Item description for Welcoming the Word in Year A: Building on Rock by Verna Holyhead...
Overview In this volume of weekly reflections on the Sunday Lectionary for Year A, Holyhead calls readers not only to hear the Word of God, but to act on that Word. Using Scripture, poetry, and history, these meditations give readers an appreciation for how the readings impact and reflect their lives.
2008 Catholic Press Association Award Winner In this volume of weekly reflections on the Sunday Lectionary for Year A, Verna Holyhead calls us not only to hear the Word of God, but to act on that Word. Her reflections shed light on what it means to be human, to be people of God, in today's world. Using Scripture, poetry, and history, these meditations move readers beyond a static understanding of the weekly readings to an appreciation for how the readings impact and reflect their lives. Drawing on the Rule of St. Benedict and the Benedictine tradition, the reflections provide another way by which believers may contemplate the Liturgy of the Word.
As a sourcebook for pastoral ministry or a reference for personal or communal reflection, this volume will assist believers who desire to engage more deeply with the Word.
"Verna Holyhead. SGS, is an Australian Sister of the Good Samaritan of the Order of St. Benedict. She leads retreats, lectures, and writes, with an emphasis on biblical scholarship, liturgical insight, and pastoral challenge."
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Verna Holyhead. SGS, is an Australian Sister of the Good Samaritan of the Order of St. Benedict. She leads retreats, lectures, and writes, with an emphasis on biblical scholarship, liturgical insight, and pastoral challenge.
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Beautiful and Inviting Resource Jan 5, 2008
Those familiar with the Church's three-year lectionary cycle will immediately understand the gift Holyhead offers in tying together all four Scripture passages for each Sunday of Cycle A. Introductions to each of the five seasons highlight significant themes, rituals, and historical background. In the brief overview of the Season of Lent, for example, Holyhead contrasts the cross on our foreheads with the waters of baptism to the "rougher, grittier, dirtier marking" of ashes at the opening of Lent. She also explains the desirable source of the ashes: not from a screw-top jar in the sacristy cupboard, but from the burning of the previous year's palms. "Mixed with the waters of baptism, the promises of which we will renew at the Easter vigil, our dust and ashes become a rich and fertile soil for the gospel seed to grown within our hearts and transform us."
The Easter Season introduction includes detailed information on the Triduum along with meditations on the readings for each of the three days. The introduction to the Season of Ordinary Time consists of a clear and concise explanation of the lectionary cycles and the relationship between the readings from Old and New Testament. The main concern in choosing passages, she writes, "was to expose the worshipping assembly to a representative sample of the riches of God's word."
Other value-added elements include a Scriptural index and a separate chapter of brief weekly reflections from the Rule of Benedict to supplement the seasonal readings. In this work, as her earlier Welcoming the Word in Year C, Holyhead has created a beautiful and inviting resource.
Scripture as Gateway to Mission Sep 6, 2006
Verna Holyhead, a sister of the Order of St. Benedict, offers these reflections to encourage readers to respond to the Sunday lectionary readings "with a personal and communal welcome that overflows into mission." She provides a short introduction to each season: Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, and Ordinary Time, then shares two-to three pages of comments on each Sunday's readings.
She frequently refers to poets, writers, and artists to illustrate her insights. The commentary for the Ascension, for example, opens with a description of a contemporary sculpture of Jesus "stretched between heaven and earth like a taut rubber band." In depicting Jesus reaching toward both heaven and earth, Holyhead says, the sculptor has captured a common experience of ambivalence: "We have to leave each other, but it's hard to go."
She also refers to Fra Angelico's 15th century painting of "Agony in the Garden" to expand on the story of Martha (hostess) and Mary (sitting at Jesus' feet) in Luke 10:38-42. The artist depicts Christ kneeling at prayer, Mary reading a book, and Martha praying in a posture similar to that of Jesus. Holyhead observes that many people today "are eager for both social action and service to the disadvantaged, while also searching for a spirituality that is contemplative but does not retreat into introspection."
The insights here are always fresh, relevant, and thought provoking. Holyhead has delivered a fine resource for preachers, teachers, faith-sharing groups, and others who wish to delve deeper into the Sunday readings.