Summary: Catholic Bible Sunday
Today is the 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, now dedicated to promoting a love and knowledge of Scripture, it’s like our new annual “Bible Sunday” for Catholics! Bishop Desmond Tutu likes to tell:
“When the missionaries came to Africa, we had the land and they had the Bible. Then they said, ‘Let us pray’ and asked us to close our eyes. When we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible”. He adds, “And I think we got the better deal.”
The Bible is the written word of God, but the [whole] Word of God is Jesus as we pray in the Angelus Prayer: The Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us. This is why Catholics and Orthodox Christians believe, as the Catechism teaches in no. 108, that the Christian faith is not a "religion of the book"--Jesus never said assemble a book and pass it around. Instead, he established a Church that discerned which books comprise Sacred Scripture.
Although both Catholics and Protestants have the same 27 books in the New Testament, Protestants have 39 books in their Old Testament because they follow the Hebrew canon. Catholics have 46 books in the Old Testament because we follow the Septuagint or Greek version. However, it is important to know that almost all of the New Testament references to the Old Testament are taken from the Septuagint version, so it clearly was the version the first Christians used. Plus, who could have known that 400 years after Martin Luther, many Hebrew copies of Septuagint were found in the Dead Sea scrolls at Qumran?
My mnemonic device to remember the missing 7 books not found in the Protestant Bible-- “To be with Sweet Jesus My Man” (7)
Tobit, Baurch, Wisdom, Sirach, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees.
2). Our Gospel today features professional fisherman. They had in hand circular fishing nets, weighted around the perimeter, that were thrown from a standing position in shallow water to catch large shoals of fish at one cast.
Am I a “Fisher of Men?” And I don’t mean girls looking for a date! Jesus did not say, “Come after me, and we’ll talk about fishing for men.” He said, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
There is a delightful story about a young Asian girl named Yi (pronounced “Yee”). Yi first heard this verse at Vacation Bible School, but she heard it in the King James Version of the Bible, which begins like this, “Go YE therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Yi didn’t understand that in the King James English, the word “ye” just means “you.” This young girl thought her name was in the Bible! She became truly excited that Jesus was telling her—“Ye” to personally go spread his message to the world, that Christ has died, Christ is Risen, and Christ will come again!
3. Our Readings this Sunday mention “light” several times.
Ceramic oil lamps are among the artifacts most frequently found in archaeological excavations in the Holy Land, which is what Psalm 119:105 refers to, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”
Illumination can refer to either physical light or intellectual light. The Bible uses the word "light" to represent intelligence. When Jesus said, "I am the light of the world," he means that he is the expresser of Truth in all its aspects.
Faith is a light, for once the flame of faith dies out, all other lights begin to dim. Our Readings said twice, The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.
The light that is the remedy for the gloom of sin is repentance: “Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The light is on for you (the slogan for Wednesday confessions during Lent).
The new reality requiring repentance is the onset of the kingdom--the reclaiming of the world for God’s rule, dispossessing the rule of Satan.
Blaise Pascal said, “In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don't.”
The man or woman of God welcomes the light that searches their deeds and finds them true.
An igloo can reach 61 degrees when warmed by body heat alone. The Gloom and chill busters is a faithful believer who has the light of Christ, in the state of grace.
4. Lastly, faith comes from hearing, Romans 10:17, says—
The organs for speaking and hearing are the lungs, windpipe, larnyx and vocal cords, throat, nose, and mouth. These are also the breathing organs.
The spirituality of breath is rooted is this biological reality.