Megan McKenna is an internationally recognized story teller. On several occasions I have listened with rapt attention as she recounted her sensitively crafted tales. Always I have appreciated her frank observations and been impressed by her keen insights into current reality. Hers has frequently been heard as a prophetic voice.
The suggestions she makes take me back to the time of Vatican II Council. A variety of different voices, opinions and experiences was found among the Council Fathers including Popes John XXIII and Paul VI. Good Pope John drew the attention of the Council Fathers to the fact that what we have in common is more important than what separates us. Voices that had been silenced prior to the Council were invited back to contribute to the search for renewal of Gospel values.
Later, when Pope Paul VI reconvened the Council, he drew attention to the necessity of “dialogue.” In his first major encyclical “Ecclesiam Suam,” he underscored the importance of achieving mutual understanding and insight by respecting our partners in the search for truth and wisdom. He stipulated that we should listen with the ears of our hearts and always recognize the positive intentions of others.
Reading Megan McKenna’s book challenges us to listen to one another in search of other Good News. Our tradition both religious and social has advanced primarily through dialogue and respect.
I will never forget a statement made by the late Bishop Christopher Butler, himself an excellent biblical scholar. As a Council father he spoke in defense of researchers who delve into arcane fields of thought or uncover facts not previously considered. He declared: “why should we fear that truth might somehow tell against truth?”
I was deeply moved when towards the end of Vatican II Pope Paul invited a number of leading scholars to concelebrate Eucharist with him in Saint Peter’s Basilica. He thereby testified to the world how necessary it is to consider and to benefit from the advice of researchers and forward looking thinkers. I was aware that several of the concelebrants were eminent scholars who had been silenced before the Council.
Megan McKenna has used her gifts of insight to help us take a fresh look at the role of the Gospels in contemporary church life. I found her observations very challenging. They called me to think “outside of the box” as the expression goes and to look for truth in areas I had not considered previously. We have much to gain in pondering what she presents, even if we might find some of her reflections challenging or disturbing. Ours are times of great upheaval. We are called to revisit the very foundations of our faith as we scrutinize the signs of the times. I trust that many readers will find her reflections a fertile field to till in our search for further and richer truth.
+Remi J. De Roo
Vatican II Council Father
retired (1999) Bishop of Victoria
REVIEW OF MEGAN'S NEW BOOK, "TASTING THE WORD OF GOD" BY BIBLE TODAY - JAN 2011
Tasting the Word of God.
Vol. 1. Commentaries on the Sunday Lectionary
Hyde Park, NY: New City Press (www.newcitypress.com),
2010. Pages, xiii + 149. Paper, $14.95.
Megan McKenna writes from a Catholic point of view, with brief, yet sharp, reflections
on the Sunday readings of Years A, B, C. These reflections are inspired by Dei verbum 21 (Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation), which declares God’s speech to us in Scripture to be the strength of faith for the church’s children, the food of the soul, and the pure and perennial source of spiritual life. McKenna advises to “always read THE WORD first and let it sit in your soul, together with others” (p. xiii). She sometimes concentrates on a theme common to all the readings, sometimes on one of the readings or the First Reading and the Gospel. The book is meant to help all savor the word of God in the Eucharistic liturgy.
Tasting the Word of God. Vol. 2.
Commentaries on the Daily Lectionary
Hyde Park, NY: New City Press (www.newcitypress.com), 2010.
Pages, xvi + 477. Paper, $29.95.
“In daily readings and reflections, brevity and depth let the Word act upon us, calling us to deeper integrity, knowledge of God and summons us to become what we proclaim - the Word of God . . .” (p. xv). These words aptly describe McKenna’s reflections on the First Reading, Responsorial Psalm, and the Gospel of each day of the daily lectionary. In her own words, they “take a word, a phrase, a sentence at most - from the readings and comment on it, spin it out pastorally, pragmatically— how to live this today and make it come true” (p. xv). McKenna uses her gift as retreat preacher to bring the reader to the waters.
Fr. Berrigan writes about "And Morning Came": "Into what a world we launch this book, like a frail ark in a mauling sea. Shall we proclaim Ressurection - even as creation is threatened with going under? Yes, 'and morning came.' Unequivaocally and barely - birth, rebirth wins out over death. Thank you, Megan."
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