The Deep End
(A journey with the Sunday Gospels in the Year of Luke)
Author Triona Doherty & Jane Mellett
Publisher Messenger Publications €14.95
The foreword describes ‘The Deep End’ as an ‘Inspiring commentary on the Gospel reading of every Sunday of the year of St Luke’. Most but not all of the readings are taken from Luke’s Gospel. The authors’ base and ministry is Catholic.
The book starts with brief but helpful introductions to the person believed to be Luke and the principle of Lectio Divina; the latter is a useful reminder of how to read, reflect and meditate on any Bible reading. It is predictably and pragmatically divided into the liturgical seasons of the year, which includes a ‘Season of Creation’, feast days and ordinary time. There is an index of Scripture references, and the book refreshingly ends with ‘Endnotes’ (although printed in near-microscopic font). This is a useful list of references which encourages and helps the reader to explore further some of the book’s readings and quotations.
The layout of the book is uniform with each Sunday’s offering occupying two, side-by-side pages which certainly makes it easier to read. Each day’s entry begins with the reading and is followed in turn by a brief and sometimes contemporary commentary or reflection, a quotation (many by Pope Francis, others by people both well-known and unknown) that is considered relevant to the reading, and ends with a ‘Go Deeper’ section. This final section comprises of one or two questions which invites the reader to consider and reflect on the reading and apply its message to their personal experiences and spiritual growth. Going ‘deeper’, will always be relative to the individual reader but in my opinion, many of the questions in this ‘Go Deeper’ section lie in the shallow, rather than in the deep end of reflection and spiritual self-examination. However, the questions asked by the authors are clear, relevant and often challenging and merit thought and responses. This is a well-structured and very readable book which I feel sure will be a meaningful contribution for both Advent and throughout the year.
I would like to share one quote from the book because it is challenging and could be used as our spiritual introit into Advent. It is by Peter McVerry: ‘The peace promised by God does not come from accepting the world as it is… The Christian community was established by Jesus in order to show a broken world how to live as a new creation … The Christian community, by the way we live, love, care and share with each other, is called to say “No” to our world as it is and to say, “Yes” to the world as it should be.’
Reviewed by RICHARD APPLETON