This year, we celebrate Bible Sunday on 12 July 2020, with a theme based on the letter of St John, “Someone you can touch with your hands, and hear with your ears and see with you own eyes,” (1 Jn 1: 1).
We are living in a digital world and we are so “easily connected to one another through social media” which can sometimes mean that families and individuals are only interacting with each other on a superficial or functional level rather than on a personal level. The Word of God was passed on to us not as “myth, legend or philosophy” but as a living message for our personal relationship with God and with one another. We encounter Jesus Christ in our lives through the living word, in all the liturgical celebrations and in all events of our life. When we are constantly in touch with the Word of God, we are in touch with the Heart of Christ. Through our encounter with the Word, Sacraments, prayer and His healing touch, we enter into His living relationship, leading us to become true Christians.
We “read the newspapers, magazines, or study our textbooks or do research work in order to acquire more knowledge.” When we read the Bible prayerfully and meditatively, we are in touch with Jesus and He communicates to us – He “speak to us and we listen to Him,” (Cf. 1 John 1: 1) and we enter into a personal and intimate relationship with Him. The Word of God also “reaches and touches the depths of our hearts and frees us from all bondage – emotional, physical and spiritual.” By reading the Bible whole heartedly, we increase our faith and our prayer life. As we get in touch with Jesus in the Word, he reveals to us “the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Mt 13:11).
The Word of God “comes alive in the Holy Spirit.” The intervention of the Holy Spirit in the life of Mary, “the word became flesh and dwelt among us,” (John 1:3) and “God is with us,” (Mt 1:23). In the Eucharistic celebration, the invocation of the Holy Spirit upon the bread and wine, together with the words of consecration, change the substance into the Body and the Blood of Christ, the true and real presence of Jesus.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God becomes alive and active in us when we respond to it as how Mother Mary responded: “Be it done unto me according to your Word,” (Luke 1: 38). Once we respond to the Word of God, our lives will be “transformed, renewed and filled with the new energy and power.” We need to pray to the Holy Spirit, to discover the hidden treasures of the Word of God as how Mother Mary “believed and pondered these things in her heart,” (Lk 2: 19). The Holy Spirit will show us the way to carry out God’s plan in our lives and enable us to see all things in divine prospective, and to bring life to the fullest (cf. Jn 10: 10).
Two questions for your own reflection:
- How do we relate to God? On a functional or relational level? Why is this important in our Christian life and in the Church?
- When we read the Bible, we are entering into a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus. How can we make reading the Bible a living encounter with the person of Jesus?
(An extract from the Bible Sunday Message 2020 – “Reading the Bible with the Heart”)
Rev. Fr. George Packiasamy