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Pope establishes the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time as Sunday, the Word of God

Last September, on 30 September, the feast of St Jerome, Pope Francis launched his Apostolic Letter, Aperuit illis, through which he instituted that the third Sunday of Ordinary Time would now be known as Sunday, the Word of God. Intentionally, he launched this on the feast of St Jerome, who translated the Bible from Greek into Latin, and who is known for saying that: ”Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ”.

In instituting this particular Sunday as the ‘Word of God’, the Pope stressed that his hope would be for people “… to grow in religious and intimate familiarity with the sacred Scriptures”. Further he states that although it is one special day to commend to the scriptures, the faithful should make it an everyday experience. Pope Francis is inviting Catholics across the world to deepen their appreciation, love and faithful witness to God and his Word. Below are some exerts by Pope Francis from the Apostolic Letter:

“The relationship between the Risen Lord, the community of believers and sacred Scripture is essential to our identity as Christians. Without the Lord who opens our minds to them, it is impossible to understand the Scriptures in depth. Yet the contrary is equally true: without the Scriptures, the events of the mission of Jesus and of his Church in this world would remain incomprehensible. Hence, Saint Jerome could rightly claim: “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ” (Commentary on the Book of Isaiah, Prologue: PL 24,17B). (#1)

… The Bible is the book of the Lord’s people, who, in listening to it, move from dispersion and division towards unity. The word of God unites believers and makes them one people. (#4)… May we never tire of devoting time and prayer to Scripture, so that it may be received “not as a human word but as what it really is, the word of God” (1 Thess 2:13). (#5)

The role of the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures is primordial. Without the work of the Spirit, there would always be a risk of rema