07 God's Word is our Daily Food - Dr. Fio Mascarenhas SJ

posted Feb 20, 2019, 9:19 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 20, 2019, 9:43 AM ]
In an 'Official' published in The Examiner of Feb. 16, 2019, Cardinal Oswald Gracias asked that a Bible Novena be prayed at every Mass in this Archdiocese from Feb. 22 to March 2, "to help us benefit more from the annual celebration of Bible Sunday."

During the liturgical year, various Sundays are designated to remind the Faithful about key issues taught by the word of God, like Justice, Vocations, etc., but the Sunday before Ash Wednesday is chosen as Bible Sunday, to remind us that everything in Christianity is founded on God's Word, as contained in the Bible! A special sale of Bibles, or organising entertaining Bible skits and quizzes, etc., is good, but convincing our people that the Bible is the source of Catholic and Christian spirituality, and helping them to foster a personal biblical spirituality, is really the goal.

This year's theme is 'GOD'S WORD IS OUR DAILY FOOD'. John 6:63 reads: "Jesus said, It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words I have spoken to you are spirit and life!" It is a good thing that many Catholics have been taught to receive "spirit and life" from the Eucharistic flesh of Jesus (and visits to the Blessed Sacrament), but it is very sad that most have not been sufficiently taught about seeking "spirit and life" from the Bible, and especially from Part 2 of the Bible - the New Testament (the Gospels, the Letters of St Paul, etc).

The word "spirit" means new energy, encouragement, inspiration, enthusiasm for our personal discipleship of Jesus and for our active membership of the Body of Christ. And "life" is new vitality, health, courage, strong faith, the ability to love like Jesus, a deeper trust in God as Abba, etc. According to Jesus, and as repeated by the Cardinal in his 'Official', all this comes from both the Sacraments and the word of God. The Second Vatican Council had authoritatively assured Catholics about the great efficacy of a devotional reading of scripture: "Such is the force and power of the word of God that it can serve the Church as her support and vigour, and the children of the Church as strength for their faith, food for the soul, and a pure and lasting fount of spiritual life... Just as from constant attendance at the Eucharistic mystery, the life of the Church draws increase, so a new impulse of spiritual life may be expected from increased veneration of the word of God" (Dei Verbum, nn.21, 26).