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Chapters 7 to 9 The World's First Love: Mary, Mother of God 1

In Chapter Seven, Sheen addresses the common perception of Joseph being the elderly husband of Mary. At the heart of the theory is the perpetual virginity of Mary. Sheen posits that is was easier to account for virginity due to Joseph’s old age than by virtue or, as Sheen so eloquently puts it, “To make Joseph appear pure only because his flesh had aged is like glorifying a mountain stream that has dried.” Joseph’s gift of his own virginity in their marriage becomes a gift of greater magnitude because he choose it. I like the …Follow this path →

Chapters 4 to 6 The World's First Love: Mary, Mother of God 2

Sheen devotes Chapter Four to establish the reality of the virgin birth. From the revealed Word of God in the Scriptures and the continuous teaching of the Church from its earliest days, the virgin birth was held and passed along to each generation. In Chapter Five, I find, what I’ll call “zingers”…these one or two liners that pack a concentrated dose of theological insight and cause me pause for reflection. The chapter focuses on the unique role of Mary as Mother of God and that to understand her we need to start with Christ. “Zinger …Follow this path →

Chapters 1 to 3 The World's First Love: Mary, Mother of God 2

It is quite evident that the threat of Communism was felt in every area of life in the late 40’s and early 50’s. “Red Scare” was the term used to describe the perceived fear of Communistic threats to the United States. Archbishop Sheen was not immune from the influence of this phobia as we find a unique comparison of Mary and Marx in chapter 3! I am going to place that section aside! In the first chapter, Sheen tells how all of creation, through its very existence fulfills the ideal for which God has brought …Follow this path →

Peter – Chapter Ten Quo Vadis: Peter's Way of the Cross

This final chapter leaves the pages of scripture and follows Peter as found in the tradition of the Church. In this tradition Peter is fleeing persecution in Rome and on the road meets the Risen Christ. Peter asks him “quo vadis” – where are you going? If you have not read about this encounter it is a very powerful moment in Peter’s life that required a reconfirmation of his decision to follow Christ, no matter what the cost. Peter’s death is his final testimony to his firm belief in Christ.  Gray concludes the book by …Follow this path →

Peter – Chapter Nine Peter Bar-Jonah: How Peter Came to Rome

This chapter focuses on  two key moments in Peter’s role in the early Church. Through a vision, Peter comes to understand that discipleship is no longer exclusive to the Jewish people, but now is to be open to receiving non-Jews as well. This inclusion also means abolishing the kosher laws that separate Jew from Gentile. The vision helps Peter to understand that no food or people are unclean. Gray points out that God gave the Israelites dietary laws because they wanted to return to Egypt to eat the meat of that land, pork. In prohibiting …Follow this path →

Peter – Chapter Eight Peter and Pentecost: The Transforming Power of the Holy Spirit

The Upper Room and Pentecost go together like a hand in a glove! Right? Well….Dr. Gray gives compelling reasoning why that may not be the most likely scenario based on what we read in that account found in the Acts of the Apostles. Gray feels the Temple is more likely the location. The Temple would hold special significance for the Jewish people. In the Temple area a multitude of people from different areas would have been gathered. The Temple would have facilities to accommodate the baptizing of thousands. Sounds logical, and as Gray points out …Follow this path →

Peter – Chapter Seven Discipleship at a Distance: Peter and the Passion of Christ

We all know Peter’s story! He is adamant in his profession of faithfulness to Jesus, but when that loyalty is put to the test, he is quick to deny. The title of this chapter is based on the passage following Jesus’ arrest found in scripture, “Peter followed at a distance (LK 22:54).” After Jesus is led away, Peter does not abandon him, but follows at a safe distance. Gray makes an interesting observation that “if we follow Christ in a discipleship that is comfortable and easy—from a distance—we’re setting ourselves up for a discipleship that …Follow this path →

Peter – Chapter Six In the Shadow of the Galilean: Peter's Rising Leadership

In this chapter, Dr. Gray continues to enlighten us about how Jesus is preparing Peter to continue his mission after he is gone. To get to that point one must first understand the purpose of Jesus’ life. Exactly what is Jesus preparing Peter for? Jesus came not only to save us…to restore our relationship with God through the forgiveness of our sins but also to establish his kingdom. One of the interesting insights of this chapter is the explanation of the secrecy surrounding where the Passover would be held. Gray explains that Judas was looking …Follow this path →

Peter – Chapter Five Peter and the Keys: The Primacy of the Church

“Three people die and when they get to the Pearly Gates, Saint Peter says…” We all have heard many of those jokes, where Saint Peter is a main character who has the responsibility of allowing or disallowing newly departed souls to enter Heaven through the Pearly Gates! Dr. Gray reminds us that is not quite the role of Saint Peter and not quite the symbolism of the keys that Peter receives. In giving Peter the Keys to the Kingdom, Jesus bestowing upon Peter and his successors, heavenly authority that would be exercised on earth. Gray …Follow this path →

Peter – Chapter Four Peter the Rock: The Primacy of Jesus 1

A new insight! I do not recall ever hearing about Jesus being the “one loaf” mentioned in Chapter 8 of Mark’s Gospel. Jesus, in this chapter, has just fed 4,000 people and the disciples gathered the leftovers, seven baskets full of bread. As they depart by boat, this, miracle bread, is the forgotten bread mentioned. There is some confusion in our reading of this section of the Gospel, as the disciples say they both had “no bread” and, at the same time, “one loaf”. Yes! Now it makes sense that this “one loaf” is the …Follow this path →

Peter – Chapter Three Faith Not Fear: Walking in Trust 1

“Dinky faith!” Dr. Gray throws down the gauntlet from the onset of this chapter! He says that Jesus’words to his disciples, “O men of little faith”, really imply something more challenging and that “dinky” is more accurate in conveying what Jesus was saying to them. If the disciples had little/dinky faith, and they witnessed firsthand the Messiah, can you imagine how our faith might be viewed! Gray states that fear is the enemy of faith. We all have fears. Fear of the future. Fear of rejection. Fear of failure. Fear of “fill in any number …Follow this path →

Peter – Chapter Two Capernaum: Village of Coming Consolation

This chapter talks about the importance of Peter in Mark’s Gospel and the significance of Jesus going to Capernaum to live. Just how important is Peter in Mark’s Gospel? Well, Gray says you could almost call it the Gospel of Peter, written by Mark! Peter is the primary witness giving the account of Jesus’ teachings and mission. Mark is Peter’s companion and makes sure that this firsthand account makes its way from oral to written testimony shortly after Peter is martyred. Next Gray explains how the city of Capernaum, literally “village of consolation”, fulfills the …Follow this path →