Objective: To foster a closer relationship with Jesus
through a deeper acquaintance with Lenten themes in Scripture.
Lent is a popular time for adult education in the parish. People
look for ways to update and deepen their faith. Offering a seasonal
Scripture study program will meet their need for a Bible-based
spirituality. Participants will develop a better understanding
of the Scripture passages they hear at Mass. The five-week course
suggested here presumes that no session will be held during Holy
A five-week course would include:
Sin in the Bible: the Path away from God By Ronald
D. Witherup, S.S. N0296
Sin is a word not often heard today. This Scripture from Scratch
helps modern believers understand the concept of sin as it develops
in the Hebrew Scriptures and throughout the Christian Scriptures.
As Witherup explains, sin, both personal and communal, remains central
to understanding how we grow in our relationship to God.
Exodus and Exile: Shaping God's People By Virginia
The experience of Exodus created the core of Hebraic ethical
and moral law and brought the people of Israel into a new understanding
of the nature of their God and their relationship with that God.
The Exile marks the anguished end of their autonomy as the defeated
Israelites are banished from their land and marched off to faraway
Babylon. Both concepts lend themselves to exploring traditional
and profound Lenten themes of desert experiences, journeying,
sin, and redemption.
The Passion of Jesus By Ronald D. Witherup, S.S.
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.
Who Killed Jesus? By Daniel Harrington, S.J. N0399
This is an important but delicate question for Christians, especially
in light of tragic responses that have been given to it in the past.
Harrington gives a thoughtful and careful answer to the question,
showing how to read the Passion narratives with a critical and historical
The Cross Makes a Christian By Jerome Murphy-O'Connor,
Jesus' death by crucifixion had a profound impact on the early
Church and the development of its theology. Murphy-O'Connor examines
the consequences of that impact in light of their influence today.
Other appropriate Lenten issues include:
John's Jesus Story: 'Come and See' By Virginia Smith.
This issue introduces the spiritual and theological themes of
the Fourth Gospel...the wonderful world of colorful characters,
picturesque phrasing, and tantalizing themes quite unlike any
other biblical writings. This gospel invites the reader to "come
and see" Jesus and become a committed disciple. Although John's
gospel is not given a specific place in the cycles of Sunday readings,
it appears from time to time during the liturgical year, notably
during the Lenten and Easter seasons. Parishes using the Year
A Lectionary readings in conjunction with their initiation programs
will find this issue particularly helpful.
When the Prophets Roared for Justice By Virginia Smith.
The primary role of a biblical prophet was quite simple: to
serve as a mouthpiece for God. To these frequently beleaguered
persons fell the unenviable task of being Israel's conscience,
of reminding the straying Israelites of their covenant obligations,
of recalling for a forgetful people the real implications of being
God's chosen people.
Baptism's Biblical Roots By Carolyn Thomas, S.C.N.
Almost since Christianity's origins, baptism has been deeply
connected with the time leading up to Easter. Vatican II revived
the ancient catechumenate in a contemporary way. Throughout Lent,
the catechumens prepare to be baptized into their faith at the
Easter Vigil and encourage the baptized to re-examine their own
baptismal commitment as well. Carolyn Thomas traces the biblical
background of this most universal of Christian initiation rites
and reviews its meaning and importance in the Church today.
Jerusalem at the Time of Jesus By Jerome Murphy-O'Connor,
Jerusalem is an especially holy site, sacred to all three of the
world's great monotheistic religious faiths. For Christians, Jerusalem
represents, among other things, the place where Jesus suffered,
died, and rose. Murphy-O'Connor, a longtime resident of the city,
is uniquely qualified to take readers back in time to visit the
Jerusalem of Jesus' day.