Published on 20 January 2021

Sunday of the Word of God, 24 January 2021: a Feast for the Bible

A special occasion instituted by the Pope aimed at placing at the centre of our lives, alongside the Eucharist, the practice of listening to Sacred Scripture

On Sunday 24 January we celebrate the “Sunday of the Word of God”, which was instituted last year by Pope Francis, on the 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, to remind all, clergy and faithful, of the importance and value of Sacred Scripture for the Christian life and also for the relationship between the Word of God and liturgy.

Sunday of the Word of God is therefore a special occasion to gather the people of God around the Bible; it is a day of feasting and celebration to place at the centre of life, besides the Eucharist, the practice of listening to Sacred Scripture through readings, in-depth studies and spiritual reflection in a community setting.

The Pontifical Basilica of Saint Anthony in Padua, Italy, is also joining this initiative of the Holy Father, and recalls his words from Aperuit Illis, the Apostolic Letter issued Motu Proprio, with which, on 20 September 2019, he instituted “Sunday of the Word of God”:

1.“He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Lk 24:45).  This was one of the final acts of the risen Lord before his Ascension.  Jesus appeared to the assembled disciples, broke bread with them and opened their minds to the understanding of the sacred Scriptures. To them, amid their fear and bewilderment, he unveiled the meaning of the paschal mystery: that in accordance with the Father’s eternal plan he had to suffer and rise from the dead, in order to bring repentance and the forgiveness of sins (cf. Lk 24:26.46-47). He then promised to send the Holy Spirit, who would give them strength to be witnesses of this saving mystery (cf. Lk 24:49).

The relationship between the Risen Lord, the community of believers and sacred Scripture is essential to our identity as Christians. Without the 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 the mission of Jesus and of his Church in this world would remain incomprehensible. Hence, Saint Jerome could rightly claim: “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ” (Commentary on the Book of Isaiah, Prologue: PL 24,17B).

Go to the complete text of the Apostolic Letter