Pope Francis established “Sunday of the Word of God” on January 26, 2020.
Fr Josh explains what it means to him.
Fr Josh Miechels, priest of the Emmanuel Community for the Archdiocese of Sydney, Australia
How does the Word of God help you in your vocation?
My being, and my vocation, was called forth by the Word of God – and it was in it I was able to recognize this!
Concretely: My Daily Office is an island in the tumult of the day where five times a day I can go aside and be with the Lord. And there, so often, He gives me just the right Word to shake me out of my preoccupation or how I feel and set me on my feet again in the joy, consolation, and strength of the Lord. Part of my vocation is to preach it – and so, meditating it daily in my morning adoration, what the Lord reveals to me there I preach to others – at Mass, but also in those encounters the rest of the day, with the sick, during meetings, in the confessional… The Word shared in praise and household, how it is applied in the lives of my brothers, throws lights on my situations also.
Why did Pope Francis establish the « Sunday of the Word of God » ?
Quite simply because the Word of God should be at the heart of our life – and “Ignorance of the Bible is ignorance of Christ”, as St Jerome teaches us – whose 1600th anniversary we celebrate this year. As a pastor and brother, Pope Francis is giving us this very helpful reminder: what is the Christian life without concrete time spent with the Word of God?
How will this Sunday help you in your ministry?
Good question! I’m not sure the Holy Father’s announcement has made it onto the Australian radar yet!
But in these days, I am very preoccupied with the fact the Jesus walked the lands “preaching”. In His Word, and simultaneously through various brothers, He has been saying to me that: “that’s nice, you’re involved in many projects as a priest – but are you preaching well? Are you taking time to prepare each day to preach well, to preach the Word of God?”
It is one of the priest’s basic responsibilities. I made the decision, and have been monitoring it each day: did I take time to pray with the Word of God, and prepare the homily, well before I arrive in the Sacristy? This has given me a renewed love of preaching, and also a renewed love of the Word.
What is your advise to the Community locally and internationally?
We share often about how this Word at Mass or praise struck us.
But are we also doing it in the reverse order? Knowing we have to make a decision, praying and then opening the Word of God to see what He says?
This is a very important tool, a tool used by the Saints, which we now hear rarely about. Also, in praying for a brother in our day, especially when we know he is going through a difficult time, to open and send him a word. Also in our discernment in our teams and boards: especially when we are stuck to stop, pray the Holy Spirit, and open the Bible.
The Lord is generous, it is important we keep leaving Him a seat at the table to speak!