How the Bible Gives Us Hope
Bible Sunday: “Hope for Our Communities” is the theme of this year’s Bible Sunday Celebration. Br Mike Chalmers of the Catholic Bible Foundation says that the Bible is the very source and inspiration of our spirituality and pastoral work. Through the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC), the local Church is calling the faithful to look at the Bible “as the first source of our spirituality”. It “recommends a greater biblical apostolate, not alongside other forms of pastoral work but as a means to inspire all pastoral work”.
Thoroughly Equipped For Every Good Work
“Go to the Word ‘for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that we may be thoroughly equipped for every good work’,” said Christian Brother Mike Chalmers of the Catholic Bible Foundation of South Africa, quoting 2 Timothy 3:16.
The SACBC prays for communities and the country to find trust and hope needed to embrace everyday life and face its challenges. The theme for this year’s celebrations is “Hope for our communities”.
“Hope for our communities is a reality when we celebrate the Word of God by our lives,” Br Chalmers said. “How do we do that? We embody the Word; we embody the risen Christ who dwells among us” he said. “When we embrace his teachings together as a community and strive to live his ideals, moving beyond the self-interested isolation of private lives and the superficial social contacts that pass for ‘Christian fellowship’, we live the life we are called to as Christians.”
This year, the faithful are called to be true witnesses of Christ in a practical way, he noted. “We cannot fully experience the power and delight of life with God without being drawn into life together with our sisters and brothers in Christ,” Br Chalmers said.
“Without experiencing such life together, we will not discover how wonderful the Good News about Jesus really is. “When we embrace Christ’s teachings in the Word, we see Christ in others. As a community of faith when we share, we serve others,” he said.
Ways of Loving One Another
“Without judging, we watch out for each other. “We share the Word and grow deeper in our knowledge and relationship with God; we borrow from each other; we forgo a ‘date night’ so that we can buy books for the less fortunate,” Br Chalmers said. “We pay for a spiritual retreat for a member drained by the demands of a ‘hectic’ life; we repair a leaking roof for a member; we spend time with the elderly. “We love one another, forgive each other and regard each other more highly than ourselves.
“We teach and correct each other, encourage each other, pray for each other, bear each other’s burdens, be friends with one another, we become kind, compassionate, and generous in hospitality,” he said. “When we pray for others’ brokenness, they will know we are sharing in the healing work of Jesus. We serve one another and submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. “When we surround each other with compassion and encouragement, the load lightens; we strengthen and give others courage to keep on trying.
“When we do this for each other, the community will know that God loves it too. Such actions reflect the glory of God and offer a compelling testimony that he is Lord,” Br Chalmers said.
He then posed a challenge: How are you going to celebrate this year’s Bible Sunday – starting now until next August?