Monday, October 18, 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 11-13, on the Feast of St Luke the Evangelist!

Today's chapters are filled with teachings, but just one miracle (for a woman; this is Luke we're reading). Notice how the small-minded worship leader, intent on maintaining the status quo, tried to prevent people from seeking healing on the Sabbath day. Jesus calls out the inconsistency of prioritizing the needs of one's animals over the good of a human being, a "daughter of Abraham." Is it their blindness to God's priorities part of what leads him to cry out over the impending fate of the Holy City? 

Some of today's material is familiar from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew), but much of it, including  the powerful parable of the rich fool, is found only in Luke. That is also the case with the episode related to the brutal murder of innocent worshipers under the orders of Pontius Pilate. Jesus calls everyone to penance and conversion, not just the public sinners, but even types like those whom Flannery O'Connor called "Good Country People." As Paul will later say, "All fall short of the glory of God" (see Romans 3:23).

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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