Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Read the Bible with Me!

Welcome to the Pauline Family's "Year of the Bible"! We've been reading the Bible clear through this year. We've reached the New Testament, so read along with me. But first, let us pray: 


When the fullness of time had come, you sent your Word in the One who said, “Whoever sees me, sees the Father.” No revelation can surpass this, until Jesus comes again in glory. 

Open my mind today to the gift of life and truth your Word offers me through the Church. By your Holy Spirit, grant me wisdom and strength to put this Word into practice and to become, myself, a presence of Jesus for people who are looking for you.

Jesus, eternal Word and Son of the Father, live in me with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.


Today's chapters are Luke 14-16.

As you read today, notice the centrality of meals: Jesus is present at meals, speaking about great feasts, and criticized for whom he eats with. It's all leading up, of course, to the great meal toward the end of the Gospel, the meal that will be repeated by his followers every "first day of the week" (Acts 20:7). There is a whole book by Scripture scholar Father Eugene LaVerdiere on the meals in the Gospel of Luke alone! (It is called Dining in the Kingdom of God, and it is very readable.) 

Because we are deep into the parables of Luke, I am recommending a whole book about them. I found it very rich and helpful in grasping aspects of the parables that, as an American, I would totally miss. Even though the level of detail in terms of analysis of linguistic structure was beyond me, even those sections showed me how amazingly structured the Gospel is simply from the literary perspective. Truly, the Holy Spirit takes what we put in his hands, and elevates it beyond all imagining!

Start reading here.

For additional background

We can go far astray in grasping Jesus' point if we interpret his parables from the individualistic standpoint of the 21st century. As we read some of the most beloved parables of Luke, you might find this double volume extremely enlightening, as I did. The author of Poet & Peasant lived and taught in the Middle East for decades, and brings his intimate awareness of traditional cultural expectations to bear specifically on the parables of Luke. Granted, the degree of literary analysis is meant for doctoral students, the cultural parts are very graspable. Please note that the author is not Catholic, so sometimes his comments reflect an approach to the Bible or Church life that is disconnected from the continuous tradition we know in the Catholic and also Orthodox Churches.

I am happy to recommend this volume of The Four Gospels in an edition directed to young readers and their parents. The text of all four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) in the New Revised Standard Translation is accompanied by FAQs that a middle-school reader might ask (or, to be honest,  anybody reading the Gospels for the first time). The footnotes were prepared by a team of Scripture scholars for parents and guardians, making the book ideal for family Bible reading. 

A look inside; I translated the FAQs 
(above the eagle) and footnotes for Mt 16-28!

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