By Dr. Nicholas Lebish
On Sept. 30, 2019, the Holy Father declared that, “the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time is to be devoted to the celebration, study and dissemination of the word of God.” This year, that Sunday falls on Jan. 26. This is a momentous opportunity to reflect on the role of Sacred Scripture in the life of the Church in general, and in our own personal lives in particular.
The Word of God is the unique source of revelation by which our Lord communicates his divine truths to us. Our Heavenly Father truly speaks to us in the Sacred Scriptures; we have only to pick up the Bible and engage in a prayerful dialogue with him. Here are some very practical tips and goals on how you can commit to making the Bible an integral part of your life this New Year:
Read the Bible every day, even just a little bit
That could mean simply spending time with the daily Mass readings, regardless if you cannot make it to Mass that day. Or you can go through the whole of Scripture according to a trusted plan, such as the Augustine Institute’s wonderful book, The Bible in a Year, which also contains short, inspiring reflections. Find a quiet place for reflection for regular reading either first thing in the morning, during a lunch hour, before bed, or whenever works best for you.
Pray the Bible every day with Lectio Divina
(If you’re new to this form of prayer, definitely check out a great book we recommend at the Biblical School entitled Praying Scripture for a Change by Dr. Tim Gray.) Trust me, just a few minutes of faithfully praying over the Word of God daily can transform your relationship with God and others. You can either take the gospel passage from the daily Mass and pray over that, or you can slowly work through one of the gospels, story by story (of course, any part of Scripture is fruitful, but the Gospels are preeminent because they communicate to us the life, teaching, and actions or our Lord Jesus Christ (see CCC 125). Again, develop a routine for this at any time of day. You only need a few minutes for this, but it’ll reap rich dividends for you.
Join a parish Bible study
There are various, wonderful Bible studies hosted in parishes regularly on specific books of the Bible or on particular topics. Those include the popular Ascension Press studies, the Walking With Purpose program, Endow, etc. Naturally, I would also recommend that everyone join the Denver Catholic Biblical School at some point in the near future when the location and time is right. There simply is no other program in the country that takes you through Scripture from Genesis to Revelation for a solid foundation on the entirety of the Bible. Our 2020 locations will be announced in April. If you cannot join a Bible study at this time for any reason, pick up a good commentary to consult when you have questions. The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible is wonderful, as is the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture series.
God bless you and your New Year’s resolutions to dive into a prayerful study of Scripture!