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At a talk given in the Archdiocese of Denver, Dr. Scott Hahn of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology detailed his new book “Consuming the Word,” while highlighting the importance of the Year of Faith.
The Franciscan University professor said he had already been working on the book’s release as a follow up to bestsellers, “The Lamb’s Supper” and “Letter and Spirit” before then-Pope Benedict XVI announced the Year of Faith for the Church.
“It was already in the works,” Hahn told CNA Sept. 4, “it was a happy and holy coincidence though.”
The conclusion to Year of Faith, Hahn explained during his talk, will mark the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, an event that did not “revolutionize” the faith, but rather “renewed it.”
“When you look at Vatican II and you look at Vatican I, it’s the same faith,” he said. “Some people pretend that it’s as though (the Second Vatican Council) revolutionized the Church; all it really did was to renew the teaching that has always been true and powerful.”
The most striking “renewal” was the “notion of evangelizing” which was mentioned more than 200 times in Vatican II documents, as contrasted with just once in the documents of Vatican I.
“The Holy Spirit must have known what the need would be at the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the new millennium,” Hahn said.
Delving deeper into the topic of his new book, which presents the New Testament as “a sacrament before it was a document,” he reminded the audience that when Pope John Paul II announced the New Evangelization, he said it needed to be “based on the Eucharist.”
“The New Testament was a sacrament long before it was a document, according to the document,” he said. “This makes reading the New Testament far more exciting: to read it ‘Eucharisticly’ and to experience the Eucharist in terms of Sacred Scripture.”
For this reason, Catholics have a duty to evangelize because “we are the ones who get the Good News more truly and more fully.”
Before the books of the New Testament were ever recorded and compiled, Hahn explained, the disciples were first given the Eucharist, and commanded to “do this in memory of me.”
Before the Apostles and the Early Christians were ever reading the books of Scripture which would be called the New Testament, they were walking around living the New Testament in their worship and celebration of the Eucharist, he added.
Hahn ended by reminding the audience that the Scriptures are profoundly liturgical in nature, and that within the liturgy of the Mass, we celebrate and actualize what the Scriptures proclaim.
The Bible, Hahn said, is most at home in the Mass, and Catholics must remember this and proclaim it boldly.