A Note From Father Eickhoff

May 5, 2024

Today’s first reading is drawn from the 10th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. When I write “drawn” what I mean is that the reading is merged together from fragments of the entire chapter with large sections cut out. Normally I dislike mass readings that are formed in this way as they often leave out important context that helps to explain the meaning of the scripture passage. However, in this case I understand why the Church has set this reading up in this fashion. This would be a very, very long first reading if we were to proclaim it in its entirety at mass (as to how long think of the reading of the passion of the Lord on Palm Sunday). Still, I encourage you to read the 10th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles on your own to get the full impact of this reading upon your mind and heart.

This brings me to the main point of this bulletin article. It is important for us as Christians to be deeply familiar with the Holy Scriptures. It is wonderful that we hear snippets of the scriptures at every mass. We should be paying attention to the readings during mass; and if we do pay attention to the readings during mass, we will hear a good chunk of the entirety of the scriptures over the course of the Catholic Church’s three-year scripture cycle. It is still better for us to take the time to read the scriptures on our own on a regular basis. By doing this we have the opportunity to ponder the Word of God at our own pace and to give to the Word of God the time the scriptures deserve.

There are two questions that often get asked by Catholics as to the reading the Holy Scriptures:

1. What version of the Bible should I read?
2. What part of the Bible should I read?

There are many different translations (versions) of the Holy Bible in existence. For Catholics I recommend purchasing the New American Bible – Revised Edition translation. This version is the closest approximation to the translation used in the scriptural readings that we hear at mass and will help you follow along with the readings if you want to study the mass readings on your own before or after Sunday Mass.

If you are new to reading the Bible I don’t recommend just opening the front cover and starting to read. The Bible is not set up like a novel, or a textbook. It is not necessary to read it in order from start to finish. Instead, I recommend first reading one of the Gospels and then start to read the Book of the Psalms. The Gospel will give you the crucial foundation for our faith in Jesus Christ and the Psalms will help guide and build up your prayer life. After that you should read the scriptures as your own interest and desire takes you. In any case it is good to get started (or restarted) on reading the scriptures on your own.

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Stephen Eickhoff