Sunday 3 December 2023

Companion to the Sunday Gospels Year A - Henry Wansbrough OSB - CTS Scriptures

Companion to the Sunday Gospels Year A
ISBN 9781784691370
CTS Booklet SC122

First I say after doing Year C last year and Year A this you I can easily state I love these volumes. I tend to read 2 or three weeks ahead of time, and then reread a specific weekends reading before Mass that Sunday.

As you can tell by the title this is one of three volumes with reflections for each Sunday of the three-year cycle of the Catholic Church. This was the second I have read, I do have the third for year B to read next. I greatly wished these were available in digital format, but I found out from the CTS that they do not have permissions for eBooks of the scriptures contained within. I believe that is a great pity, I would love to have the three of these as eBooks. Even without the scripture so you could read the passage on your own. I have now read several of the volumes from the Catholic Truth Society in the CTS Scriptures Series. All of the ones I have read prior to this have an introduction by Dom Henry Wansbrough OSB. The ones I have read prior to these Sunday Gospel Commentaries are:

This one has a two-page spread for each Sunday and a couple of feast days in the church year. There are 57 reflections in this volume. Each two-page spread has the Gospel for that day and facing it a reflection by Dom Henry. Each of the Gospel pages is outlined by the colour of vestments for that day. Only the volume for Year C has been rebranded to date, with new cover design. Both Year A and B are still available in older editions. The description of this volume is:

“The Sunday Gospels for Year A are accompanied by commentary on both the Gospel story and the place of God’s love in Christ’s ministry and in our everyday life.

Dom Henry Wansbrough OSB guides the reader through each of the Sunday gospels during Year A from Advent to the end of the liturgical year on Christ the King. Each Gospel passage is accompanied by succinct commentary on both the story and in particular the place of God’s love in Christ’s ministry and in our own everyday life, as his disciples.

Year A is the first year in the Church's three-year cycle and applies from Advent to Christ the King of the following year.”

And the product page for Year C informed us of the next few years that follow those readings. His volume does not but they are: 

The next few Year A’s fall on the following years:
Advent 2026 – Christ the King 2025
Advent 2029 – Christ the King 2028
Advent 2032 – Christ the King 2031

I have already tucked this volume away to reread it again in 2 years. And will likely cycle through the three volumes a few times. I want to call out that Dom Henry was the chief editor of the work of The Revised New Jerusalem Bible Study Edition, This volume uses that translation for the Gospel passages. There is no real introduction or forward to any of the three volumes in this set. This one has a brief note about Dom Henry and the source material at the beginning. The other two have it at the end. About Dom Henry we are informed:

“Dom Henry Wansbrough, OSB, is a renowned biblical scholar who regularly writes exegesis and reflections on scripture. He recently completed a new translation of the Bible, the Revised New Jerusalem Bible. He is a Benedictine based at Ampleforth Abbey.” 

We are also given a brief history of the Jerusalem Bible Translation and in the acknowledgements it states:

“CTS gratefully acknowledges the publishers of The Sunday Word for their permission to reproduce some of Fr Wansbrough's material in this publication.”

A Sample reflection is:

John 20:1-9
It was very early on the first clay of the week and still dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been moved away from
the tomb and came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved. 'They have taken the Lord out of the tomb' she said 'and we don't know where they have put him.'

So Peter set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple, running faster than Pete r, reached the tomb first; he bent down and saw the linen cloths lying on the ground, but did not go in. Simon Peter who was following now came up, went right into the tomb, saw the linen cloths on the ground, and also the cloth that had been over his head; this was not with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and he believed. Till this moment they had failed to understand the teaching of scripture, that he must rise from the dead .

The Empty Tomb

There are several accounts in t he various Gospels of the discovery o f the empty tomb. The slight variations between them show all the marks of oral tradition, for in genuine oral tradition each 'performance' is different. Different people tell the story slightly differently, stressing different aspects. This story stresses the proof that the tomb really was empty, for the apostles examine the evidence carefully. Oth er accounts concentrate less on the evidence and more on the message, that they will meet the Risen Lord in Galilee. It was important to establish that the tomb was empty, to prevent the charge that the meetings with the Risen Christ were simply ghost appearances. Apart from the proof that this was a real, living and bodily person, these meetings stress two factors, the power of the Risen Christ and the commission given to the disciples. They are to go out into the whole world and spread the message, always accompanied by and strengthened by Christ himself. In this account Simon Peter is clearly the senior, authority figure, to whom the beloved disciple defers. But it is the love of the beloved disciple which immediately brings him to faith.

Question: Is the empty tomb the chief evidence for the Resurrection?”

I hope that sample reflections give you a feel for the volume. The first edition of this volume was released in 2016. I Have also read A Year With the Bible - 365 Daily Reflections, from Dom Henry and the CTS, which I can also easily recommend.

It was wonderful to read these reflections over the year. I found that having read these ahead of time helped me to interact with the Gospel more on Sunday’s even if it was not the focus of the homily. These are great little booklets. It is an excellent resource from the Catholic Truth Society! I just wish that these booklets were available electronically as well. It is great to pick up over the year. I can easily recommend this volume and the two companion volumes.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Henry Wansbrough OSB:
CTS Books:
36 Days & 36 Ways Daily Meditations from Advent to the Epiphany Year B
40 Days and 40 Ways Daily Meditations for Lent Year A
40 Days and 40 Ways Daily Meditations for Lent Year B
40 Days and 40 Ways Daily Meditations for Lent Year C
Companion to the Sunday Gospels: The Year of Mercy
Companion to the Sunday Gospels: Year B
Jesus: The Real Evidence
The CTS New Catholic Bible (Editor)

Other Books:
40 Days With Paul
Benedictines In Oxford (Editor)
Children's Atlas Of The Bible: A Photographic Account Of The Journeys In The Bible From Abraham To St. Paul
Doubleday Bible Commentary: Genesis
Doubleday Bible Commentary: The Gospel of Luke
Event And Interpretation
In the Beginning
Introducing the New Testament
Jesus and the Oral Gospel Tradition
Luke: A Bible Commentary For Every Day
Mark and Matthew
Risen from the Dead
Sunday Word: A Commentary on the Sunday Readings
The Bible A Reader's Guide: Summaries, Commentaries, Color Coding for Key Themes
The Gospel of Matthew: Take and Read (Editor)
The Gospels: Take and Read
The Holy Spirit
The Incarnation
The Lion and the Bull: The Gospels of Mark and Luke
The New Jerusalem Bible (Editor)
The New Testament of the New Jerusalem Bible (Editor)
The Passion
The Passion And Death Of Jesus
The Resurrection
The Spck Bible Guide
The Story of Jesus
The Story of Jesus: Photographed as If You Were There!
The Story Of The Bible: How It Came To Us
The Use and Abuse of the Bible: A Brief History of Biblical Interpretation

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