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The Word Of God

Friday Book Pick: Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis for Sunday 24 January 2021

I’ll get back to books—I promise—next Friday. But I really want you to read the text of this particular homily by Pope Francis. This is a homily from a few months back, from Sunday, January 24th to be precise. It was the homily given on “Word of God Sunday.” Have you heard about “Word of God Sunday” yet?

This past September 30th, the Feast of St. Jerome—the great translator of the Sacred Scripture into Latin—the Pope announced that the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time is designated as “Word of God Sunday” and is to be “devoted to the celebration, study and dissemination of the Word of God.” A fitting way to honor the 1600th anniversary of the death of the great Saint Jerome who famously said, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”

The homily the Pope prepared for the very first “Word of God Sunday'' is very brief and straightforward, as is characteristic of our Holy Father, and it is moving in its obvious sincerity. I think what the Holy Father is trying to get across is that God is near to us, and His Word is one very significant way to experience that nearness. He writes, “In reading it, we again hear His voice, see His face and receive His Spirit.”

Aside from the inspirational value of this homily, I also promote it here because I think it reveals a key to understanding Pope Francis. He highlights the fact that Jesus mingled in unlikely places and spoke His life-giving words to religious and non-religious people alike. Jesus made Himself accessible to all, and that He did this “in order to tell us that no one is far from God’s heart.” Pope Francis really believes that the Gospel is for everyone—that Jesus is for everyone. “Everyone can receive His Word and encounter Him in person.”

Much ink has been spilt assessing the Holy Father’s recent historic pilgrimage to Iraq, and most especially his visit to the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Certainly, the Holy Father wishes to be an instrument of peace. But this visit was, I think, much more than a photo op. Just as Jesus came for all, so the Vicar of Christ sees himself as being not for Catholics only but truly “for all.”

Jesus set the example of breaking both social and religious precedence for the salvation of all, and Francis, His Vicar, is carrying it on.

Click here for the link to the Holy Father's homily on Word of God Sunday.

Mother Clare, CFR



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