Banquet of the Word is back! During the late 1970s and early 1980s I wrote, week by week, a Bible study guide based on the Sunday liturgical Scripture readings. Those are the readings we hear – and sometimes “follow along” in missalettes – week after week. In 1986 it was briefly in print as a book, under the title of Banquet of the Word, but it was soon dropped by the publisher. It continued to have a life as a web page and a parish bulletin feature in both of my former parishes, Our Lady of the Assumption in Claremont and Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills. Now I have brought it back online, in its entirety, here.
Over the years, many people have found it helpful, both for individual and communal study, prayer, and preparation for the Sunday Mass. It’s my conviction, born out of many years of study and experience of the Catholic liturgy, that Scripture at Mass is intended to be listened to, not merely “followed along” in a missalette. But it cannot be fruitfully heard and understood without some preparation. I wrote Banquet of the Word nearly forty years ago with the intention of helping people prepare for Mass during the week before, and I think it can still serve new generations.
Another goal I had in mind in writing the Banquet was to provide a simple resource for study of the whole Bible, based on the Sunday liturgical readings. Over the course of three years, nearly the whole New Testament and a large and significant part of the Old Testament are read at Mass. Liturgy-based Bible study not only provides a framework for Catholics to get familiar with the whole Bible, but also helps us integrate liturgy with life. Studying and praying the Scriptural word prepares us to receive the Sacrament of the Eternal Word, Jesus Christ, in the Eucharist, and in turn guides us to live in union with Christ by embodying his Word in our daily living.
I intend that this Banquet of the Word website will not be static, like a book, but dynamic with ever changing content. Since it’s basically a blog, the commentary for the upcoming several weeks will always appear on the front page. But there will always be additional timely posts, topical commentary, and links to additional resources. I hope to develop a way of making the site interactive to promote lively, informative and respectful (!) dialogue among users. I invite you to visit now, and keep coming back.