In 1979, President Marcos, a Catholic, believed that the Bible can do something for the country, and thus, proclaimed that the entire nation should celebrate the National Bible Week and National Bible Sunday….
here is a reflection from Sambuhay: A Pastoral Ministry of the Priests and Brothers of the Society of St. Paul. Each Sunday, this guide is prepared with all of the readings and mass responses/parts, so that everyone can follow along. There is a wonderful reflection on the front page of the guide, and here is an excerpt from this week, in relation to National Bible Sunday:
If there is one thing that Catholics should develop, it is the passion for the Word of God. Among the Christian groups, we, Catholics, lag behind in the knowledge of the Bible. Born again Christians show more interest in the Bible than most Catholics. We may not agree with their interpretations, but the fact remains that they spend more time reading and studying the Bible.
Though more and more Catholics attend Bible studies nowadays, still our efforts are not enough. In the Bible study, when they are asked to share what they have learned, they are often out of focus. They talk about themselves and their problems, not about the Word of God. At least, they should relate their sharing to the readings. Even the highly educated Catholics have a fear of committing errors with regard to interpretation. With this sad state of the Catholic mind, we cannot produce Christians, who are committed to the Word of God. How can we transform people into God-fearing citizens of the earth, nurtured by the Word of God?
I have studied the Bible, being raised in Catechism classes since I could remember, but since coming here to the Philippines, the Bible has pretty much become a staple in my bag! We have my journal, my camera, and a book to read, and what else? Oh yeah, a Bible. Sr. and I are always in and out of barangays, in and out of our bible studies – the Bible kind of just never leaves my bag. One of the initiatives here in the Diocese of Baguio, is for every family to have at least one Bible. As a result, one of the projects that Sr. T and I have been working on, is helping to make this happen – at least, with the families that we have access to. As soon as we started giving out the Bibles, after the families give what they can afford, the families get so excited!
Being able to provide the Bible in English, Tagalog, or Ilocano – there is no reason why these families will not be able to dive into it (unless they have trouble reading of course, but we try to help them too!) It’s wonderful, and I am so glad to be a part of it. I have seen so much progress in our bible studies, in that the families have been more open to share their thoughts and their reflections, and their desire to learn more about the Word, is visible on their face and noticeable from their attentiveness.
Along with the Bible study, something that I have noticed is that it is important to teach the families – yes, both the parents and the kids simply how to read. When we ask for lectors for some of our liturgies, a lot of them are shy because they are not able to pronounce specific words – well, shoot. sometimes it’s even difficult for me! and so, there is a lot of practice that happens before hand, but moreso, it’s helping to build the confidence of the readers! a lot of the times they sound perfect – with a few mistakes here and there, but nothing major, but they will still be down on themselves. but no! we motivate, we help them, and they carry it out, and it is perfect. 🙂 Many, many things involved with every bible study we have, and it is all very enriching, and I think my teacher skills are stretching themselves where needed. haha, i think that’s what being a missionary is all about. 🙂