“Read the divine Scriptures constantly; never let the sacred volume fall from your hand.” – St. Jerome, Epistle 52.7
We in the Archdiocese of Detroit are on a journey of transformation, informed by Synod 16 and guided by the Holy Spirit to become a community of joyful missionary disciples. At the very heart of this effort is the Word of God, the Sacred Scriptures through which our Lord himself speaks to the Church and to each her members personally: from his heart to ours. As Pope Francis affirmed in his 2013 Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel, true evangelization relies on Scripture:
All evangelization is based on [the word of God], listened to, meditated upon, lived, celebrated and witnessed to. The sacred Scriptures are the very source of evangelization. Consequently, we need to be constantly trained in hearing the word. The Church does not evangelize unless she constantly lets herself be evangelized.
Filling our hearts with the living Word of God equips us to evangelize with compassion and conviction. When we read Scripture prayerfully, it becomes a dialogue of love as we listen to God’s heart through his Word and we respond from our own heart in prayer. We are the “good soil” in the parable Jesus shares with his disciples, holding fast to the Word and allowing it to bear fruit in our lives.
In January, and in unity with the universal Church, we celebrated the second annual Sunday of the Word of God, established by Pope Francis for the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time to encourage the prayerful reading of the Bible and greater familiarity with God’s Word. In this spirit, I shared with you my latest Pastoral Note, The Power of the Word of God. It is an invitation to our local Church to become more saturated with the Word of God, to be a Church whose members love the Scriptures, study them, pray them, and live by them.
I commend the many members of the faithful who welcomed 2021 by undertaking a Grow Year Scripture Challenge, committing to read all or parts of the Bible this year as a way to be renewed in their zeal to study the Scriptures. Consider starting today; it is never too late to begin this transformational journey.
I hope this issue serves as inspiration and encouragement to further immerse yourselves into the living Word of God, an effective engine to power evangelization. As we let the Holy Spirit form us into the disciples we were born to be, let us come together in prayer over the Scriptures, inviting the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with joy and determination to continue unleashing the Gospel in our community.