Reading scripture with Maryknoll is an invitation to engage in the gospel call to peace and justice-making throughout the year. Readers hungry for an inspiring and practical peacemaking message will be glad for the efforts of editors Judy Coode and Kathy McNeely, who have produced an excellent resource, A Maryknoll Liturgical Year: Reflections on the readings for year A.
The Maryknoll Society consists of Catholic sisters, brothers, and lay missioners who feel called to live alongside the poor whom they serve. Through their work and their lifestyle, Maryknoll missioners seek to live out the call of Jesus to serve those in need. This collection of stories and reflections, each three to five pages in length, will be an inspiring guide to opening the scriptures. Each writer extends an invitation to delve into the week’s text (cited briefly at the beginning of the selection) and to make connections to the needs of the world.
One writer, based in Nicaragua, describes the celebration of the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. In the midst of poverty, Mary’s story brings great joy. The author asks, how do we respond to God’s call with whole-hearted surrender as Mary responded? Can we envision the joy as well as the struggles of our fellow humans, accompanying one another, at least in spirit?
In this book, we read the stories of community health workers in Brazil alongside the healing narratives of Jesus; stories of Abraham seeking a homeland, alongside the struggling pastoralists of Kenya; the parables of Jesus heard in a farming community of Peru. Amidst this diversity, our shared humanity shines clear, and the need to listen to one another becomes compelling.
For me, the entire book reads as a prayer for a heart open to God’s guidance, and for strength to follow teachings of love, even when—perhaps especially when—those teachings veer from the mainstream. May we see with our hearts that we all are made by the same one creator, that there is no god but God, that any idols that stand as walls between us must be removed.
The new church year begins with the first Sunday of Advent, December 1. I encourage you to obtain a copy of this book to bless your new year with inspiration.
Disclaimer: A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. No fee was received.