Familiarity often breeds contempt...or at least boredom, and the readings for the Sundays and feast days in the church calendar are familiar. So how can we keep the transforming word of God from lulling our minds and hearts like a warm bath, having little or no effect except to encourage us to drift into a daydream?
One answer is to listen, and that is what this book is about: preparing to listen. For only if we have been mulling the words of Scripture for a while, allowing them to seep into our subconscious, can we be fully attentive when we hear them again at Mass. Another answer is to read the passages we are about to hear in a new and different language, one that forces us to sit up and take notice and think, "Oh, that's what the author was trying to say. And a third answer is to get ourselves a guide to the text, someone who has studied the Bible and spent her professional lifetime trying to navigate and explain it.
This Transforming Word offers all three: preparation, new translation, and an experienced guide. This volume contains an up-to-date listing of all the readings in the Roman Catholic Lectionary for Cycle A through 2029-2030, including the full text of allo the readings from The Message: The Bible in Contemporary English, Catholic-Ecumenical Edition by Eugene Peterson. Companion volumes are available for Cycles B and C.
Sample Reflection on 1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12 / First Sunday of Lent: What does it mean to be baptized into something? When the Israelites were "baptized into Moses" at the crossing of the Red Sea, they cast their lot with him, uniting their lives and destiny with his. If Moses dared to walk into the sea, so would they. If he followed the power of God conveyed by a cloud, they would follow too. If he led them to suffer and face hardship and possible death in the desert…well, then they would grumble and complain and threaten a revolt. Their baptism into Moses wasn’t perfect. The Israelites wanted freedom and the land of milk and honey, but within reason. You and I are baptized into Christ. This means we’re baptized into his death for the sake of eternal life. Some of us accept baptism without reading the fine print: we overlook Good Friday for the sake of Easter. But baptism is a comprehensive package. It’s as absurd to be a Resurrection Christian who refuses to suffer as it is to be a Crucifixion Christian who will not celebrate.