Whenever something big happens or good news is passed on, we are often asked to "Spread the word". It is expected that we not keep good or important things to ourselves but rather get the word out. Among priests, when assignment time comes, the phone lines become very busy. In our Diocese of Greensburg, with our bishop having submitted his letter of resignation this past March, we wait in great anticipation for the word of his successor to be announced and look forward to spreading that word to all those who "wait in hope"..
On the 30th of September the Church honors Saint Jerome, a priest and monk who lived long ago. He is honored for his teaching and influence but most especially because he felt in his heart the need to spread the word. The Word that he most desired to share was "the" WORD of God as found in the Scriptures, because, as the Collect of his mass says, he had "a living and tender love for Sacred Scripture". Jerome took on the monumental task of translating the entire bible from the languages of the learned to the common tongue, the language of the people - Latin. His great achievement was to make the Word of God available to every person who could read or hear the Word spoken. He did so in order that the people of God could be nourished by the Word of God and find in it the fount of life. His was a great gift to the Church.
When I was growing up there were mixed signals given to us about the Scriptures. We were taught Bible stories in grade school, families were encouraged to have a family Bible in their home, recording momentous occasions on its pages even if we did not read from it often, Pius XII encouraged Catholic Biblical Scholarship and better translations of the Scriptures (from the original languages rather than from Saint Jerome's Vulgate version), and in the Liturgy following Vatican II, a greater prominence was placed upon the Liturgy of the Word. We were encouraged to "pick up the book" and read, to share, to study and to spread the word, and to pray the Scriptures. It was a wonderful transformation that has blessed the world. In my theological studies some of our best professors were our Biblical profs for which I am eternally grateful.
In your home, do NOT let the Bible be an ornament for the coffee table or have a place (even a prominent one) on the bookshelf, but let it be a part of your everyday experience. Read, pray, and study the Scriptures ... and spread the Word.