Sydney Maronite Eddie Sallan has a New Year’s challenge for his fellow Catholics: “Get stuck into Scripture”.
The Croydon Park hair salon co-owner is encouraging every Catholic he meets to open up the bible each day and read it as a “fundamental” part of life.
“Don’t be scared to confront questions that people ask you about the Bible and what we believe,” Eddie says. “Study it and you find out for yourself what Jesus said to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, everything has been written about him in the psalms and by the Prophets.”
Friends have already taken up the challenge, with more than 70 people joining him in listening to popular daily podcast, The Bible in a Year with Fr Mike Schmitz, which began at the start of January with the Genesis accounts of the creation of the world and will end with the book of Revelation in December.
Eddy’s own journey of faith has had many twists and turns, including falling away “for a long time” and then returning with a passion for learning about his religion.
He is currently studying for a Bachelor of Theology at the Catholic Institute of Sydney, having previously learnt to love Scripture at a local non-denominational Bible college.
Family Educators at Sydney Catholic Schools are also tackling the challenge of exploring the Bible from cover to cover during 2021. Elsa Manu said she has always wanted to read the Bible more deeply and grow in her understanding of sacred scripture. She has also had great success in inviting colleagues and other fellow Catholics to join her in daily reading or podcast listening followed by reflection two separate social media chat groups on the connections between scripture, faith and life.
“Doing this in community with others has been highly beneficial as it allows us to share our thoughts and insights around the readings, learn from each other as well as pray together,” Elsa said. “Everyone is loving it and we have been amazed at how much we have learnt so far already.”
Elsa said it showed that Catholics, usually not known for their familiarity with scripture, “are hungry for formation”.
Peter Holmes, a lecturer in scripture at Notre Dame University, Sydney, said he was delighted to see so many people interested in the Bible. “I’d like to see many more organic small groups of people regularly gathering around the Word and letting it form them as individuals and a community,” he said.
“I think anything that encourages people to read the Bible is good, although there’s a temptation when we follow a set program just to accept whatever the ‘expert’ says and not engage with scripture personally.
“It’s much more meaningful and life-changing if you bring your reactions, insights or even struggles to it, opening it in the presence of others. In fact, I’m sure that if every parish had three or four Bible study groups it would change our relationship with Our Lord and it would change our Church for the better.”
- New papal letter promotes scripture, better homilies
- Mark Shea: The Bible is dopey stories for cretins? Time to think again