This Sunday, the 26th of January, we celebrate for the first time the Sunday of the Word of God, instituted by Pope Francis in his Motu Proprio, Aperuit Illis
, which was issued on the 30th of September last year. It declared that the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time each year should be devoted to the importance of Scripture. The Holy Father encourages all the faithful to recognize the significance of reading Scripture both privately and as part of the Eucharistic celebration. And he advises pastors that their homilies should serve above all as an opportunity to make those Scriptures accessible and relatable to the people in everyday language.
This special Sunday dedicated to the Word of God also has ecumenical significance, as much of the Scriptures used by Catholics are common to other Christian Churches, as well as to the Jewish people. Through the celebration of the Word of God, “we are encouraged to strengthen our bonds with the Jewish people and to pray for Christian unity”. Along with giving out Bibles to Catholics from many walks of life and roles in ministry, Pope Francis will also give them to representatives from Orthodox and Protestant Churches.
The official logo for the Sunday of the Word of God was unveiled at the Vatican on January 17, 2020 (CNS logo/courtesy Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization)
This first celebration of the Sunday of the Word of God also has special significance for us at Salt + Light Media. The logo being used to promote this Sunday dedicated to God’s Word in the Scriptures is an image which is very familiar to us. Written by the late Sister Marie-Paul Farran, OSB, the icon on which the logo is based was commissioned in 1990 by our former CEO, Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB, while he was studying in Jerusalem. It depicts the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, as told in Luke chapter 24, and it is somewhat unusual in the history of Christian art in depicting the unnamed disciple as a woman (based on the scholarly hypothesis that she may have been Mary, the wife of Cleopas).
This Sunday, as we call to mind the centrality of Scripture to our relationship with God, may the words inspired by the Holy Spirit bring us closer to the incarnate Word of God Himself in the person of Jesus Christ.
Pope Francis will be celebrating a special Mass for the Sunday of the Word of God in St. Peter's Basilica.
Watch it on Salt + Light TV at 9 am ET / 6 am PT on Sunday, January 26.
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For more information on the Sunday of the Word of God, check out these articles:
Vatican News: Sunday of the Word of God: making the Scriptures part of our everyday lives
Vatican News: Pope establishes Sunday of the Word of God
Crux: Pope prepares to celebrate first Sunday of the Word of God on Jan. 26