Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends and Parishioners of Saint Jerome,

Pax Christi semper vobiscum.

As the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy ended in November 2016, Pope Francis made a declaration that the third Sunday of Ordinary Time would be dedicated to a Solemn Commemoration of the Word of God. He said, “Devoting a specific Sunday of the liturgical year to the word of God can enable the Church to experience anew how the risen Lord opens up for us the treasury of his word and enables us to proclaim its unfathomable riches before the world…” (The Apostolic Letter Aperuit Illis of Pope Francis)

Unfortunately, not many of us are ever conscious of the significance and depth of God’s Word that was fulfilled during the Incarnation and the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ. We have become so familiar to hearing the Word of God being proclaimed in many of our religious gatherings to the point of losing our sense of awareness of the message that God is conveying to us. It is a reality that the proclamation of the Word during our liturgies has become a routine during the ritualistic expression of our common worship. It would be a challenge for us to truly consider our sense of excitement and enthusiasm to hear God’s message as we anticipate it being proclaimed from the pulpit.

The Word of God plays a very important role in our Christian journey because it sustains us, inspires us,  and animates our souls. God’s Word is life. We heard it from Saint John the Evangelist that the Word, Jesus, was made flesh and dwelt amongst us. The Word in the bosom of God the Father is the Word that claims us so we can participate fully in the life of God through His grace. The Sacred Scriptures that were written and compiled for us by their authors are inspired by the Spirit of God so we can remain in Him and continue to be sustained by His love that was revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.  By making the Word of God the standard of our living and behavior, we are left with the promise and assurance of eternal life won for us by Jesus Christ. For this reason, our dedication of this day to the Word of God as represented by the Sacred Book that we carry during the entrance procession at Mass, from which stories and wisdom are proclaimed at the pulpit, should instill in us a sense of deeper commitment to reflection, sacred reading and scriptural prayer.

I ask you to consider doing the Lectio Divina, an ancient monastic practice of reading, meditating, contemplating, praying, and living the message of God to us through the Sacred Scriptures. It is our guarantee that to have the Word of God flow into our souls will quench our thirst and hunger for the living God.

In addition, the entire Church began the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity last Tuesday, January 18th. The theme for this year’s WPCU was chosen by the Middle East Council of Churches that originated from Lebanon. The Council chose the passage from the Gospel of Saint Matthew, “We saw the star in the East, and we came to worship Him.” (Mat. 2:2) It is our common belief that to pray for those who suffer is an expression of our solidarity and unity with other Christians. We are aware that the current situation in the Middle East, especially in Lebanon, is truly challenged socially and economically in great part because of Covid-19. It is important that our different expressions of Christian faith affirm our conviction of fraternity and solidarity amid the difficult times in our lives. I ask you remember this intention in your prayers as we end this initiative during the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul next week.

Finally, the newly formed Parish Council met for the first time last weekend. The members will begin in the coming days the initial phase of their role as the pastor’s assistants in bringing our people together to accomplish the mission of Jesus Christ in our local church. I wish you all a blessed week.

Sincerely in Christ and Mary,