Reading Scripture is a common recommendation for a Lenten practice. After all, it is God’s ultimate love note to humanity. It is especially appropriate for Lent to prayerfully read the Gospels as we begin our observance Lent to prepare to celebrate the pinnacle of our liturgical year: Holy Week.
I dare say that as Catholics, we have gotten better in reading the Bible on our own since Vatican II’s clarion call. Better, but there is always room for improvement. One area that we are still generally awful at is talking about Scripture with each other. One of the core aspects of the students’ and young adults’ small groups and the Good News People program that I am truly delighted by is a common reflection on Scripture. The goal, of course, is for members to fall more deeply in love with God through Jesus in the Church.
The staff has begun to do this. In addition to our “business” meeting, we also take about 45 minutes every week to pray over and discuss the upcoming Sunday’s Gospel. While we bellyache how we are busy and that time could be used to do something else, we all enjoy it when we are actually there and doing it. (Even when some are 10-15 minutes late!) I look forward to it even though it is part of my busiest day of the week. I also can tell you that insights that surfaced during those times have come out in homilies and have “gone home” to staff members’ families. Our format is simple: the passage is read by someone, then follows two minutes of silence; we do that three times and then open up discussion. We sometimes even use the reflection questions I came up with beforehand. I always love it when I have to cut in and say, “OK, folks, we HAVE to stop and do some business!”
As we begin Lent, I encourage you to pick up your Bible, read it and talk about it with your family, with your friends and anyone whose insights you appreciate!