of mouth or practice since apostolic times) to be part of divine revelation. Most people, however, understand the “word of God” to be a reference to the Sacred Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.
The Second Vatican Council, in its document on divine revelation entitled, Dei Verbum, states the following:
“There exists a close connection and communication between sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture. For both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end… Consequently, it is not from Sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore, both sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of loyalty and reverence.”
Today, the Church celebrates the profound gift of the “word of God,” especially as we proclaim it in the Sacred Scriptures.
The Gospel passage for this Sunday depicts Matthew’s rendition of the Lord’s initiation of His public ministry. Jesus relocates from Nazareth to Capernaum and begins to call His disciples. The Lord preaches and says, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom. Jesus, the Word made flesh, begins preaching the word of God, the Gospel, to the world.
Sincerely yours in Christ Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life,