January is a great month for celebrations in the Church, the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God, Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord and now a new celebration instituted by Pope Francis on the 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time which will become known as “Sunday of the Word of God”. We will celebrate it on January 26, 2020, for the first time.
On Christmas Day, we heard from St John’s Gospel, Jn 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Let’s look at what the Word of God truly is. From the Greek, logos, we have a much deeper definition, than just “word”. Logos means God’s desire and ability to speak to human beings. It is the intelligible expression of God’s mind. This communication is evidenced in Jesus Christ, who is the “Word become flesh.”
Jesus Christ is the Word of God and the Bible is the Word of God. The Bible is the written Word of God and Jesus is the incarnate Word of God, but Jesus and the Bible are one and the same word. St. Paul in his letters, tells us that the Church is the Body of Christ, which means the Church and Christ are one body. The Church, all of us, are the mystical Word of God, the body of Christ lived out in the world today. So, the Word of God is Jesus Christ, the Sacred Scriptures, and the Church.
This rich and varied meaning of the Word of God is why “the Church has always venerated the Scriptures as she venerates the Lord’s Body. She never ceases to present to the faithful the bread of life, taken from the one table of God’s Word and Christ’s Body.” (CCC 103). All of the Bible speaks of Christ, in both the Old and New Testaments. In the Old, Christ is foretold and in the New, Christ fulfills the prophecies of the Old.
As we celebrate our first Sunday of the Word of God, we are reminded of the importance of this logos in our daily lives. In his Apostolic Letter, Aperuit Illis (Instituting the Sunday of the Word of God), Pope Francis tells us he proposed this celebration so that we could “appreciate the inexhaustible riches contained in the constant dialogue between the Lord and His people.” May we be reminded in this celebration that the Word of God is a living word and should be ever a part of our daily lives and our daily prayers.