Brothers and Sisters,

Catholics are often accused by our separated brothers and sisters of not reading the Bible. I would like to say that they are dead wrong, and that Catholics love the Bible and know the Bible upside down and backwards. I think the reality is that we still have work to do on that one!

Do you read your Bible every day? One of the foundations of our faith is that the Sacred Scriptures are one of the ways the supernatural and the natural are woven together. The Bible–the Sacred Scriptures–are the written witness we have of the primary revelation of God in Christ Jesus. In other words, the Bible tells us about Jesus. It records the mystery of salvation history which culminates in the incarnation of Jesus Christ the Son of God.

Therefore, it is a fundamental duty of all Catholics to know and love the Bible. How can you read the Bible more? Follow the daily Mass readings. Did you know that if you simply read the daily Mass readings (even if you can’t get to Mass) over three years you will have read most of the Bible. A good way to do this is with the little magazine Magnificat. You can also follow the daily Mass readings on various websites–the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and a website called Universalis. These can both be accessed with smart phones and other gadgets.

Have you thought of joining a Bible study group? A group of Catholics prayerfully reading the Bible together can bring increased knowledge and application of the Scriptures to daily life.

Remember the other foundation of faith for Catholics. We don’t believe in the Protestant idea of sola Scriptura or “only the Bible”. For Catholics the Bible is always read within the whole life of the Catholic Church. It was the Catholic Church that first wrote the Bible, decided what books should go in the Bible, and have been the defenders of the Bible down through the ages.

St. Peter says there is no private interpretation of the Bible. Therefore, our own reading of the Bible is always subject to the final interpretation and teaching of the Church.

The Church gives us a broad overview and helps us to see within the Scriptures the Lord Jesus Christ who is God’s primary revelation to us.

This Lent, why not pick up that Bible at home, blow the dust and cobwebs off it, and start reading again. Read through St. Mark’s gospel or St. Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians. Those are my favorite books.

Give it a try!

Your Pastor,

Fr. Longenecker