by Fr. John Riccardo
Reviewed by Eileen Quinn Knight, Ph.D.
I met Scott Hahn on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land where he was the main leader and was kind enough to give us lectures each evening after we came back from parts of the Holy Land on where we went that day. So when I saw the forward of this book written by Dr. Hahn I was deeply interested. As Scott Hahn states in the forward: ”Fr. John Riccardo understands this deep human need, and he recognizes that we live in a moment when every proposed alternative narrative is falling apart.” His book provides a simple account that’s needed for us right now. The New Evangelization, talked about by popes since St. Paul VI. Can go forward only by grace, but we need to tell our stories in compelling ways. The author does this by distilling the biblical narrative in a way that is meaningful. He gathers the richness of Catholic tradition, which includes STEM and all relevant sciences as well as a conversation that can lead to an engagement of modern culture.
Fr. Ricardo offers an impressive array of early Christian witnesses for this book: Irenaeus, Melito, Ephrem, and Maximus. He lets them show us how to tell the story. This we learn not only from a master of modern preaching but also from the very voices who converted the world the first time of the Catholic Church’s work with the apostles/disciples. We do live in a moment when all other monuments are falling. We love in a time when many other ancient documents are going unread or actually being banned for their civilizational associations. In some senses, this is a disaster to be mourned. We must see this as an opportunity to be embraced. We have been created for this moment and called for this moment and so will be empowered for this moment.
This is the story of Jesus Christ, and it is a story that encompasses all others and surpasses all others. It is a monument that will stand when all others have fallen. It is a narrative that will hold together when all others have unraveled.
The book provides questions after several of the sections that helps the reader stop and ponder the importance of the word of God. In the last section his questions include: “Do I consider daily what Jesus has done for me? How do I see my faith? Is it merely private or do I see and understand the idea of a wider mission? Does the idea of “mission” or “evangelizing” scare me? Why or why not? What does it look like, in my sphere of influence, to help God get his world back? Read the book and then offer it to.