What Does It Mean to be People of the Word?

Participants in our Adult Faith Development Series, Putting Out Into the Deep! enriched their insights into what it means to be people of the Word as Catholics in the world today with the help of Maureen Duffy, PhD, New Testament scholar. Saturday, Feb 18th found participants gathered for an engaging and challenging day.


Maureen explained that the word Gospelcomes from two Greek words meaning all is well, or good tidings. These Greek words can be traced back to the Hebrew in Isaiah meaning To make the face beautiful. Maureen highlighted the appropriateness of these roots by noting that peoples faces light up when they encounter Good News.

In order to place the subject in context, Maureen described the ancient, ancient time-line of the history of the Universe, and the history of planet earth. The time of human beings in the universe and on our planet is positively minuscule.

Maureen Duffy, New Testament scholar, is an engaging and dynamic presenter!

Furthermore, the time of writing and literature is so much smaller still. Remembering our place in this grand scheme and acknowledging how short our time of writing has been helps us to remain humble and in perspective when we try to grapple with and understand how humanity has come to terms with faith, and how we can situate the sacred writings that have come forth.

Maureen described the human experience of God and mystery as beyond words. And so, in our writings, we find human beings doing their best to try to describe the undescribable by calling upon metaphors and using symbols to try to get to a richer meaning.

Participants listen intently to new insights
about the Gospels.

It is important to try to understand the reality of the time in which the Gospels were written to better understand the texts. Whole new meaning can emerge from familiar passages when the historical, cultural, sociological circumstances are in place. In the Gospels, we find each of the evangelists giving their own spin on the story of Jesus to help best meet the needs of their communities. Each of these communities was extremely challenged and threatened.

Maureen commented that The New Testament will be read with love as long as there is a group of human beings committed to this faith tradition. She also explained how it will continue to be tested by history and will be read as literature from its ancient time. Maureen also explained that Liturgy is home of sacred scripture and privileged place for community of faith to read and share the scriptures. In this regard, she presented a toolbox for exegesis. Participants were invited to take a text from one of the Gospels and read it using the tools that Maureen provided. This was an extremely enriching exercise!

Participants expressed great appreciation for this session reporting that they certainly felt challenged to Put out into the Deep! Many expressed the hope that Maureen would return for another session.

Prof. Susan Roll, liturgy specialist and sacramental theologian will take participants through the Sunday Eucharist and will examine the liturgical documents given to us at the Second Vatican Council at our next session on Sat., March 25th, 2006. All are welcome! Carol Kuzmochka for information, 738-5025 (x251) [email protected] or Annmarie Brown to register, 738-5025 (x217) or [email protected]