Articles Under: Scriptural Catechesis

Pope Francis is fond of describing the Lord as One who goes before us in our apostolic mission. No matter where it is that catechists are called to serve, no matter the challenges and the adversity, we can take heart (as well as courage) that the Lord has preceded us into this place, that he is in charge, that we are not alone. In whatever particular peripheries we find ourselves, these words of encouragement and challenge never grow old: This is fundamental for us: God is always ahead of us! When we think about going far away, to an extreme... Read more
The doctrine of original sin is an essential component of the Christian faith. If catechists don’t explain well the nature, effect, and consequences of original sin, they will find it very difficult not only to address the major moral issues of our day, but also to effectively communicate the Gospel. Without original sin, the Gospel message loses much of its power and purpose. To fully appreciate the “good news” of the Christ’s redemption, we first must grapple with the “bad news” of our fallen condition. Why do we need a redeemer and savior? Are people not essentially good? Are they... Read more
Although the Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life,” [i] many Catholics are unfamiliar with its rich Old Testament and Jewish background. In this article, we will look at four aspects of this background: the king-priest Melchizedek, the Passover, the manna, and the bread of the Presence. Melchizedek: Priest of God Most High The first prefiguration of the Eucharist goes back to the mysterious figure of Melchizedek in the book of Genesis. This Melchizedek, called “king of Salem” and “priest of God Most High,” brought out bread and wine to Abraham and blessed him (Gen 14:18-20). His... Read more
There is a particularly unnerving paragraph for catechists in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is paragraph 428 and it begins, “Whoever is called ‘to teach Christ’ …” The two paragraphs above it, 426 and 427, quote from Catechesi Tradendae and are very well known. This one is rarely seen quoted anywhere and is unique in what it teaches about the catechist. Whoever is called “to teach Christ” must first seek “the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus”; he must suffer “the loss of all things...” in order to “gain Christ and be found in him,” and “to know... Read more
“Were our hearts not burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?” (Lk 24:32) These are the words the two disciples of Emmaus use to report their encounter with the risen Christ. In a similar way, it is not at all uncommon—rather, it is to be expected—that those who have recently encountered Christ have a noticeable interest in Holy Scripture. Accordingly, catechists have the indispensable task of helping these new disciples to approach the Scripture with the mind of the Church, imparting to them the tools they need for an authentic... Read more
Are not the words “missionary” and “disciple,” in reality, opposites? It seems, on the one hand, that “disciple” implies remaining with, being with: passivity, contemplation, learning, etc. On the other hand, “mission” seems to imply just the opposite, a being sent, going out, going forth: activity, work, doing, etc. Pope Benedict XVI also comments on this apparent contradiction, saying, “Being with Jesus and being sent by him seem at first sight mutually exclusive...” [1] Can these words legitimately stand together? If so, how? This article, though unable to provide a comprehensive study, will survey the main lines of Joseph Cardinal... Read more
The Jewish feasts commemorate God’s sovereign deliverance of his people from Egypt and his providential care for them throughout the Exodus. Yet as important as these holy days are for Jews, they are also significant for Christians, for they foreshadow God's plan of salvation for the world in Christ. The meaning of the Jewish feasts, along with their messianic and typological fulfillment for Christians, is the subject of the present article—the first of two parts. The Seven Mosaic Feasts Israel’s liturgical calendar comprises seven divinely instituted festivals. [i] As outlined in Leviticus chapter 23, these are grouped in three major... Read more
Wonderful Words of Life Sing them over again to me, wonderful words of life; Let me more of their beauty see, wonderful words of life; Words of life and beauty, teach me faith and duty. Sweetly echoes the Gospel call, wonderful words of life; Offering pardon and peace to all, wonderful words of life; Jesus only Savior, sanctify us forever, Beautiful words, wonderful words, Wonderful words of life; Beautiful words, wonderful words, Wonderful words of life. [1] This favorite hymn from my childhood affirms the life-giving power of God’s Word. The hymn’s simple lyrics lavishly praise Scripture’s goodness and beauty... Read more
During the ordination rite of a man who is becoming a deacon, the bishop presents him with a Book of the Gospels. This presentation hassignificance as it symbolizes the new preoccupation of his ecclesial activity: proclamation, preaching, and instruction. In light of this presentation of the Gospels, a deacon’s imagination ought to now draw spiritual life primarily from Scripture. Utilizing such an imagination he ought to become one of his diocese’s best pastoral instructors in Word and doctrine. Deacons can, therefore, consider three vocational truths: first, the deacon is empowered to proclaim the Gospel at Mass; second, he is obligated... Read more
People often ask me, an evangelical convert to the Catholic Church twenty years ago, what made me want to become Catholic. Because my husband and I flirted with the idea of conversion over the course of ten years, there are many possible responses. However, it has always been clear to me that there was one event that changed everything for us, overcoming any lingering questions or queasiness we had about such a dramatic decision. A friend gave us a copy of the newly translated English version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church . We read it from cover to... Read more

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