In his Apostolic Letter of September 30, 2019, ‘Aperuit illis’ Pope Francis established that the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time is to be the Sunday of the Word of God. He had already proposed something similar at the end of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. Sunday of the Word of God is a day to be devoted to the celebration, study, and spreading of the Word of God. Pope Francis is clear from the very first paragraph of this letter that the relationship between the Risen Lord, a community of believers, and sacred Scripture is essential to who we are as Christians.
The Sunday assembly gathering to celebrate the Eucharist is the unique moment in the week where a community gathers in a particular place and when their communal identity is nourished by Word and Sacrament. An important advance in 20th century theological reflection is that every sacramental celebration is founded and constructed upon the Word of God, and that every proclamation of the Word of God is sacramental.
Sunday of the Word of God is not a new feast! After all, the Word of God is proclaimed at every Sunday Eucharist, and one of the great blessings of the liturgical reform and renewal flowing from the Second Vatican Council is a greater appreciation of the foundational role of the Word of God in every liturgical celebration. The reform of the lectionary has led to much more scripture being proclaimed during our liturgical gatherings and a greater awareness of the role of the Word of God in the life of faith.
This Sunday builds on the texts and prayers of the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time and is conscious that it comes during the celebration of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. While we are not yet united around the table of the Eucharist, we do share on many Sundays of the year the same scriptural readings in our different Christian assemblies. Pope Francis also urges us to strengthen our bonds with the Jewish people and to continue our prayer for Christian unity.
Sunday of the Word of God is a time when the community is called to give greater attention not just to the Word of God. It is also urged to reflect on how we honour that Word in our celebrations, the books that we proclaim the Word from. Is the Gospel book carried in procession? Is it a well-made book that shows forth its life-giving content? Do we sing during the Gospel procession?
Pope Francis suggests in his letter that this Sunday is an ideal time to reflect on these issues.
Click here to read “Aperuit illis”
It is my prayer that our community of St. Julia continues to fall in love with Sacred Scripture, as we “unpack” the Living Word of God each week as we gather together as a family of believers.
May God bless and keep safe each of you and those that you love.
Receiving a gift is something very special. We are remembered. Appreciated. It is a sign of love. In our second reading this weekend in First Corinthians 12:4-11, St. Paul writes about spiritual gifts. These gifts far exceed any gifts that we will ever receive here on earth, for they come from the Lord, our God.
These gifts are not meant to be kept for ourselves. Rather, they are meant to be shared. As members of the Church, the Church being the mystical body of Christ in our midst, each us of are called to share our gifts and to contribute to the body (the Church) of Christ. Whether we are in elementary school, working, raising a family, caring and loving grandchildren, or what have you, each of us have been called.
These gifts enable Christ’s followers to serve and edify others, thereby creating greater unity in the Church. St. Paul emphasized the gift of charity, which he characterized as being pure, unselfish love and concern for the well-being of others. He taught that charity should govern the exercise of all other spiritual gifts in the Church.
Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbour as ourselves for the love of God. The fruits of charity are joy, peace, and mercy. These, my friends are what I want for each of us and those that we love.
While we may be tired, we continue to navigate through these times with Christ as our guide. May we be refueled by the Word of God and Body of Christ this weekend. May we share our gifts with one another. May the banners in our Church sanctuary remind us what we are called to do, every day. All out of love. When we seek the gifts of the Spirit, we bless others and strengthen the Church. This is my prayer for us as a community of believers here at St. Julia.
May God bless and keep safe each of you and those that you love.
This weekend we the celebrate the Baptism of the Lord. Just as fast as Christmas came, here we are, with the Christmas season coming to a close. In the midst of everything we are going through together, it is an opportunity for us to pause, to reflect on how different this season has once again been for us, but also to reflect on what the season is truly about – God, taking on our human flesh; Immanuel – God with us. This is what we need to remind ourselves. Whether we are in our dwellings alone, whether we are caring for a loved one, whether we are separated from those that we love for various reasons, and the list goes on for each of us, the Christmas message is one that is to remain with us all year long. In good times, and in the times when we are tested, facing challenges, or just tired. It is our Saviour who is very much with us, comforting us, guiding us, and lifting us up in our time of need. A simply prayer of “Come, Holy Spirit” is all we need to say.
Our first such encounter with Christ was at our baptism. I myself was baptized at St. Michael Church in Fort Erie by Msgr. Leo Clutterbuck, then Fr. Leo. It is at our baptism where we first receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit, with the Holy Spirit coming down upon us, and then the fullness of those gifts is received at our Confirmation. Baptisms are joyous events for families and our parish community. How very special that I have the honour of baptizing a baby boy from our parish family this Sunday afternoon. I will ask the parents “Do you clearly understand what you are undertaking?” Parents are the first teachers of the faith. Godparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, priests, all of us, assist the parents. This child will embark on a life-long journey of learning and embracing the faith. It is our God who will be with this child through the good times, and the challenges of life.
So, what is the important message here. It is our God who is with us, and sees us through the good times, and the challenges times. It is our God, through the power of the Holy Spirit who will see us through these times as well.
May God continue to bless each of you and those that you love. Keep safe. For so many of our parish family, your presence is greatly missed at our parish of St. Julia, though I know that we are united together, virtually, in the celebration of the Mass.
Come, Holy Spirit.
From Our Pastor