Sunday, November 22, 2009
The Bible and the Catholic New Year
Today is the last Sunday of the liturgical year, next week begins Advent and 'C' year. From today until the start of Advent, we are in Bible Week. This is an effort on the part of the Catholic Church of Korea to make the Scriptures part of life for the Christians.
The Catholic Church has learned a great deal from the Protestants in their love for the Scriptures. The Protestants have energized the Catholics who know that the Scriptures belong to the Church and the Protestants have made it their book. Catholics are not there yet but there is a thirst and hunger for the Scriptures; the attempts of the Church in Korea have been successful in renewing the familiarity with the Bible and making it part of daily life.
The message for this Bible Week was: "We have to empty ourselves of our egos and fill our inner life with the words of Jesus . If we do that we become one with the word and able to live the life of Jesus' priesthood." Priests have to make the effort to use Scripture in preaching. The sermon of the priest should help the Christians satisfy their hunger and thirst for the spiritual . "We all partake of the priesthood of Jesus and reading , prayer and studying the Scriptures will form us so that we will have a strong vision of what our mission in life is."
In some parishes we have the custom of copying the Scriptures in a notebook and presenting it for some type of reward. There have been many who copy the whole of the Old and New Testament. You have web sites where a book of the Scriptures is selected and the parishioners access the web site to add to the last section that they see on the monitor. This continues until they finish and start another book. I do not know if this is a good way of familiarizing oneself with the Scriptures but it does show one type of effort that is made to make the Bible part of Christian daily life.
We have magazines on the Scriptures, all kinds of programs, seminars, retreats. The Catholics are bombarded with efforts to have them live with the Scriptures and it has worked. Eph. (6:17) "Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, the word of God." James (1:22) "Act on the word . If all you do is listen to it, you are deceiving yourselves." These two quotes are contained in the message from the Bishops' Committee, a prod for the Christians not only for Bible Week but for their lives.