A good interior relationship with God is an indispensable ingredient for a happy life. For only when this basic relationship is in order can all other relationships prosper. That is why it is important to learn and practice all one’s life long, from childhood on, to think with God, to feel with God, to will with God, so that love will follow and will become the keynote of my life. When that occurs, love of neighbor will follow as a matter of course. For if the keynote of my life is love, then I, in my turn, will react to those whom God places on my path only with a Yes of acceptance, with trust, with approval, and with love. To characterize love of neighbor, Holy Scripture employs a very wise and very profound expression: “to love one’s neighbor as oneself”. It requires no quixotic or spurious heroism. It does not say: “You should deny yourself and exist only for the other; you must be less concerned about yourself and more about the other.” No!—“as you love yourself”. Not more, not less. If we are not at peace with ourselves, we cannot really love anyone else. If we cannot accept ourselves, we will also reject the other. True love is righteous: to love myself as a member of Christ’s body—that is where it leads. Oneself as others—to be freed from that false perspective with which all of us are born, that the world revolves around me alone.

Joseph Ratzinger, Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year, ed. Irene Grassl, trans. Mary Frances McCarthy and Lothar Krauth (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1992),  page 276.

  • Title: Acts of the Apostles
  • Author: Rev. William Kurz, SJ
  • Series: Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture
  • Published by Baker Academic 2013, 397 pages, ($19 to $23)
  • ISBN: 978080103633

Print

The book has received both a Nihil obstat and an Imprimatur.

Two summers ago, I read cover to cover the Gospel of Matthew in this same series and it was fantastic. This summer I have spent reading and studying this book from cover to cover. This book is of the same quality. I have learned so much, it is difficult to summarize that learning.

I think the most important point I can write about is the author.  Fr. Kurz is a professor of Sacred Scripture at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he has been teaching there for over 35 years.  His expertise is St. Luke, both the Gospel and Acts. Fr. Kurz is not only an expert on St. Luke, but he is also a great teacher. The chapters read like you are listening to his class lectures, but it is important to note not on a difficult intellectual level.  The sentences, paragraphs, pages and chapters are understandable and interesting.  While this book can be and should be used in universities and seminaries to teach those types of students, the book is written in a way that it is usable and understandable for anyone who wishes a deep understanding of the Acts of the Apostles. I do mean deep understanding, 400 pages deep.

From the book’s introduction chapter, page 10:

A variety of features are designed to make the commentary as useful as possible. Each volume includes the biblical text of the New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE), the translation approved for liturgical use in the United States. In order to serve readers who use other translations, the most important differences between the NABRE and other widely used translations (RSV, NRSV, JB, NJB, and NIV) are noted and explained. Each unit of the biblical text is followed by a list of references to relevant Scripture passages, Catechism sections, and uses in the Roman Lectionary. The exegesis that follows aims to explain in a clear and engaging way the meaning of the text in its original historical context as well as its perennial meaning for Christians. Reflection and Application sections help readers apply Scripture to Christian life today by responding to questions that the text raises, offering spiritual interpretations drawn from Christian tradition, or providing suggestions for the use of the biblical text in catechesis, preaching, or other forms of pastoral ministry.

Interspersed throughout the commentary are Biblical Background sidebars that present historical, literary, or theological information, and Living Tradition sidebars that offer pertinent material from the postbiblical Christian tradition, including quotations from Church documents and from the writings of saints and Church Fathers. The Biblical Background sidebars are indicated by a photo of urns that were excavated in Jerusalem, signifying the importance of historical study in understanding the sacred text. The Living Tradition sidebars are indicated by an image of Eadwine, a twelfth-century monk and scribe, signifying the growth in the Church’s understanding that comes by the grace of the Holy Spirit as believers study and ponder the Word of God in their hearts (see Dei Verbum 8).

A map and a Glossary are located in the back of each volume for easy reference. The glossary explains key terms from the biblical text as well as theological or exegetical terms, which are marked in the commentary with a cross (†). A list of Suggested Resources, an Index of Pastoral Topics, and an Index of Sidebars are included to enhance the usefulness of these volumes.

There are three important lessons I learned from this book:

1) The main people in Acts: St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Stephen, St. Philip make frequent use of Old Testament Scripture to talk about Jesus. Fr. Kurz explains all these usages of the Old Testament.

2) The Acts of the Apostles is the original evangelization, and Fr. Kurz explains how our new evangelization can learn from the original one.

3) Fr. Kurz does a great job of explaining how St. Luke shows the impact and effect of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the Apostles as they go about the mission of establishing and building up the Church.

In conclusion, I have been very impressed with this book. Reading the 400 pages of this book was not a chore or a difficult intellectual exercise, but it has been a joy. I have and continue to look forward to reading and studying it.

I have found this Heart in the adorable Eucharist,
the heart
of my King,
of my Friend,
of my Brother.

(St. Bernard of Clairvaux)
June 27, 2014 Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Devotion is a “total dedication, commitment, and handing over of oneself to the Person of Christ and what He has at Heart.”
It means leaving ourselves open to the impact of His personality in our lives. It means to give a loving response as we experience Him. It means responding with a total giving in as His ideals  and attitudes, His message and life work become known to us. It means anything but mere words and hollow actions!  If we allow it, His impact on us gradually integrates our behavior, motivates our whole way of living, and brings a unity within ourselves, with God and with others. He becomes as it were, the “master-idea” and “chief motivating force” in our lives. In short it becomes a “spirituality”.

“Updated Devotion to the Sacred Heart” by Rev. Walter Kern 1975, page 30-31.

In Matthew’s Gospel, 159 verses make allusions to 247 Old Testament verses, in 30 books. I created this document to visually show the connection between the New Testament and the Old Testament.  A famous quote from St. Augustine: “New Testament is hidden in the Old and the Old is made manifest in the New.” (“Questions on the Heptateuch” 2,73: PL 34,623. year 419)

The translation I used: New American Bible – Revised Edition (2011)
Copyright 2014 (All Rights Reserved) This document may not be sold, it is given away free.

The document is 42″ by 30″  (106.7 cm by 76.2 cm).  If you would like a printed copy, download the document and take it to you local printer and ask to have it printed on a 42″ plotter (printer).  See the “My Documents” section on the right side of the page…

And since there is in the Sacred Heart a symbol and a sensible image of the infinite love of Jesus Christ which moves us to love one another, therefore is it fit and proper that we should consecrate ourselves to His most Sacred Heart-an act which is nothing else than an offering and a binding of oneself to Jesus Christ, seeing that whatever honor, veneration and love is given to this divine Heart is really and truly given to Christ Himself.

Annum Sacrum #8 – On Consecration To The Sacred Heart, Pope Leo XIII,  25th  May, 1899

Devotion to the Heart of the Savior, it must be repeated, is adoration of/and a relationship to the Person of Christ and His Heart, the Person with His Heart, the Person under the aspect of His Heart, the person from the point of view of His Heart-center, the Person through the symbol of His Heart, but never the Heart separated from the Person!

“Updated Devotion to the Sacred Heart” by Rev. Walter Kern 1975, page 20

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