In the homily of the First Sunday of the Word of God, held last January 26 at Kiev, His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Head and Father of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, stressed that the “the Word of God, the Gospel, is not only a knowledge, a doctrine, a group of ideas,” but, rather, it is “a Divine Person,” and that it’s precisely from the Scriptures that one must begin for a renewed ecumenical commitment because the Scriptures have a central place in the mission of Christian unity.
“The first Christians, have said to us that the Word of God is the nourishment we take and thus our ability to grow in maturity in Christ. Every time we read the Scriptures, we enter in dialogue, in communion with God. God is not a silent God, but a God-Word, who speaks to us every day,” he underscored.
Therefore, His Beatitude noted that this “is the first Sunday that the Pope has proclaimed Sunday of the Word of God. The Pope wants to say to us today that the Word of God is an inexhaustible treasure of Christian unity. Beyond the religious Confessions, all Christians read and listen to the same Word of God.”
The Sunday of the Word of God was celebrated at the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, whose theme this year is “They treated us with kindness,” drawn from the passage of the Acts of the Apostles, in which Paul was shipwrecked on the Island of Malta. His Beatitude Shevchuk celebrated it together with representatives of other Churches and religious Confessions.
Commenting on the Week of Prayer, the Representative of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Bishop Oleksandr Drabynko, Metropolitan of Pereyaslav-Khmelnytsky and Vyshnevtsi, noted that “we often laud our identities, identities that, unfortunately, are often nominal rather than evangelical. And this is sad because giving precedence to minor things, we lose ourselves sometimes as Christians.”
Bishop Oleksandr said that Pope Francis’ message is that of “looking at the other, often a person of a different culture and look, as our neighbor, a person in need of our sympathy and help.”
Therefore, the Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church stressed that mercy “unites. It unites us with God and with our neighbor.”
His Beatitude Shevchuk thanked Bishop Oleksandr, the brothers of the Roman Catholic Church, the Protestants and the Representatives of the Armenian Apostolic Church for their presence.