Get in the habit of talking about Jesus in your families and schools. “Don’t let anybody expunge Jesus from your schools. Talk about Jesus. When you talk about Him, He comes and stays with you,” Papal Nuncio Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu said in an impassioned tone.
He was delivering the homily at the closing Mass for the Bible Fair hosted by the Catholic Bible Institute, Caroni last Sunday, the first Word of God Sunday. Pope Francis in his Apostolic Letter Motu proprio Aperuit illis published September 30 established that the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time be devoted to the celebration, study and dissemination of the Word of God.
Archbishop Nwachukwu said, “For the Pope, the purpose of setting out this day is to encourage Christians to celebrate, to study, and to disseminate the Word of God.”
He explained Aperuit illis was taken from Luke 24:45, “He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” and on Word of God Sunday, Catholics have the opportunity to have their minds opened to understand the scriptures of the Word of God.
Why is it necessary to have a day for the Word of God? Archbishop Nwachukwu pointed to “relativism” in societies with “human standards” becoming the principles by which people lived their lives.
He suggested this could happen even in the Christian community as with the early Church in Corinth (Cor 1:10, 13, 17).
Word of God Sunday is a reminder of what John 1:1 states, ‘‘In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the Word was God”. Lives must be built not on “human agreements” but on the Word of God. It also reminds that the Word should be central and fundamental to the Christian life. Archbishop Nwachukwu focused on the disciples on their way to Emmaus saying they gave an example of “what should be our relationship with God”. He encouraged families to take time to read about this in Luke 24:13–35.
When families begin talking about Jesus, there will be questions from Him. Jesus brings people “into the conversation” and they discover the “darkness” in their lives in the form of sickness and other difficulties which cannot be resolved.
Archbishop Nwachukwu said, “He is going to bring up issues….Jesus is interrogating…that question of infidelity to your family, that is Jesus talking to you, that case of sickness you have been trying to resolve…that case of disunity, of enmity, of rancor, that is Jesus questioning you.”
As the day got dark, the disciples asked Jesus to stay with them. Similarly, those who talked about and talked with Jesus, if they asked Him to stay, He would.
Archbishop Nwachukwu said Mary, the mother of Jesus, carried the Word for nine months and she can “show us how to receive the Word…how to nurture it in ourselves…how to grow, how to live faith and not just hear it.”
Earlier in the day, there were encounter sessions on the Proclamation of the Word, Bibliodrama and Lectio Divina. Archbishop Jason Gordon and Fr Urban Hudlin OP also led workshop sessions on ‘Reading the Bible as the Word of God’ and ‘Preaching’.