THIRST FOR LIFE Meditations/Homilies for Ordinary Time by Harold A. Buetow ($14.95)**

ALBA: 0-8189

Societies fall apart if they lose their fundamental beliefs. There are some signs of this throughout the world -- the instability of marriage; excessive competitiveness; inequities and discrimination; failure of schools to prepare children for productive, satisfying lives; an increase of violent behavior; and a coarsening of society's attitude toward love and sexuality. Respect for truth, for justice, for compassion, for care of the environment and, above all, for the sacredness of human life are fundamental moral values on which societies depend. Volume 1 concentrates on the Gospel of St. Mark and its emphasis on life -- divine life -- treasured, sought and given, then and now. Volume 2 shows how St. Matthew portrays Jesus as fulfilling all that is embraced in the concept of the Jewish Messiah and covers Weeks 10 through 21 of the Church's Ordinary Time. The third volume in a series of Meditations / Homilies for the Weekdays of the Year focuses mainly on the gospel of St. Luke, the most joyful of all the gospels. Hence the title, Rejoicing in Hope.

The author of a book of Pastoral Talks for Special Ocassions (Alba House, 1994) and a highly-acclaimed trilogy of reflections on the Readings for the Sundays and Holy Days of the Liturgical Year (Alba House, 1997): God Still Speaks: Listen! (Cycle A), All Things Made New (Cycle B), and Ode to Joy (Cycle C), Harold A. Buetow, PhD, JD is a priest from the Diocese of Brooklyn who spent thirty years at Catholic University where he taught and was Senior Staff Editor on The New Catholic Encyclopedia. His present trilogy of Meditations / Homilies for the Weekdays of the Year includes, besides Thirst for Life (Weeks 1 through 9), The New Out of the Old (Weeks 10 through 21), and Rejoicing in Hope (Weeks 22 through 34 of Ordinary Time).


"As we look into the various aspects of our lives in the present world, society seems to be falling apart. Any improvement made in the past was based on religious ideals. These meditations will benefit society and individuals. They discuss weekday readings in ordinary time. Thoughts for each day evolve from the liturgy of that day, mostly from the Gospel. Pertinent ideas from the first readings, both for year one and year two, broaden the outlook.
"Meditation is mental prayer involving reflection that moves the will toward true fervor; thus, an interior action. Preaching also demands that the preacher has internalized the material so well that it flows out in a convincing manner and sways the audience. Seeds are planted; they need to be watered and then allow God to work with the plant as it grows. Let Him take the person to the goal He has in mind.
"In the first volume, Mark, in the first nine weeks, shows a thirst for life. Scholars believe Mark wrote for a non-Jewish, Christian audience. His approach is catechetical. His literary style is common Greek, so that ordinary people could understand. His presentation is full of action... what Jesus did, not so much what He said. Mark develops the ministry of Jesus by many miracle stories. The second period develops the theme of Jesus' death and explains much to the disciples and to religious authorities. His death is described best by the centurion who claimed this man was truly the Son of God. The third period is a detailed account of Jesus' burial and resurrection. Mark pictures Jesus in the most human manner, tired, hungry and full of emotions. He performs as a teacher, miracle worker and preacher.
"The bulk of the book consists of the daily presentations from three to five pages long, with an apt title for each day. It is a source for several homilies or meditations for priests or lay people. Note the message given for the first readings also. These demonstrate a different approach when the user comes back to the second year.
"Daily tidbits and examples of meaty ideas: Page 119: 'In Genesis, Adam and Eve ate the forbidden food and die; in the gospel their children eat the heavenly food and live.' Page 126: The Fathers of the Church took Noah as a figure of Christ; the ark as an image of the Church giving refuge to those who wish to be saved. The Church, like Noah's ark, tries to do good wherever she is. Page 136: Some people are called 'upper crust.' When they baked bread in the middle ages, the bread stuck to the oven, so the cooks sliced off the upper part first and gave it to the homeowners and guests. The bottom part went to the servants and the animals. Page 161: Look out a window and see people. Look in a mirror and see yourself. The silver on the mirror stops you from seeing others, you see only yourself. Page 168: Jesus asked adults to become like children. Race, religion or culture do not concern children playing together. Be open as they are to discover. Jesus embraced children in Mark; in Sirach God makes tongues, eyes and ears. Page 179: We should give here and now. A pig says to a cow that people love him, but I give more, bacon and ham (they even pickle my feet). The cow replied. But I give while I am still living."

"The burden of Volume 2 is how to increase the value of the Liturgy of the Word in homilies. Matthew proves that Jesus fulfilled his role as the Jewish Mesisah. Matthew did not stress what Jesus did, but rather what he taught. Matthew brings in opposing points of view, pro-Jewish and pro-Gentile, a mystic and a legalist. The result is a balance and impartiality to each side. The purpose of this Gospel is to show that Jesus is the King of Israel, so it has a strong Jewish flavor. Converts from Judaism were to bring the best of their past to their new life as people of God in Jesus. For these reasons scholars believe it was written about 80 A.D.
The arrangement of Matthew's gospel is number laden, typically Jewish. Jesus' public ministry can easily be divided into 5, and with the rest, it comes to 7. Read this section in the introduction to discover how Jews found these numbers significant. The first discourse is the Sermon on the Mount; the second is to the apostles to be missionary preachers; the third is the parables; the fourth is the community in the new Church; the fifth deals with His Second Coming and the Last Judgment. Another feature of Matthew's Gospel is his capable bridging of the Old and New Testaments. A third characteristic is how He weaves in ecclesiastical affairs for the Church and the training of the apostles with catechetical intent. Matthew's Jesus attains the hopes of his people, is a lawgiver, a teacher, and an international Christ since He saved the whole world, not only the Jews.
Check the incidents related by Matthew only, such as the Magi, flight into Egypt, Holy Innocents, his piety in contrast to that of the Pharisees, money in the fish's mouth, his yoke being easy, the parables of the weeds, of the ten virgins, of the workers in the vineyard. This is what Matthew is about and he gave us the special name for Jesus: Emmanuel.
The introduction contains information about the other New and Old Testament readings that occur in these weeks. For example some themes in 2 Corinthians are Paul's consolation, suffering, honesty, sincerity, hardships, his plea for a collection for the poor Christians in Jerusalem. The main purpose of 1 Thessalonians was to clarify his position on the Second Coming of Christ. In 2 Thessalonians, he explains that the Second Coming would occur only after certain events took place. The most sacred of all days is the day of the at-one-ment, described in Leviticus. Numbers recounts the experiences of traveling from Sinai to the Promised Land. The Old Testament historical books not only interpret history but give a theological statement. In Joshua we learn that God made the sun and moon stand still so that Joshua could win a battle. The book of Ruth teaches filial piety with a reward for that virtue. For Amos and others the deity was a God of justice; for Hosea a God of mercy and love. Micah names the place where the Messiah will be born, Bethlehem. Jeremiah taught that the correct relationship with Yahweh is a change of heart. In religious history the most important movements accepted Habakkuk's statement: the just shall live by faith. Ezekiel asserted that Israel would arise to a new life in his famous vision of the bones." -- Jovian P. Lang, OFM in Catholic Library World, June 2003

"These three volumes (Thirst for Life, The New Out of the Old, and Rejoicing in Hope) are part of one continuous set of reflections on the Lectionary readings for the two-year weekday cycle of Ordinary Time. Each volume concentrates on the selections from each of the Synoptic Gospels, although the author also offers briefer comment on the accompanying first reading for each of the two-year cycle of the weekday readings (from either the Old Testament or the New Testament letters). The reflections offer deft summaries of the biblical message for each passage along with succinct connections to human experience. These volumes could serve either as solid spiritual reading to accompany the liturgical year or as a source of homily ideas." -- Donald Senior, C.P. in The Bible Today, Jan/Feb 2003

"About everyday: Fine new 3-volume series that will be a great help to homilists, as well as useful to individuals and groups rooting regular prayer in the liturgy and readings. Title: Meditations/Homilies for the Weekdays of the Year by Brooklyn priest and veteran Catholic University of America professor, Fr. Harold A. Buetow, PhD JD. Titles available: (1) Thirst for Life: Weeks 1 through 9 of Ordinary Time - St. Mark, which also includes coverage of the Epistles, as well as Old Testament books (Genesis, History and Wisdom), with major focus on the Gospel. (2) The New Out of the Old: Weeks 10 through 21 of Ordinary Time - St. Matthew, plus attention to 2 Corinthians and 1 & 2 Thessalonians, along with Old Testament writings (Pentateuch, Historical, and Prophecy books); with major emphasis on the Gospel; (3) Rejoicing in Hope: Weeks 22 through 34 of Ordinary Time - St. Luke; looking at the Epistles, Book of Revelation, and Old Testament writings (History, Prophecy, and Wisdom), with chief emphasis on the Gospel. Common to all three -- What the author calls "too much material" to be used on any one weekday, since the material is condensed, useful year after year; when possible, the First Readings (Year 1 and Year 2) are connected with the day's Gospel. Noted: The text concentrates on the correct emphasis, relevance and human realities versus dwelling on technicalities (source Q, J, E), or modes of speech. Each book carries helpful Introductions to the Scriptures featured in that text." -- Crux of the News, December 16, 2002

Available in three volumes for the daily lectionary two-year cycle. Please indicate your preference when ordering. If ordering the set of three volumes, the price will be adjusted upon receipt of your order but will not be reflected on your program-generated receipt. Prices are as follows:

  1. Volume 1: $12.95 (list: $14.95)(0930-7)
  2. Volume 2: $16.95 (list: $18.95)(0931-5)
  3. Volume 3: $17.95 (list: $19.95)(#0932-3)
  4. Set of Three volumes: $46.95 (list: $54

    (Purchase of this book helps you qualify for the free shipping option if it is being offered at the time of your order.)

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