Before the technological explosion I would certainly have been called a bibliophile, a lover of books. And truth be told I still am although more of the books I buy today are eBooks. Christians can rightly be called bibliophiles, lovers not just of books in general but of The Book, O βιβλίος , The Bible. We will use the phrase, People of the Book. We immerse ourselves in the Word of God. But the Word and the Book are not the same thing.
Today on this 7th day of the Octave of Christmas the Church has us reread the gospel of Christmas Day from the prologue of John's Gospel.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Ο λόγος -the Word is not just spoken by God. This Word is God. This Word is the One through whom the universe was created. And,
The Word became flesh, and lived among us.
In Jesus our relationship is radically transformed. The Word to which we cling is a person not a book. He is the second person of the Trinity, incarnate of the Virgin Mary. Present to us not only the words he spoke, but most fully present to us in the Eucharist. We consume the Word of God every time we receive communion. We consume the Word made flesh.
Many people make New Years resolutions and a common one is to read the Bible. As Christians the place to starts is with the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These are the foundation. They are the words(small w) that tells about The Word when he became flesh and dwelt among us. Only when we have immersed ourselves in the gospel can we properly understand the rest of the Bible.
Protestants tend to focus on the words of the Bible. Catholics tend to focus on the Word made flesh in the Eucharist. It is not an either/or. It should be a both/and. We need one to understand the other. They are inseparable, because they both bind us to the one reality. The Gospels and the Eucharist link us to the God who became one with us in the incarnation we celebrate at Christmas. We should strive to remain one with Him.
By all means read the Bible, most of all the Gospels. But for an even fuller experience combine that with reception of His Body and Blood. Spend time in His presence before a tabernacle in a Church or Chapel. When we combine these we go from being people of the Book to truly People of the Word.