The Deep End: Year of Mark
Author Tríona Doherty & Jane Mellett
Publisher Messenger €19.95
Lectionary Year B begins in Advent and most of our Sunday Gospel readings for the next twelve months will come from Mark, although we shall also hear from John’s Gospel during Lent, Easter and some other feasts. Many ministers will need a good modern guide to Mark, and I believe that this book amply provides this. The weekly reflections cover each Sunday’s Gospel and are designed to take ministers (and indeed members of congregations) deeper into each text, showing how scripture works in our lives today. The reflections are brief, but nonetheless profound. They are each followed by a section entitled ‘Go Deeper’ which suggests how the readings may influence our daily lives. Lectio Divina is encouraged. There is a valuable introduction to each liturgical season, including the ‘Season of Creation (1st September to 4th October).
This book should not, however, be regarded as a simple spiritual and liturgical guide, providing short insights into biblical soundbites. I found it theologically rich with a strong awareness of modern biblical scholarship on Mark – no longer the ‘Cinderella Gospel’. Although the two authors are Catholic women who studied together at Maynooth, this is certainly not a book exclusively for Catholics. It has a refreshingly ecumenical feel and should therefore be valued by Christians of all traditions. It penetrates to the heart of Mark’s remarkable theology, which challenges many traditional assumptions about Jesus and his disciples. I personally sympathised with the view that nearly all the men (and especially the disciples) in Mark are ‘scandalously weak’ while the women are almost invariably strong, determined characters. In many ways, Mark seems to have been ahead of his time and certainly held different views to his contemporary evangelists.
I recommend this book as a valuable and reliable guide, both for preaching and for personal formation, during 2023-24
Reviewed by KATE BURTON