All posts tagged: Scriptures

Summer Symposia 2017: Reading the Bible Liturgically

Among contemporary Catholic evangelization programs, you often hear about the importance of the Scriptures. You hear that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is mediated through our reading of the Bible both privately and in groups. But, it is often forgotten that the fullness of the Scriptures is made manifest within the context of the liturgy itself. As Pope Benedict writes in Verbum Domini: To understand the word of God, then, we need to appreciate and experience the essential meaning and value of the liturgical action. A faith-filled understanding of sacred Scripture must always refer back to the liturgy, in which the word of God is celebrated as a timely and living word (§52). We meet the person of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures as they are sung and proclaimed in the Liturgy of the Hours, in the Mass, and in the sacraments of the Church. We see these Scriptures interpreted in stained glass windows, in medieval manuscripts, in iconography, and in the lives of the saints. All Scriptural evangelization must at least implicitly take the liturgy as the …

A drawing of Christ crucified upon a wall of a Protestant Church in France

A Man Died Here, and He Is My Brother

In 1937, Abel Meeropol, a teacher in New York City, wrote a poem and a song that echoed through the country: Southern trees bear a strange fruit: Blood on the leaves and blood at the root, Black bodies swingin’ in the Southern breeze, Strange fruit hangin’ from the poplar trees.   Pastoral scene of the gallant South: The bulgin’ eyes and the twisted mouth, Scent of magnolias sweet and fresh, Then the sudden smell of burnin’ flesh,   Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck, For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck, For the sun to rot, for the tree to drop: Here is a strange and bitter crop. When I first heard this song a few years ago, my body could barely handle it. I shook; I was angry; I was profoundly sad. Made famous by Billie Holiday, the first version I heard was by Nina Simone. Her voice like a knife, sharp, unpleasant, cutting through my heart. It unleashed something within me, a primal need to do something. …

God’s Patience and the Bible

“Mr. Manfredi, why didn’t God just send Jesus right after the Fall? Why didn’t He just nip this whole sin thing in the bud?” “Why did he even bother with all these covenants before Jesus and just get to the real deal?” “Why is the Bible so cryptic? If God wants us to understand it, why not just put it more simply?” These are the kinds of questions a high school theology teacher who teaches the Scriptures hears everyday. To be sure, these are good questions. They display a higher level of thinking. These kinds of questions indicate that the wheels are turning, someone is home, there are signs of life. I love these questions. Perhaps I love them so much because they are often very difficult to answer and I love a challenge. Mostly, I love these questions because the students are clearly in the midst of learning something immeasurably valuable. They are learning to deal with the dissatisfaction and frustration that studying scripture often brings. They are learning the virtue of patience. Patience is …

Encountering Christ, the Eternal Word

Within the Catholic high school, formation often becomes fragmented. Differences in staffing, resources, and approaches to ministry lead to a lack of integration among different dimensions of the spiritual life. Students study religion in class, go on retreats, celebrate Mass, and earn service hours, often overseen by different departments or staff members. Yet, “it’s all curriculum.” What happens on the athletic field, in conversations on retreat, during class sessions, in afterschool activities, or while in prayer all contribute to the development of young men and women of faith. This holistic vision of formation guided the restructuring of our campus ministry department at a Chicago high school. In restructuring, we made the decision to lay everything on the table and ask first: “How can we best serve the needs of our students? How can we focus on ministering to people rather than administering programs?” Our response was to move from two separate departments of Pastoral Ministry and Community Service to create the Department of Formation and Ministry. Guided by a Director, the rest of the staff …