Sunday, August 06, 2006

Adventures in Bible Studies

A few weeks ago, I signed up for the opportunity to study the Gospel of Mark at a neighboring parish.  If the truth be known, I was thinking of leaving my parish and joining this other one.  So I came to the parish center that first night, ready to go!
We all were given a booklet called 'Gathered in His Name' by Margo  Doten of St Anthony Messenger Press  (I bet you can already guess where I'm going with this).  Below are some excerpts from the booklet and its bibliography.

Twenty-first-century Christians may find that it meets our current tastes in reading. The
Gospel is noted for its short sentences and its fast pace. Jesus "immediately"'turns to a
disciple or "quickly" moves to the next town. "Immediately after" one event in the life of
Jesus is recounted in this Gospel another begins. This is a Jesus who is busy, active, hands-on and filled with a sense of urgency.

Reflection Questions (20 minutes)
Leader: For this, and all of the following reflection periods, silently consider your own answers to these questions for a few moments; then break into groups of two or three and share your responses with other members of your discussion group.

1. Share one or two stories about your own ancestors. How do you pass on stories
about your family? Why is it important to keep these stories alive?

2. Share a time when you or someone you know had a real sense of urgency. Why?

At this point, one of the other women wondered when we were going to start actually reading the Gospel...

Fourth Reader: Mark's Gospel is well known for its insistence on "the messianic
secret." Again and again in this Gospel, Jesus tells people not to speak about the wonders they have seen him do. Why? Perhaps because Jesus already knew that his ministry would end in death. He needed as much time as possible with his followers so he could teach them what they needed to know. In order to reach the people to whom he was sent, Jesus wanted to avoid continuing confrontations with the authorities, so he asked those he healed to "tell no one" about the miraculous cures.

Finally, this Gospel is notable because Jesus shows human emotions that the other
Gospel writers do not pursue. At times Jesus is angry, sad, frustrated, delighted. He exhibits an intensity in his teaching that reflects the urgency he feels about his mission.

Our exploration of the Gospel of Mark will be exciting and challenging. More than
any other Gospel writer, Mark presents the bare bones of the life and message of Jesus. This is a raw, immediate and very compelling Gospel. May it be a source of new life and faith for each of us.

Reflection Questions (20 minutes)

1. How does the current time of turmoil in our world affect your faith?

2. How do you see Jesus-as the Good Shepherd, the healer, the one who blessed the
bread and wine, the suffering servant or another image? What image has special
meaning to you today?

Gospel Reading and Reflection Questions (10 minutes)

Fifth Reader: Now I will read the Gospel for next Sunday's Mass. For this and for all
the following Gospel readings and reflection sections, break into smaller groups and
answer these questions:

1. What is the main message of this Scripture passage?

2. How does this gospel message relate to my life today?

Connecting Faith and Life and Closing Prayer (10 minutes)

1. Read the first two chapters of the Gospel of Mark at some point during the next week.

2. Contact someone who is suffering, and let him or her know you care. See if there is
any way you can help.

Closing Prayer
Leader: Now let us close our meeting by gathering in a circle and by praying the Our
Father together.

All: Our Father...

This was the end of our first session.  But I had looked ahead to the Bibliography (below) and knew that I didn't want any more of this.  Luckily, the class on Angels and Devils, thoroughly orthodox, was starting up the following week at my home parish.
Thank God!


Bernardin, Cardinal Joseph. The Gift of Peace. New York: Image, 1998.

Brown, Raymond E. Reading the Gospels With the Church: From Christmas Through
Easter. Cincinnati: St. Anthony Messenger Press, 1996.

Castle, Tony, ed. The New Book of Christian Prayers. New York: Crossroad, 1986.

Celebrating the Eucharist, 37:2. Collegeville, Minn.: The Liturgical Press, 2000.

Christie, Agatha. Agatha Christie: An Autobiography. New York: Berkeley, 1996.

Doyle, Stephen C. "Mark's Gospel: Messiah With a Cross." Catholic Update, June
1979, Cincinnati: St. Anthony Messenger Press, 1979.

The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition. New York: Oxford
University Press, 1989, 1995 and 1999.

The Jerusalem Bible, Alexander Jones, ed. London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1966,
1967, 1968. .

McBrien, Richard P. Lives of the Saints. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2001.

The NewAmerican Bible, St. Joseph Edition. Washington, D.C.: Confraternity of
Christian Doctrine, 1970, including the Revised New Testament, 1986. New York:
Catholic Book Publishing, 1970, 1980, 1987.

Nickle, Keith F. The Synoptic Gospels. Atlanta: John Knox, 1980.

Rohr, Richard, and Joseph Martos. The Great Themes of Scripture: New Testament.
Cincinnati: St. Anthony Messenger Press, 1988.

Schnackenburg, Rudolf. The Gospel According to St. Mark, volume 1. New York:
Crossroad, 1981.

There's no place like home. there's no place like home...




Ellen said...

Hi Lynne, after trying to find a bible study that would engage my mind, and encountering ones like this one you blogged about, I gave up and bought the Ignatius study guides.

Lynne said...

Amen! I felt bad for the people who really wanted to get something out of this study. I was going to go back the next week, if only to bolster the people who wanted something more than this 'therapy' session but the Angels and Devils study started up at my church.

Thomas Shawn said...

Such "studies" are deisgn to dull the mind, to stop rational thought and the basic intent is to control people.

Lynne said...

I'm thinking it didn't work, at least not with this group...