+JMJ+ Oh, my goodness, where to start? First, I need a fresh cuppa. Ah, now, let me get situated here and I’ll tell you what happened. I was searching for info on the Magi (there’s a pun to be made there but I’m not making it) and then Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI died, may he rest in peace. So I wanted to write something about him and decided to post some quotes and began another search.
Then I found out that the Catechism In a Year podcast had started. Then I remembered that Pope Benedict (when he was Cardinal Ratzinger) had
something a lot to do with the Catechism all those years ago, so I looked to see what I could find on that. Turns out I had a relevant book (see below) in my Verbum library already but didn’t realize it. (It’s a BIG library and I haven’t read most of it and I often find things in there I didn’t know I had. Verbum adds things to the collections and discovering them is one of the joys of having a Verbum library.)
And the third part of the book starts out with—wait for it—“Jews and Gentiles as Reflected in the Story of the Wise Men from the East.” And with that we’ve come full circle. I love it when that happens. Let me share a quote, really, as passage about the Magi now from Gospel, Catechesis, Catechism. I think it’s important enough to share it at length. I’m reading the book from the Biblia.com website. (See notes and links below.)
For the Catechism, these men represent the origin of the Church of the Gentiles and permanently reflect her historical path. The Catechism makes the following remarks on the significance of the Magi:\
“The magi’s coming to Jerusalem in order to pay homage to the king of the Jews shows that they seek in Israel, in the messianic light of the star of David, the one who will be king of the nations [Mt 2:2]. Their coming means that pagans can discover Jesus and worship him as Son of God and Savior of the world only by turning toward the Jews and receiving from them the messianic promise as contained in the Old Testament. The Epiphany shows that ‘the full number of the nations’ now takes its ‘place in the family of the patriarchs,’ and acquires Israelitica dignitas (are made ‘worthy of the heritage of Israel’).”
This text shows how the Catechism understands the relationship mediated by Jesus between the Jews and the nations. In so doing, it likewise offers an initial treatment of the mission of Jesus himself. We could say in the light of this text that Jesus’ mission is to bring Jews and Gentiles together into a single people that fulfills the universalistic promises of the Scriptures. These promises tirelessly announce that all the nations will worship the God of Israel. Indeed, in Trito-Isaiah [Isaiah 56-66] we no longer merely read of the pilgrimage of the nations to Zion; we also find the announcement that messengers will be sent to the peoples “who have not yet heard of me or seen my glory.… And some of them also I will take for priests and for Levites, says the Lord” (Is 66:19, 21).
In order to explain how Jesus brings together Israel and the nations, our short text—still interpreting Matthew 2—gives a brief instruction on the relationship among the world’s religions, the faith of Israel and the mission of Jesus. The world religions can play the role of the star that puts men on the path, that leads them to search for the kingdom of God. The star of the religions points toward Jerusalem; it is extinguished and relit in the Word of God, in the Holy Scripture of Israel. The Word of God preserved in Scripture appears as the true star, which we cannot dispense with or ignore if we wish to reach the goal. When the Catechism calls the star the “star of David”, it further connects the story of the wise men to Balaam’s prophecy concerning the star that rises from Jacob (Nb 24:17). It sees this prophecy linked in turn with Jacob’s blessing of Judah, in which he promises the staff and scepter to the one “to whom the obedience of the peoples is due” (Gen 49:10). The Catechism regards Jesus as this promised scion of Judah who unites Israel and the peoples in the kingdom of God.From Gospel, Catechesis, Catechism: Sidelights on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Ignatius Press, 1995, Verbum edition.
I still have more research to do regarding the magi, but I know I’m going to enjoy reading this book. And listening to the Catechism In a Year podcast. I’m caught up now to Day 9. (I’m not going to try to share notes on this podcast the way I tried to do with the Bible In a Year podcast. I’m just going to read and listen and maybe toss out a note here and there. It was just too much last year. I don’t have the kind of energy I used to have. Nope, I just don’t.)
Video, The Catechism in a Year (with Fr. Mike Schmitz) Podcast, trailer. (See notes and links below for video and playlist links and other ways to follow.)
Ascension Press has published companion edition of the Catechism, done in a way similar to the Great Adventure Bible. See links below. This looks really good, y’all. I’ll let you know when my copy gets here and I have time to use it. (You knew I had to get a copy.)
And lest you think I have completely forgotten about our earlier Quest (see notes and links below), I have not! The next phase is still percolating away in my wee little mind. Stay tuned for more on that.
Thanks for visiting the blog and reading. May we stay holy and virtuous during this new year, and, by His grace, become the saints the Lord intends us to be. God bless you, peace be with you, now and always. +JMJ+
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Notes and Links
- Gospel, Catechesis, Catechism: Sidelights on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Ignatius Press, 1995. Paperback, Kindle (Amazon affiliate links, see Full Disclosure below). Also available in Verbum, Logos formats (not affiliate links). (These formats require Verbum or Logos software.)
- The Catechism in a Year (with Fr. Mike Schmitz) Podcast on YouTube: Videos, Playlists. Also on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, Ascension Edition, companion book to the podcast. Trailer. This looks so good. I ordered a copy. I can hardly wait for it to get here!
- Great Adventure Bible, Ascension Press. Various formats. I hope to get a lot of use out of both of these books.
- Biblia.com is owned by Logos and Faithlife owns Logos, Lexham Press, Verbum, and a bunch of other stuff. I can read various translations of the Bible there and access my library online and read my books and notes online instead of having to download everything, which is a great help since my current laptop has much less storage space on it than my previous one.
- Beginning in January 2022 I posted a series on the spiritual life and the quest for holiness. You can find the annotated table of contents for the series on the Catholic Book of the Month page. Just scroll down to the section on the Introduction to the Spiritual Life by Brant Pitre. Highly recommended! Such a great book by such a great author. I’ll be using that one for many years to come. (There are links there so you can get a copy. Yes, they are Amazon affiliate links.)
Images: In the banner, an image from Pixabay. Cover of Gospel, Catechesis, Catechism: Sidelights on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.
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