“The Gospel of Luke,” written by Father Pablo Gadenz, a priest of the Diocese, was released in September. Courtesy photo

“The Gospel of Luke,” written by Father Pablo Gadenz, a priest of the Diocese, was released in September. Courtesy photo

By Mary Morrell | Contributing Editor

From the initial invitation to write the book to the time of publication – a five year journey – God’s providence was in play for Father Pablo Gadenz’s new work, “The Gospel of Luke.”

The “Gospel of Luke” is the 15th volume in the 17-volume Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture series covering the entire New Testament and published by Baker Academic. Two remaining volumes are scheduled for 2019.

Father Gadenz is a priest of the Diocese – who in his work as associate professor of Biblical Studies, Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology, Seton Hall University, South Orange – teaches courses on the Gospel of Luke. He was invited in 2013 to write the CCSS volume by one of the series editors, Professor Peter Williamson from Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit.

His eligibility for a sabbatical from teaching the next year allowed Father Gadenz to complete about two-thirds of the book as his sabbatical project. Three years later, the book’s September 2018, release “is timely,” said Father Gadenz, “as the Church will soon begin a new liturgical year in Advent [Year C], focusing on Luke’s Gospel at Sunday Mass.”

The book’s intended audience is broad, including priests, deacons, catechists, lay Catholics, seminarians and other students. “A goal of the whole series is to satisfy the hunger of many Catholics to study the Bible in greater depth, in accord with the teachings of Vatican II,” Father Gadenz explained. 

More than 400 pages long, the book provides substantial commentary written in accessible language, without the technical jargon often found in biblical commentaries. “It is ideally suited for Bible study, personal meditation, and as an aid for preaching and teaching,” Father Gadenz added, offering suggestions for its use by lay people once the Year C cycle of readings in Advent begin.

“Each week, read the commentary on the passage that corresponds to the Sunday Gospel reading. However, since we do not read the whole Gospel of Luke at Sunday Mass, lay people can also deepen their understanding of Jesus’ message in Luke’s Gospel by reading the other parts of the commentary, on passages that they may not hear at Mass,” he suggested.

Another recommendation that applies for the coming Christmas season is to read the commentary on the first two chapters of Luke’s Gospel, the so-called Infancy Narrative, which contains the whole Christmas story. “Lay people can also gather in Bible study groups and use the commentary to deepen their knowledge of Luke’s Gospel. I know of several parishes that are planning Bible studies on Luke in the coming months,” Father Gadenz said.

While the goal of completing and publishing the book has been met, the journey is not over. “I hope that the book will bear fruit in helping many people grow in their relationship with Jesus, their knowledge of the Catholic faith and their Christian commitment. St. Paul tells us in one of his letters, ‘Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,’ so I hope that the book will be an effective instrument for accomplishing that goal,” Father Gadenz said, adding, “I’m also grateful to Bishop O’Connell and to Msgr. Joseph Reilly, the rector of Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology at Seton Hall, for their support and encouragement throughout the project.”