Tonight was our last Bible Study of our 24 week series! We were studying the Gospel of Matthew. You wouldn't think that you could spend 24 weeks on Matthew, but trust me - you can! If you ever get the chance to participate in a Great Adventure Bible Study (especially one done by Jeff Cavins), by all means - DO!
Someone once said "Ignorance of the Bible is Ignorance of Christ." Unfortunately, studying the Bible doesn't seem to happen that often in the Catholic Church. I have learned SO much (and have SO much more to learn). There have been some teachings or some points that just jump up and hit me right between the eyes. There have been some weeks that led to some soul searching.
Tonight was a little special because we had "finger foods" while we watched the DVD. It was a recap of the entire Gospel, and then a little more indepth on the last Chapter. The final thing that Jesus left His apostles with was "Go and make disciples..." That is His instruction to us. And how reassuring that He is with us "until the end of the age."
Our pastor always fields questions and answers at the end. Sometimes (most times) there aren't questions, but tonight there were a couple. One man commented about how the Apostles had THE best teacher, but they still didn't "get" it all. He said he would have been pretty amazed if HE had seen Jesus working all these miracles. And our pastor responded by saying that we see miracles all the time and are unfazed by them. The primary example is Mass. Every time the bread and wine is changed to the Body and Blood of Jesus, we witness a miracle. He gave confession as another example - that one is a 2-part miracle. He said that when you hear the prompting of the Spirit to go and have the good sense to respond, that is the first part of the miracle. Don't give yourself too much credit for going, he said, because you can not approach God without God first drawing you to Himself. The second part of the miracle is God's amazing expression of Mercy, the forgiveness of sins, to which we have no right, cannot earn, etc.
People stayed around at the end to chat. That is one of the best side effects of these gatherings - getting to know the other people you worship with.
We started in August and here we are in April. It HAS been a Great Adventure. Next up (later in the summer) is a study of the Letters of James. That one is only a 10-week series, though. I'll be there!
Wherein Fr. Z assigns some worthwhile reading
50 minutes ago