26th January 2020 – 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Brothers & Sisters,

2020 has been declared by the Bishops of England and Wales as the Year of the Bible. As you may know I am involved in a Diocesan initiative at Vaughan House (by Westminster Cathedral, see poster on the doors of the Church). A couple of weeks ago there were around 30 people. The next session is next week. One of the colleagues I met in Rome this past week told me that she is also involved in a similar initiative in Paraguay.

Contrary to what one of the lecturers at my course said last Friday, I think there is a desire to know the Bible better and to understand it. Some of us have realised that, as the psalm says,: “your Word, oh Lord, is a lamp for my steps”. Because of this desire, pope Francis has instituted the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time as the Sunday in which we are called to reflect on the importance of the Word of God. For many of us the only contact we have with the Word of God is our Sunday Mass. If something strikes you about the readings, feel free to take the white mass leaflet with you. Some others might read the daily readings provided by the Church or even read a portion of the Scriptures randomly or provided by an app. I would say that it is important that nobody should spend a day without reading, at least, a little from the Bible.

As we so, we do well to remember that the Church down the ages has taught there are four sense to Scripture: literal, allegorical, moral and anagogical. The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by those who, like myself, study and teach Scripture following some well defined rules. The allegorical sense refers to the more profound understanding of events when we recognise their significance in Christ; for example, the crossing of the Red Sea is a sign or type of Christ’s victory and also of Christian Baptism. The moral sense highlights that the events reported in Scripture ought to lead us to act justly. As St. Paul says, they were written “for our instruction”. The anagogical sense which gets its name from the Greek anagoge, “leading” points to realities and events in terms of their eternal significance, leading us toward our true homeland: in this way the Church on earth is a sign of the heavenly Jerusalem.

I hope that we realise the importance of God’s Word and we grow in our appreciation of it in all its meaning for our lives.

Fr Javier

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