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Posted December 23, 2012
Practical wisdom for ordinary believers
Scott Hahn, a professor of theology and founder and director of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, is well known for his teaching, preaching, and writing. In this book of Lenten reflections, he begins with the Father’s original covenant with us at creation, “a sacred family bond and a loving communion of trust and obedience that we have broken.” Jesus, by his self-offering of the Eucharist and his death on the cross, instituted a new covenant. One of Hahn’s goals in this daily guide for Lent is to “show how much practical wisdom the Bible contains for the ordinary believer” by emphasizing the themes of covenant and family, which “touch us right where we live.” The reflections follow the Israelites through the Old Testament, time and again losing their way, falling into sin, and “we see God the Father full of compassion and ever ready to meet their needs.” As he writes of the Chosen People’s 400 years of slavery, Hahn observes that God “uses adversity to demonstrate his love and power,” proving that nothing can interfere with his resolve to keep his covenant with the human family. In the Palm Sunday reflection, Hahn takes us back to his days as a seminarian studying for the Presbyterian ministry. The story, set in 1982, recalls his favorite minister delivering a sermon on Jesus’ cry of “It is finished” on Calvary. To Hahn, who later converted to Catholicism, the phrase meant that our redemption, our salvation was complete. The preacher, an exceptional Scripture scholar, had determined that this popular interpretation could not be correct, though he, himself, had found no acceptable alternative. For the next 10 months, Hahn searched key biblical passages, paying special attention to of the Jewish Passover liturgy. He learned that at the Last Supper, Jesus did not complete the ritual. He did not drink “the fourth cup,” in the upper room, but in its place, took the sour wine offered to him on the cross.
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