Resources for Parishes

Introduction

In his Apostolic Letter of 30 September 2019, Aperuit illis, Pope Francis established that the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time is to be the Sunday of the Word of God. He already proposed something similar at the end of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. It is a day to be devoted to the celebration, study, and spreading of the Word of God. Pope Francis is clear from the very first paragraph of this letter that the relationship between the Risen Lord, a community of believers, and sacred Scripture is essential to who we are as Christians.

This Sunday is a time when the community is called to give greater attention not just to the Word of God. It is also urged to reflect on how we honour that Word in our celebrations, the books that we proclaim the Word from. Is the Gospel book carried in procession? Is it a well-made book that shows forth its life-giving content? Is it honoured with incense, and do we sing during the Gospel procession? Are the readers who proclaim the Word formed in the art of proclamation, and the knowledge of what they are announcing?

Pope Francis suggests in his letter that this Sunday is an ideal time to reflect on these issues. For presiders, it is also a call to reflect once again on their preaching of the Word of God. This Sunday might well be an appropriate time to commission and bless those who serve the community as readers, and initiate new ones to this essential ministry. If the parish community does not enthrone the Word of God every Sunday, maybe today is an opportunity to start. Another way of nourishing the role of scripture is praying quietly together in a lectio divina style of prayer. Why not gather a group for an hour and pray these particular scriptural lections?

The resources below have been prepared for the ‘Sunday of the Word of God’ by the Faculty of Theology, Pontifical University, St Patrick’s College Maynooth: they can be downloaded on the following link:  https://www.catholicbishops.ie/2019/12/17/resources-for-sunday-of-the-word-of-god/

Table of Contents

  1. Celebrating the Sunday of the Word of God
  2. What is the Word of God?
  3. The Holy Spirit and the Scriptures
  4. Opening the Law and the Prophets: On Reading the Old Testament as Christians
  5. Liturgy of the Word
  6. Reflection on the First Reading (Isaiah 8:23-9:3)
  7. Reflection on Psalm 26 (27)
  8. Reflection on the Second Reading (1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17)
  9. Reflection on the Gospel Reading (Matt 4:12-23 or Matt 4:12-17)
  10. Homily
  11. Enthronement of the Word of God
  12. Commissioning or Blessing of Readers
  13. Commissioning Ministers of the Word
  14. General Intercessions