Year 2020 with the Bible
A 20-20 vision means that you good normal eyesight. We need 20-20 vision not only with our bodily eyes. We need it more for our inner life, that we know clearly where we are going in life, what is the meaning and purpose of our life, what are the mistakes to be avoided, what goals to pursue. For this 20-20 vision in life we need a lens to see clearly. This lens is provided to us by the Word of God which is found in the Sacred Scriptures, in the Bible. It is propitious that this year 2020 has been declared by the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) as the Year of the Bible and by the Catholic Biblical Federation (CBF) as the Year of the Word of God. Both of these are huge international Christian groups. The WEA represents over 600 million Evangelical Christians worldwide with national alliances in 130 nations, whereas the CBF is a worldwide federation of Catholic Bible associations and other organizations committed to biblical-pastoral ministries in 126 countries. Both are to promote the Bible in a special way this year so that it be read more intensely by more people with the purpose that its message may give life and light to our world today which is enveloped by confusion, fear and even hopelessness because of the global burden it carries. Incidentally the year 2020 marks the 1600th death anniversary of St. Jerome, patron of Bible study and Bible translators.
With the Presidential Proclamation 124 on January 5, 2017, President Duterte has declared the month of January every year as National Bible Month, culminating in the last week of January as the National Bible Week. This means that all Filipinos, including those in government offices, are enjoined this month to focus on the importance of the reading and the study of the Bible. The government recognizes “the religious nature of the Filipino people and the elevating influence of religion in human society.” Meanwhile, Pope Francis came out with an apostolic letter last September 30, 2019, entitled: “Aperuit Illis” instituting the Sunday of the Word of God in the whole Catholic Church. He wants the whole Church to give focus on the importance of the Bible. We in the Philippines have already the Bible Sunday, celebrated on the last Sunday of January every year since the 1970s in order to inculcate among Filipino Catholics the importance of the Word of God in the life and ministry of the Church and to support the Bible Apostolate.
In his letter entitled “Verbum Domini,” Pope Benedict emphasized the centrality of the word of God in the Church’s life, and recommended a greater “biblical apostolate,” not alongside other forms of pastoral work, but as a means of letting the Bible inspire all pastoral work. Furthermore, he wrote: “Since ‘ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ,’ making the Bible the inspiration of every ordinary and extraordinary pastoral outreach will lead to a greater awareness of the person of Christ, who reveals the Father and is the fullness of divine revelation.” (DV 73)
Do we still need any further motivation to take up our Bibles now, read it regularly and spread its message to our friends?
(Guest editorial by Bishop Broderick Pabillo)