A Reflection on ‘Aperuit Illis’

  • Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
  • Sunday of The Word of God
  • Mt 4,12-23

Introduction

Today we celebrate Third Sunday in ordinary time. Recently, through an Apostolic Letter, Aperuit Illis, Pope Francis established this week as Sunday of the Word of God on the liturgical calendar. Francis invites us to know and to understand how the risen Lord opens up for us the treasury of His Word and enables us to proclaim its unfathomable riches before the world. As St Jerome said “Ignorance of the scripture is ignorance of Christ”. 

Homily:

My dear brethrens, oftentimes, the Word of God written in the Scripture is merely used for justification, not to tell the Truth. Justification is more on the defense of our actions which are not always true. For example, when we fall in love, we quote Paul in Philippians “I thank my God every time I remember you”, but when we break up, we quote Peter who denied Jesus by saying “I don’t know and don’t understand what you mean”.

The word of God that we read in the scriptures first confirms the identity of our close relationship with God. Without Lord who opens our minds to them, it is impossible to understand the Scriptures in-depth. Yet the contrary is equally true: without the Scriptures, the events of Jesus mission and His Church in this world would stay incomprehensible. So, the Scriptures that we read are to find the truth about Jesus mission. His Word which strengthens us until finally making us as missionaries of that infinite treasure. Therefore, the Word of God is not a weapon to attack others, but rather as a treasure that should be proclaimed because it strengthens and saves us. 

As Francis mentioned in the Apperuit Illis, we can conclude today’s readings into three things. They tell us about God’s reality, God’s majesty and the inclusivity of God’s word. First: the reality of God narrated in today’s reading is that He is the Saviour who saves all people through the forgiveness of sins. Christ is the first exegete! He did not simply fulfill the prophecies in the Old Testament, but He was also faithful to God’s will. He persevered in obedience to give the greatest salvation for all mankind, whose fulfilment is found in Himself.

Second: God’s majesty is proven by the statement that He is The Light. If we look deeper, His Words always contain many aspects. As for this particular statement, the Scripture speaks about how the light of the Holy Spirit paves the way for our lives to be inspired, dynamic and spiritual.

Third: The inclusivity of the Word means that the Word of God unites us; it makes us live in peaceful harmony. Therefore, the word of God shall never be used as justification that separates family, community and church. This is more than a temporal coincidence: This Sunday of the Word of God celebration has an ecumenical value, since the Scriptures point out, for those who listen, the path to authentic and firm unity. The Bible cannot be just the heritage of some, much less a collection of books for the benefit of a privileged few. It belongs above all to those called to hear its message and to recognize themselves in its words. At times, there could be a tendency to monopolize the sacred text by restricting it to certain circles or to select groups. It cannot be that way. The Bible is the book of the Lord’s people, who, in listening to it, moves from dispersion and division towards unity. The word of God unites believers and makes them one people.

My dear brothers and sisters, in this Sunday of the Word of God, Pope Francis urges us to reflect on The Scripture and celebrate the Holy Eucharist consistently. These beautiful legacies of Christ enable us to see ourselves as a part of one another. As Christians, we are always in the pilgrimage through history. But we are never alone—the Lord himself is always present amidst us, to guide and nurture us. A daily devotion to the Bible should not be seen as a yearly event, but rather a year-long event, for we urgently need to grow in our knowledge and love of the Scriptures and of the risen Lord who continues to speak his word and to break bread in the community of believers. For this reason, we need to develop a closer relationship with sacred Scripture; otherwise, our hearts will remain cold and our eyes shut, struck as we are by so many forms of blindness.

[RD. Jeremias Uskono]

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