Welcoming the Word in Year A: Building on Rock
In this volume of weekly reflections on the Sunday Lectionary for Year A, Verna Holyhead calls us not only to hear the Word of God, but to act on that Word. Her reflections shed light on what it means to be human, to be people of God, in today?s world. Using Scripture, poetry, and history, these meditations move readers beyond a static understanding of the weekly readings to an appreciation for how the readings impact and reflect their lives. Drawing on the Rule of St. Benedict and the Benedictine tradition, the reflections provide another way by which believers may contemplate the Liturgy of the Word. As a sourcebook for pastoral ministry or a reference for personal or communal reflection, this volume will assist believers who desire to engage more deeply with the Word. ?Verna Holyhead?s reflections on the Sunday readings for Year A, the year assigned to Matthew?s gospel, is another artistic representation in the long tradition that, since the middle of the second century, has associated the human figure of the four living creatures in Ezekiel and Revelation with the evangelist Matthew. Drawing on the best of human endeavor?poetry, fiction, and art?reminding us of the whole of humanity?men and women, elite and lowly, Jewish and Christian?reminding each of us of our humanity?our stumblings along with our longings for transformation?and with apt illustration from history and contemporary people and events, she opens the gospels to our lives and our lives to the gospels in such a way that Christ, God?s human face shows us that in him, the transformation we so long for is possible. Holyhead overcomes the fragmentation that could be the effect of the divisions of texts heard weekly in the liturgy by her unerring sense of the narrative whole and the historical context of the texts. The context of the hearing?the Eucharist, with its now and not yet?is always in view and with the poet?s clear insight and rich imagination, she entices us to that table with language as tasty as the fare set before the faithful every week and in the anticipated future.? Shawn Carruth, O.S.B. Associate Professor of Religion Concordia College Moorhead, Minnesota ?There are many commentaries on the readings of the three year cycle of the Lectionary. For the pastor speaking and celebrating for the same parish community week-by-week, fresh sources of inspiration are very important. What impresses me about Verna Holyhead?s Welcoming the Word in Year A: Building on Rock is that it integrates its commentary on the Scriptures into the flow of the liturgical year which is so important for the week-by-week pastor and for a proper understanding of each of the gospels. The liturgical symbols and actions are also well integrated into the commentary; one can see this by looking at the ashes of Ash Wednesday, the rites of the Catechumenate and aspects of the Eucharist highlighted by the readings of various Sundays. The inclusion of quotations from and references to figures and writings of the tradition, literature and contemporary spiritual writers is enlightening and often practically useful to the presider and preacher.? Fr. Frank O?Loughlin Sandringham, Australia ?Verna Holyhead?s reflections on the Gospels of Year A will be heartily welcomed by all who enjoyed her earlier volume, Welcoming the Word in Year C: With Burning Hearts. Building on Rock is a beautiful and reflective book, allowing us to step back from the familiar readings and to see them against the backdrop of a broader canvas. As a result we grow in understanding the deeper meanings of the liturgical Scriptures and their immediacy to our own concerns. There is much comfort to be found in these pages, and challenge too. Building on Rock will certainly help many readers to move the liturgical texts in the direction of a personal lectio divina and to feel more acutely the urgency of the biblical message in their own daily lives.? Fr. Michael Casey, OCSO Tarrawarra Abbey, Australia
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