Vatican City. Through his Apostolic Letter, Motu proprio “Aperuit illis”, published on Monday, Feast of St, Jerome, 30 September 2019, Pope Francis declared the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time as Sunday of the Word of God. This Sunday shall be devoted to the celebration, study and dissemination of the Word of God. The publishing of “Aperuit illis” also marks the 1600 death anniversary of St. Jerome, the man who translated most of the Bible into Latin, and who famously said: “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ“. “Aperuit illis” comes from St. Luke’s description on how the Risen Christ appeared to His disciples, and how the Lord opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
The Pope pointed out the ecumenical value of the celebration because he said that “the Scriptures point out, for those who listen, the path to authentic and firm unity”. He is inviting local communities to find ways to “mark this Sunday with a certain solemnity”. He suggested to enthrone the sacred texts “in order to focus the attention of the assembly on the normative value of God’s Word” and also to give during “the homily the honor that it is due.” He also stressed that that the Bible belongs “to those called to hear its message and to recognize themselves in its words”. It is for all.
Moreover, he reminded the pastors to watch out with their homilies and warns against improvising or giving “long, pedantic homilies or wandering off into unrelated topics.” He suggests using simple and suitable language and take this opportunity to explain the content of the Sacred Scripture that would help the faithful apply it in their daily lives.
Likewise, he mentioned the relevance and relationship between the Sacred Scriptures and the Sacraments; the role of the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures. He said that it is the Holy Spirit who “makes Sacred Scripture the living word of God, experienced and handed down in the faith of His holy people”. Pope Francis invites us to “let ourselves be nourished by it, in order to acknowledge and live fully our relationship with Him and with our brothers and sisters.”
Lastly, he concluded with the “the great challenge before us in life: to listen to Sacred Scripture and then to practice mercy”. The Sacred Scriptures, he said “has the power to open our eyes and to enable us to renounce a stifling and barren individualism and instead to embark on a new path of sharing and solidarity”.