Late last year Pope Francis declared that, today, the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time, would henceforth be known as "Sunday of the Word of God." In an Apostolic Letter issued on September 30, 2019, the Pope invited Catholics around the world to observe this day as a special opportunity to celebrate, study and share the Word of God. It was significant that the letter was issued on September 30, which is the feast day of Saint Jerome, the great 5th century scripture scholar who wisely said, "Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ."
In the encounter of the Risen Lord with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus recorded in Saint Luke's Gospel, we are told that they came to recognize Jesus as he opened the scriptures to them and as he broke bread with them. The scriptures and the Eucharist are two privileged places where we still today encounter the Risen Lord. In declaring the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time as "Sunday of the Word of God" Pope Francis encourages us to make scripture reading and bible study a regular part of our lives as Catholic Christians.
This past Monday marked the 52ndth anniversary of the assassination of civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther Ling, Jr. Dr. King's life and legacy remind us of the truth that all men and women are created equal. It is a truth recognized by our founding fathers in the foundational documents of our nation and a truth yet to be fully realized as we strive to eradicate racism in the many forms in which it still exists in our country, and as we strive to realize Dr. King's vision of the "Beloved Community."
This past Wednesday marked the sad anniversary of Roe v. Wade which legalized abortion in our country. In the forty-seven years since that Supreme Court Decision, we have seen a steady decline in respect for life in all stages and a steady rise in violence. In denying the right to life to the most vulnerable of God's creatures, all life has suffered. Our founding fathers recognized that there are inalienable rights that come not from man, but from God. First among these is the right to life.
This Monday, January 27, marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps at Auschwitz and a reminder of the horror of the Holocaust in which six million Jewish men, women and children were killed. The recent rise in anti-Semitism and attacks on Jewish synagogues and businesses in our own country is a call to all of us to be vigilant in rejecting and condemning all forms of prejudice against our Jewish brothers and sisters.
See you at Mass - no excuses!