July 1, 2019
June was a great month on Enders Island. We celebrated the high school, college and grad school graduations of six of our young men in recovery. We enjoyed a record-breaking Holy Smoke! Cigar Dinner fundraising event. And we celebrated Father’s Day with more than 300 members of the community with a lovely Sunday brunch.
You can read about all of these activities in this month’s newsletter. But I want to focus your attention for a moment on how to build some spiritual rejuvenation into your summer plans. Summer is a time for us to relax and rejuvenate physically and mentally, and it’s also a great time to add a little boost to our spiritual lives. What better way to do that than to add the Gospels to you summer reading list?
People are always looking for a good summer read, but when was the last time you opened your Bible to read the Gospels? As Catholics, we are sometimes uncomfortable with the Bible, but there is simply no better way to restore our faith and joy in the life God has given us than to read the story of Jesus as told by His disciples. It’s enjoyable, too, to ponder the story from the four different viewpoints of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Matthew is the most Jewish of the Gospels. It tells the story of Jesus Christ to a distinctly Jewish audience. Matthew’s purpose was to convince devoted and dedicated First Century Jews that Jesus is the promised Messiah of God.
Mark’s Gospel is written more as a sermon that serves as a call to action and conversion that appealed to the Greeks of Jesus’ day.
Luke’s version is a sophisticated account of Jesus’ life that was intended to appeal to educated Greeks who wanted a conclusive argument in support of the validity of the historical figure of Jesus Christ.
John’s Gospel is written to devoted, committed Christians in the Church that John founded and led. In it, John seeks to encourage believers in the validity of their faith amidst a world increasingly hostile to their beliefs.
Over the ages, some folks have pointed to the nuances and differences in the Gospel accounts as reasons not to believe. But on the contrary, the diversity in the Gospels can better be seen as God reaching out to diverse people with His message of unconditional love.
This summer, whether lazing in a hammock on the porch, fishing by a quiet pond, or sunning at the beach, I challenge you to pull out your Bible for a few minutes and ponder the Gospels. If you have questions, note them down, and don’t hesitate to send me an email with them. I’d love to hear from you! When someone asks, “What are you reading this summer,” tell them you’re reading the Gospels, and why. You’ll be surprised at what a great conversation opener this is, and you just might change a life.
In faith and hope,