NBM Celebration calls for righteous leadership and living through the Bible

By Fr. Emil Valeza This January, our nation celebrates the important role of the Bible, not only in our individual lives but also in our society, as the Word of God continues to be “the lamp to our feet and light on our path” (Psalm 119:105). This nationwide celebration is organized by the Philippine Bible Society (PBS) with the aim to “introduce the people to the Bible’s transforming power through all means possible”. Last January 5, incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Presidential Proclamation No. 124, officially declaring the month of January as the National Bible Month (NBM). Though it was just recently declared as a month-long national event, the Philippine Bible Society has already been celebrating it since 1982 during the leadership of President Ferdinand E. Marcos through Presidential Proclamation No. 2242. declaring it as a nationwide celebration. The National Bible Sunday was originally celebrated during the first Sunday of Advent, while the National Bible Week (NBW) was held on the last week of November annually. It was only during the term of President Corazon C. Aquino that the celebration was transferred to January through Presidential Proclamation No. 44 in 1986. The Philippine Bible Society (PBS) believes that the Bible contains “timeless principles that when heeded and obeyed can change a nation for the better”. That is why for this year’s celebration, the theme focuses on righteous leadership and governance: “The Bible is the Foundation of Righteous Leadership and Living” (Ang Biblia ang Sandigan ng Matuwid na Pamumuno at Pamumuhay). It is inspired by the text from the Book of Proverbs 29:2,“When the upright are on the increase, the people rejoice; when the wicked are in power, the people groan”, and from the Gospel of Mark 10:42-44, “Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all” (NIV). Most Rev. Sofronio A. Bancud, SSS, D.D., Chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apostolate reflects on the theme, “In the end, genuine leadership is not a thing of the future. It is a constant decision to bring God’s Word to our daily activities. It is an unceasing desire to imbibe Christian virtues in our ordinary lives.”