The God who loves us so abundantly is not some kind of nebulous, amorphous vapor of good feelings. God has revealed himself to us over the course of history through specific words and actions, climaxing in the Incarnation of his Son, Jesus Christ, who in turn, revealed the Father’s love through specific words and actions. These words and actions formulate our narrative—the story of our salvation. When we invite others to enter into a relationship with God, we are inviting them to enter into a story that gives meaning to our lives and teaches us who we are and whose we are. This story is the essence of Sacred Scripture, and there can be no effective evangelization and catechesis without inviting people to enter into this story. As Pope Paul VI taught us in Evangelii Nuntiandi:
There is no true evangelization if the name, the teaching, the life, the promises, the kingdom and the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God are not proclaimed. (22)
None of the above can be accomplished effectively without reliance on Sacred Scripture. Not too long ago, I posted about the notion of all parish ministry being “biblically animated” or “powered” by the Bible. Now, I am happy to announce that we at Loyola Press are placing Sacred Scripture front and center in the newest edition of our Finding God curriculum, Finding God 2021, which is truly biblically animated! Above is an example from the grade 2 Finding God Student Book of what you’ll find on the first page of each chapter: an invitation to enter into God’s Word. Not only is the Scripture passage printed on the page and beautifully illustrated, but there is also a multimedia option available that invites readers to scan a QR code that will enable them to listen to the story on their device. Catechists will love this feature, because it invites young people to enter into the story of our salvation and sets the tone for the entire chapter. Parents will love this feature, since it gives them an opportunity to bring Scripture stories to life at home as they review their child’s lessons.
You may have heard that Pope Francis has declared the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time as “Word of God Sunday,” with the first observation of this taking place on January 26, 2020. “The relationship between the risen Lord, the community of believers and sacred Scripture is essential to our identity as Christians,” the Pope said in the announcement, released by the Vatican on September 30, the feast of St. Jerome, who is the patron saint of biblical scholars. This new revision of Finding God Grades 1–6 will enable young people and their families to strengthen their identity as Christians. As Pope Francis said, “without the Scriptures, the events of the mission of Jesus and of his church in this world would remain incomprehensible.” May Finding God 2021 inspire the next generation of missionaries to be filled with God’s Word along with the grace needed to proclaim it to the world!