The Epistle for the Divine Liturgy on 16 September
I intend to keep on reminding you of these things, though you know them already and are established in the truth that has come to you. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to refresh your memory, since I know that my death will come soon, as indeed our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things. For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain. So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.(2 Peter 1:12-21)
The Prophet Jonah asleep outside the city of Nineveh, waiting for its destruction, from the Rabbula Gospels
What would you want to make sure people remembered about Jesus?
Write down your favorite Bible story, from the Old or New Testament, as you remember it.
The interior of the dome of the Maornite Church of Saint Louis, Haifa Israel, with the four Evangelists and their symbols in the arches supporting the dome
When you retell your favorite Bible story, usually you are not going to tell it word for word the way it is written in the Bible. You are probably not going to retell it the same way every time you share it with someone. Even if you read it, you may use your voice to emphasize different parts on different occasions. Anyone else retelling the same story is likely to make different choices and remember different details than you do.
Each part of the Bible was written by a specific person at a particular time and in a particular place. They brought a particular view point or perspective to their writing and they each had a particular purpose in writing for a particular community. The writings that became the Bible have been important across thousands of years and in every Christian community. By the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Church has recognized these books as the most important writings that reveal God and God’s love for all people through history. There are many other wonderful writings available, but these are the most important of all and those we trust most.
We believe that God guided each of the authors of the different books of the Bible by the Holy Spirit, but we still see the particular concerns of each author. Let’s look at how each of the four Evangelists, the writers of the four Gospels, describes Jesus teaching about how we must all become like little children if we want to enter God’s kingdom.
Then little children were being brought to him in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them; but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” And he laid his hands on them and went on his way.
This four-headed figure is an icon representing one of the “four living creatures” described in the vision of Ezekiel the Prophet, recorded in Ezekiel 1:1-14. The Church has traditionally assigned each face to an Evangelist. The human face symbolizes Matthew; the lion’s face represents Mark; the face of the ox portrays Luke; and the face of the eagle depicts John. This angelic being is one creature with four faces and four voices proclaiming the one Good News.
This icon is found in the monasteries of Meteora in Greece.
People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.
People were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they sternly ordered them not to do it. But Jesus called for them and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.”
An Icon of Jesus blessing the children
Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.
What are the differences you see among the accounts of the four Evangelists about the same teaching of Jesus?
Which account do you like best? What about the reading attracts you to it more than the others?
While the four Evangelists are teaching us the same basic message from Jesus, John is describing a very different event than the other three.
How do you think the four Evangelists ended up presenting the same teaching of Jesus in different ways?
What do you think are the benefits of having different accounts of the same teaching or the same event?
The Gospel message is one, but the expression and details sometimes differ for different occasions or needs.
This is from the Sedro, the main prayer from the Prayer of Forgiveness or Husoyo, for Saturdays in the Season of the Glorious Cross.
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
O Christ our Savior, we ask you to accept our prayers, hymns, and petitions. Make us worthy to understand your holy Gospel and to keep your life-giving commandments. Guide our steps on the path of righteousness and enlighten us with the rays of your glorious grace. Count us among your chosen ones, that we may glorify you, your Father, and your Holy Spirit, forever. Amen.
A Table of Contents for the Four Gospels from the Rabbula Gospels with miniature scenes from the Old and New Testament
The reference below each statement links to the official English translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the Web site of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
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the publishing house of the Eparchies
of the Antiochene Syriac Maronite Catholic Church
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