The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

Articles Under: Scriptural Catechesis

Since I make my living by teaching the Bible to college students, I’m often asked to give talks on teaching Scripture, biblical catechesis, or some related theme. Over the years, I’ve given a lot of thought to what is most important when engaged in the sacred act of communicating the Word of God to other people. Obviously, most people engaged in teaching the Bible on behalf of the Church—whether priests, catechists, religion teachers, etc.—can’t devote their entire lives to Scripture study and sorting out all the challenges of interpreting the Bible. Despite that, is it still possible to do a... Read more
God is love. Not only is it true that God loves, but God IS love. Through all of eternity and all of time, God is pure self-gift, which is true love’s essence. From infinite love, God created so that human beings could live in this love and know the joy that comes from total self-donation. When they chose instead the way of grasping, the way of self-assertion, reaching out to take for themselves what was offered as gift, they fell from love. With God, nothing is—in time—irreversibly lost. Divine Love initiated a plan to redeem us, to heal us of... Read more
What is the significance of St. John Paul’s statement that the Catechism was published in order to enable catechesis to be renewed at the “ living sources of the faith ”? [i] The Living Sources Most importantly, St. John Paul draws our attention to the action of the Trinity in catechesis. The “living Sources” are the Persons of the Trinity. The sources we seek, and from which our catechesis is perpetually renewed, are not in the past but in the living present. Christ comes to reveal the face and love of the Father. [ii] Christ himself is the teacher, speaking... Read more
All of us have experienced the natural instinct of physical thirst. Physical thirst can, therefore, be an effective starting point for a fruitful catechetical meditation on our desire for God and the fundamental disposition of the soul needed to seek him. Throughout salvation history, we see numerous examples of thirst. After Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, they became so thirsty in the desert that they grumbled against their liberator (Ex 17:3). Samson also cried out to the Lord in his thirst (Jdg 15:8). In both of these circumstances, God himself satisfies them. The Psalmist recognized this as he... Read more
In this issue's "Inspired through Art" department, Jem Sullivan introduces a method of teaching with art that follows the contours of the ancient practice of lectio divina . In addition to offering a sy nopsis of this promising approach, she then shows how to use it to reflect upon a masterpiece from the Italian Renaissance. To view this artwork on a smart board click here. We live in a visual culture. From our waking moments to the day’s end, our senses are accessing the natural world and the visual culture that surrounds us. As catechists, we know this visual culture... Read more
How can we make Sacred Scripture come alive for the children we teach? Is simply reading the verse or parable to the students enough? St. Jerome wrote, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” [i] How can we help our students not to be ignorant of Sacred Scripture and instead come to appreciate and be immersed in it? Scripture may be used in prayer, as a means of meditation or guided imagery with younger students. Begin with a short, familiar parable or Scripture reading. In our example we will be using the passage in which Jesus blesses the children, Matthew... Read more
To view the artwork on a smart board or with other computer projection apparatus click here. Repentance at the font of God’s mercy is at the heart of Christian discipleship. Yet how is an artist to depict the interior movement of a repentant heart that returns to God, who is rich in mercy? The parable of the prodigal son, recounted in Luke 15:11-32, offers a radical image of reconciliation between a repentant son and his merciful father. It evokes the interior journey of repentance in each one of us as we stand in need of God’s mercy and forgiveness. Countless... Read more
How the Jewish Celebration of the Sabbath Can Help Us Better Appreciate the Lord’s Day The Jewish Observance of the Sabbath: Pharisaic Legalism? When I first moved to Israel, I was stunned to learn about the many prohibitions that bind orthodox Jews in their observance of the Sabbath day: No driving, no cooking, no watching TV, no phones, computers or any other forms of media, no shopping or handling of money, and no writing, to name a few. Like many Christians who first encounter these practices, I couldn’t help but wonder: isn’t this legalistic approach to the Sabbath just like... Read more
For sure, every catechist would agree that Sacred Scripture is an important, perhaps even essential, part of catechesis. But to say that Scripture should be its heart …that might be taking things a bit far. Most textbooks include Scripture, but often as a support to the doctrinal content. I want to go farther than that. In this article, I want to show you three reasons why Scripture should drive your doctrinal content and become the foundation of your teaching. 1. God is the Author Scripture is important because God is the author. Through Scripture God communicates with us. “In the... Read more
The imagery involving sons and fathers in Sacred Scripture can prompt unexpected responses: “Some of the language is not inclusive,” comments one person reviewing a new catechetical resource. “Speaking of us as 'adopted sons' excludes those who aren't male!” [i] “I really couldn’t stomach the first reading of our service today,” a non-Catholic friend confides over Sunday lunch. “It was such an unpleasant story, about Abraham being prepared to sacrifice his son when asked to by God. [ii] How could any father do that?” ·“I’m worried I just can’t grasp this idea of God as like the father who routinely... Read more