Thursday of the Third Week of Easter
May 9, 2019
Today, in Mercy, Acts gives us the memorable story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch.
When I was novice (back in the Middle Ages), I loved a book called “Unless Some Man Show Me” written by Alexander Jones. It was one of the first books that opened my mind to the study of scripture. At that time, the Church itself was continuing to explore a new age of scriptural scholarship.
Those of a certain age, like myself, will recall that we did not read the Bible directly when we were young. In school, we had “Bible Study”, but most of us never handled a real Bible. Even at Mass, the Gospel was read in Latin. We followed along in an English missal if we were lucky enough to have one.
In 1943, Pope Pius XII had issued the encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu (Inspired by the Holy Spirit). The letter called for new translations of the Bible into vernacular forms. In a huge shift, the Pope encouraged the use of the original languages for these translations, rather than the historically used Latin Vulgate.
This allowed for the removal of pietistical and dogmatic accretions which had been added over the many centuries of Vulgate interpretations. The eminent Catholic biblical scholar Raymond Brown described the encyclical as a “Magna Carta for biblical progress”.
How fortunate we were in the 1960s to be exposed to the opening of the Church to a new dimension. I remember, as a high schooler being taught the exquisite Gelineau Psalms, my first taste of pure scripture.
By 1966, scholars had published the magnificent Jerusalem Bible, originally translated to French from the root languages, and then to English. I cherished that Bible, gifted to me by my parents for my final profession that very year. It stills sits beside my chair and accompanies my morning prayer.
“ Unless someone show us…” we may not grow in our love for sacred scripture. We may not realize that this Word lives in our lives and works to bring us to God!
I encourage you today, if you are so inclined, to deepen yourselves in the love and understanding of holy scripture. Below are some of my favorite authors who, over the past 50 years, have led me to a deep love of God’s Word.
(Sorry for the delayed post today. I got caught down memory lane with some of these theologians!)
Music: Breathe – Michael W. Smith
Johann Baptist Metz
Rosemary Radford Ruether
Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza
Thelma Hall, RC
Karhryn Sullivan, RSCJ