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A useful guide through Lent

Kieran O’Mahony OSA’s latest book, Hearers of the Word, from Messenger Publications is a guide to praying and exploring the scripture readings during the season of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday, 17 February 2021.

The author notes that the past year has been “exceptionally difficult” for people, describing it as a “kind of suspension of ordinary life, a period of dormancy”. But it has also been a time where many have reflected on their lives, their values, and their faith, he says. Quoting the book of Job, he adds, “there is hope for a tree”.

His book is an offering for the ‘hope of a tree’ because it brings us into contact with the scriptures that will be read during Lent. And when we read and pray the scriptures, Kieran (himself a scripture scholar) contends, as hearers of the word we will encounter the Word – the living God.

So in this guide through the readings for Lent, he offers not only the texts but an exploration of them, both their historical context and their spiritual content. The book contains pointers for prayer, reflections, themes, and scripture commentary throughout the Lenten season and the days of Holy Week.

Hearers of the Word concludes with a short chapter on ‘Speaking of salvation today.’ “The immense suffering of Jesus was not a price to offset the anger of God,” he writes, “but rather a thrilling act of solidarity down from God, to disclose the love of God for us all.”