John R. DONAHUE, Hearing the Word of God. Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 2004. pp.130. $15.95 pb. ISBN 0-8146-2785-4.
Reviewed by Jean DONOVAN , Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA 15282

Perhaps it was not the best of times and worst of times, but rather just hard times in the American Catholic Church after 9/11. John R. Donahue, in his text Hearing the Word of God, reconstructs a series of meditations he wrote for America magazine following Season A of the lectionary. In looking back over his reflections, he edits and builds on the insights he learned through experiencing the hard times in the Church and the world that year. In publishing this text, it is his hope to have created something of lasting value that spans into other times in church life.

His central focus is on biblical preaching, which he argues is central to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council. To that end, he introduces each Sunday with the readings of the day, his reflections, and some questions for the reader to deepen their own spiritual connection and reflections on the readings. He argues that proclaiming the Word has two dimensions: opening the Word to the community, and helping them experience that Word in their daily lives. To deepen the reader's reflections on the gospel of Matthew, Donahue includes a select annotated bibliography on the gospel at the end of his text.

It seems to me that the hard times of 2001 linger, and the spiritual reading of the gospel of Matthew to which Donahue calls the Catholic community continues to be of value. His text would be a useful guide for liturgical committees, preachers and proclaimers, and the Catholic community at large.

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