or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’
…Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given you besides.
Do not worry about tomorrow;
tomorrow will take care of itself” (Mt. 6:32-4)
In my Scripture study with Sister Therese Ann, I’ve enjoyed studying the Gospels from a writer’s perspective. She explained that each one of the Gospels is the writer’s “thesis.” At their core, the Gospels tell the same story—that of the life and ministry of Jesus. However, each writer approaches that story from a unique perspective, selectively choosing what content to include. Each one adapts a particular style and structure that appeals to a distinct set of themes.
The Open Yale Course lecture I listened to introduced the approach of “redaction criticism.” Rather than reading the Gospels as a record of historical fact, it approaches the text as something more dynamic. Each writer had his own editorial interest, and it is our responsibility to read them in the context of the faith community they once served. We must also consider why the writers strategically edited their sources to produce the Gospel stories we continue to read today.
In my Scripture studies, I was also surprised when one of the articles compared Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus to a resume. The article, about the Christology of Matthew’s Gospel, explained that Matthew wanted to establish Jesus’ Jewish heritage, identifying him as the Son of David and the Son of Abraham. Unlike the other Gospels, he begins with the “genesis” of Jesus. By mapping out his heritage in such detail, it becomes a “resume,” showing his background as heir to a remarkable legacy. In the midst of my career search, the analogy resonated with me. Many of the job postings I come across require years of experience that, as a recent college graduate, I don’t yet have. The search leads to dead ends, yet people continue to ask me “what’s next” and I don’t know how to respond.
Yesterday, I received news that my grandma passed away. She had been admitted to hospice about a week ago, and the Sisters have been praying for her ever since. A hospice companion sat vigil with her overnight and read her the Bible. The woman’s name was Angela. I felt comforted, as though the founder of the Ursulines herself (St. Angela) was praying for my family and keeping my grandma company. God had heard our need and answered.
At the lake, Sister Norma and I returned to the water later in the morning to find that it had returned to its usual activity. A breeze had since filled the morning’s still air, and waves broke the calm surface that we’d seen earlier.
We’d witnessed something special. It had been a gift. I’d carry its memory.