7 Sep 2013

8th September 2013 - 23rd Sunday in Ordinary time (Year C) - Year of Faith: Exploring Our Church's understanding of Divine Revelation (Part 4 of 4)

On this week's programme we have the final episode in our Year of Faith reflection on the Second Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum. We have our usual reflection on the Gospel and outlining our celestial guides for the week ahead.  This week's full programme is available HERE.

The book we used as the basis for our programmes on Dei Verbum is a wonderfully accessible and insightful book by Canon John Redford called Treasures of Dei Verbum.  It has the text of Dei Verbum on the left hand side of the page and an explanation of the text on the right hand side of the page.  It is available from Alive Publishing (

On our first programme we outlined what Dei Verbum was all about i.e. the bishops of the Second Vatican Council saw the need to place more emphasis on the goal of divine revelation.  The whole point of divine revelation is to give us all a share in the divine life, fellowship, communion with God the Father through Jesus the Son in the Holy Spirit.  This is the good news we have to give to the world.

In our second programme we looked at how Divine Revelation was handed on by the bishops as successors of the Apostles. The teaching office of the Church (Magisterium) is the authentic interpreter of the Word of God in Scripture and Tradition. The Holy Spirit gives special assistance to the Bishops of the Church united with the Pope to serve, teach, listen to, guard and explain the Word of God. We also looked at Sacred Scripture, its inspiration and divine interpretation.

In our third programme we saw that the OT and the NT are the inspired word of God and how we cannot dismiss the OT because it is divinely inspired. “God, the inspirer and author of both Testaments, wisely arranged that the New Testament be hidden in the Old and the Old be made manifest in the New” (DV 16). We saw how the Old and New Testaments were not merely collections of sacred books, but witnessed to two Covenant events. The covenant event of the OT is the covenant given to Moses on the holy mountain with its laws and directions to guide the people to the promised land. The covenant event of the NT is the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ to be born of a virgin, preach the kingdom of God, perform miracles, manifest himself as God become Man, die on the cross for our salvation, rise again from the dead bodily and pour out his Spirit on those who believe. We also looked at how the books of the NT, the Gospels, the letters and the Book of revelation, are of course very important, the inspired word of God, but their value, as Dei Verbum tells us, is as the prime witness to the wonderful realities of the coming of Jesus our Saviour.
This week we will look at the final Chapter of Dei Verbum, Chapter 6, Sacred Scripture in the Life of the Church.

You can listen to the Dei Verbum section of the programme HERE.

Resources which may be of use to you on reading and understanding Dei Verbum:

Gospel - Luke 14: 25 - 33

This week's Gospel contains one of the greatest challenges Jesus ever offered to his disciples: "If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." Here Christ is emphasizing the great spiritual principle of detachment. In order to live healthy spiritual lives we must love Christ most of all, with everything else finding its meaning in relation to God.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor, theologian, dissident anti-Nazi and founding member of the Confessing Church. His writings on Christianity's role in the secular world have become widely influential. Apart from his theological writings, Bonhoeffer became known for his staunch resistance to the Nazi dictatorship. He strongly opposed Hitler's euthanasia program and genocidal persecution of the Jews. He was also involved in plans by members of the Abwehr (the German Military Intelligence Office) to assassinate Adolf Hitler. He was arrested in April 1943 by the Gestapo and executed by hanging in April 1945 while imprisoned at a Nazi concentration camp, just 23 days before the German surrender.

One of his most famous books is called the "Cost of Discipleship" and has a number of challenging and thought provoking quotes in line with this weeks gospel:

“Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession.... Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.” 

“Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: 'Ye were bought at a price', and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.” 

Reflections on this weeks gospel:
Word on Fire
English Dominicans
Sunday Reflections
Centre for Liturgy
Dear Working Preacher - The cost of disipleship

Liturgical odds and ends

Liturgy of Hours - Psalter Week 3, 23rd week in ordinary time

Saints of the Week

September 9th - St Kieran of Clonmacnoise
September 10th - 205 Martyrs of Japan
September 11th - Bl Dominic Dillon (Martyr)
September 12th - Holy Name of Mary also Bl Victoria Strata
September 13th - St John Chrysostom also Bl Margaret of Cashel
September 14th - The Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross

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