This Sunday, we celebrate sacred scripture
On Sunday, the Church in Australia will mark the Sunday of the Word of God, a special day to highlight the importance of sacred scripture.
The special Sunday, instituted by Pope Francis, was originally set as the third Sunday in Ordinary time. In Australia, however, this date regularly falls within the Australia Day long weekend.
The Sunday of the Word of God will be celebrated on the first Sunday in February each year to avoid coinciding with Australia Day, the Australian Bishops have confirmed.
“The bishops recognised the need to create a Sunday free from potential distraction when setting the date for the Sunday of the Word of God,” said Archbishop Patrick O’Regan, chair of the Bishops Commission for Liturgy.
“The date was chosen to retain close proximity to the international celebration, but to avoid the clash with the Australia Day observance.
“The choice of date also ensures it falls before the start of Lent.”
The Sunday of the Word of God is a day dedicated to the celebration, reflection and dissemination of the Word.
In his apostolic letter Aperuit illis, issued on September 30, 2019, Pope Francis said communities would find their own ways to mark this Sunday with certain solemnity.
It is a day to not only to give attention to the Word of God during celebrations, but also to consider how we honour the books from which the Word is proclaimed, he wrote.
His Holiness said it is important that the sacred text be enthroned in the Eucharistic celebration, in order to focus the attention of the assembly on the normative value of God’s word.
“On this Sunday, it would be particularly appropriate to highlight the proclamation of the word of the Lord and to emphasise in the homily the honour that it is due,” he said.
“Renewed efforts should be made to provide members of the faithful with the training needed to be genuine proclaimers of the word.
“Pastors can also find ways of giving a Bible, or one of its books, to the entire assembly as a way of showing the importance of learning how to read, appreciate and pray daily with sacred Scripture.”
The National Centre for Evangelisation and the National Office for Liturgy have prepared resources to help individuals, families, parishes, schools and other ministries commemorate the Sunday of the Word of God.
“The Church’s love for Sacred Scripture is often misunderstood or underestimated, so this occasion offers us the opportunity celebrate the Word of God in new and diverse ways,” Archbishop O’Regan said.