My dear parishioners and friends of our parish community: Praised be Jesus Christ! Now and forever!
If someone were to ask you why the Catholic Church insists on the indissolubility of marriage, could you answer? Or if they asked you where the idea of papal infallibility stemmed from, could you tell them? Or if they asked why Catholics believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, could you reply intelligently? In fact, all of these answers, and many others, can be found in the Bible.
Of course, the first question often asked is which version of the Bible should we read? Certainly attempt to obtain a Bible which has an “imprimatur.” What is this? It’s an official declaration that a book is free of doctrinal or moral error. It is given by a bishop of a diocese or his delegate. There are several Bible versions in English that have an imprimatur: the New American Bible, the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition, the Ignatius Bible, and the New Jerusalem Bible are perhaps the most popular.
The New American Bible is the text that was used for many years in the Mass, until the revised text was issued in 1998. The Revised Standard Catholic Bible is said to be the most literal. The New Jerusalem preceded the other two. It came out in 1966 and was excellent for its extensive footnotes and cross-references to similar themes in other sections of the text. In fact, I prefer the 1966 edition of the Jerusalem Bible to the New Jerusalem Bible, since the latter gave up literary beauty for the sake of inclusive language.
I find inclusive language has cheapened the study and reading of Sacred Scripture. Every Catholic home should have a good Bible for reading and for reference. Any of the four just mentioned would be good choices. I do recommend a hardcover Bible, even if it costs a few dollars more. The New American Bible would probably be the least expensive, followed by the RSV (Catholic Edition). If you acquire the Jerusalem Bible, I recommend the 1966 edition (no inclusive language) and that you get one with the footnotes, rather than the abbreviated “reader’s edition.” The Ignatius Bible, published by Ignatius Press, is recommended for its orthodoxy and also free of inclusive language.
What’s the best way to read the entire Bible? I recommend reading the New Testament first, and then the Old Testament. If you read just one chapter a day, you will finish the whole Bible in three years! The Bible is rich and so it helps to read it slowly and prayerfully.
In today’s Holy Gospel, Jesus fed the people not only with bread and fishes, but most importantly, with His Word. The words Jesus spoke can feed us today, under the guidance of the Church, which he promised to be with always. In brief, it’s important that Catholics learn Scripture reading in our daily or weekly devotions, and that we make an attempt to learn Sacred Scripture and its meaning. And to be able to witness to our faith, we should know how to research various elements of the faith.
Our Catholic faith is deeply biblical, and we should know that well. In these lazy, hazy, and often crazy days of Summer, please make time for reading God’s Word.
A Prayer To Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament