better grasp both the human and divine natures of Jesus and, as
a result, enjoy a closer relationship with him.
Who is Jesus really,
and what does that mean in my life? That two-part question has
been asked in some form from the opening days of Jesus' public
life, still is asked today, and will continue to be asked until
the close of human history. It is the crucial question for anyone
who takes Jesus seriously. However, it is not an easy question
to grapple with, much less answer. No one is like Jesus, possessing
dual yet equal natures: fully divine; fully human. Christian history
clearly demonstrates that there has always been a tendency to
swing from one end of the pendulum to the other, rarely stopping
at mid-point. The following Scripture from Scratch issues
may be helpful in developing a more balanced notion of who Jesus
is and what that means in our lives.
A four-week course
The Man from Nazareth By Elizabeth McNamer. N0198
"The Gospel writers saw
Jesus' life from the overwhelming perspective of the Resurrection.
Although the Gospels do contain historical facts, the evangelists
wrote statements of faith, not historical or even biographical documents,"
says McNamer. This issue covers the key historical events in the
life of Jesus and explores the world in which he lived: life in
Nazareth, his baptism, the religious sects of first-century Judaism,
Jesus' preaching, his passion and his death.
Healing Jesus: Interpreting the Miracle Stories By Helen
"The miracle tradition
tells us more about the power of God at work in our lives than
it does about health," writes Doohan. "These episodes point to
growth in wholeness and holiness because of the healing touch
of the Lord." Were Jesus' miracles (or signs as John terms them)
healings or cures? How can we properly interpret them in light
of the many medical advances today? Doohan provides an insightful
look at Jesus the healer.
Jesus: Bread of
Life By Virginia Smith. N0301
Chapter 6 of the Gospel
of John may contain the highest eucharistic theology of any biblical
passage. In this Gospel, which lacks a Last Supper institution
ceremony, Jesus presents himself as the Bread of Life, a notion
so hard to "swallow" that many disciples leave and even those
closest to Jesus admit they don't understand. The real presence
of Jesus in the Eucharist is central to Catholic belief, and this
chapter is key to grasping that belief.
From Jesus of Nazareth
to Lord of All By Eugene LaVerdiere, S.S.S. N0498
The Jesus who rose
on Easter morning differed in many ways from the crucified Jesus
who was placed in the tomb on Good Friday. Human Jesus to Cosmic
Christ: Can two such diverse natures coexist? LaVerdiere leads
his readers through mysteries that are central to Christian belief.
For a six-week
in His Middle-Eastern Cultural World By John J. Pilch.
Each of us is shaped
to some degree by the culture in which we live. That was also true
of Jesus. Pilch contends that we cannot hope to understand the human
Jesus without situating him in the first-century Mediterranean culture
in which he was immersed. "Understanding Jesus in his cultural context
is refreshing and challenging," writes Pilch. "How refreshing
to learn how totally human Jesus was. How challenging to realize
his example is not directly applicable to our lives. We live in
a different culture and cannot merely copy his actions but must
find our way to the significance that lies beneath them."
The Galilee Where
Jesus Walked By Bargil Pixner, O.S.B. N0696
"While the events
depicted in the gospels happened 2,000 years ago, the land where
they took place exists to this day," says Pixner. In this issue,
the reader travels with Jesus on his first two journeys through
Galilee, as recorded in Mark's Gospel.
For an eight-week
Jesus' 'Plain' Sermon
on the Mount By Virginia Smith. N0199
The core of Jesus'
teaching is contained in his best-known discourse, the Sermon
on the Mount, recorded only in Matthew's Gospel. Here Jesus, the
new Moses, takes the sacred Mosaic Law and, in his word, "fulfills"
it. This sermon in Luke takes place, not on a hillside, but on
the Plain, and the famous Beatitudes appear differently there.
A comparison of the two versions provides ample material for discovering
the essence of Jesus' thought.
The Passion of
Jesus By Ronald D. Witherup, S.S. N0201
The events surrounding
the death of Jesus were of such significance to his early followers
that some writers speak of the Gospels having almost been written
backward. Jesus' public life was explored in an effort to find
meaning in his death. All four evangelists approach the topic
somewhat differently, as Witherup demonstrates, depending in part
upon the audience for whom they wrote.