Sign In
Basket 0 Items


Sign In
Basket 0 Items


The Deep End: A Journey with the Sunday Gospels in the Year of Mark

By Triona Doherty and Jane Mellet

Review by Duncan Macpherson, Features Editor, Roman Catholic Deacon, retired lecturer in Theology at Saint Mary’s University, Twickenham

Messenger Publications, Dublin, 2023, £18.95

ISBN 978-1-7881-2643-4

Since only priests and deacons are allowed to preach at Mass, Roman Catholic women have little opportunity to preach. The spiritual reflections of these two Irish Catholic women writers suggest that this is a great loss to the Church. However, these are not either model homilies or biblical studies notes on the Gospel readings. Rather, they offer genuine spiritual reflections on the Sunday texts, linking insights from the Gospel readings for year 2, the year of Mark, with all the big issues, both personal and political.

Reflecting the concerns of Pope Francis and other progressive religious leaders, these issues include care for the environment, social and economic justice, and opposition to war and division in the human family.

Each Gospel passage is given a page of meditation, followed by a relevant short quotation from a varied range of writers, both ancient and modern. These include names as varied as Saint Clare of Assisi, Saint Therese of Lisieux, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King, Pope Francis, Justin Welby, Patriarch Bartholomew, Karl Jung, and Mahatma Gandhi. Finally, there are a couple of questions, inviting the individual reader to ‘go deeper’ by reflecting on how the message can affect his or her own spiritual journey and outlook on the major questions of our day.

This volume offers a mine of inspiration for preachers of every Christian tradition as they try to discern relevant themes for the Sunday homily. They will also find some valuable insights from New Testament studies and Christian Theology, although there are some omissions. For example, there is little sense of the pivotal importance of Peter’s confession of faith in Christ (Mark 8:27-33) in the structure of Mark’s Gospel. Likewise, anyone hoping to better understand the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, celebrated on 15 August, will find the issue completely avoided in favour of an excellent meditation on the radical message of the Magnificat. Nevertheless, it would be unfair to look for what is missing in such a rich resource of spiritual insight.

Although these powerful mediations are in no sense Sunday homilies, readers of this volume will inevitably wonder why women with such perceptive gifts are not able to contribute more directly to the ministry of preaching in the Roman Catholic Church.

Welcome to The College of Preachers

To explore the website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read up to three articles a month for free. (You will need to register.)

This is the last of your 1 free articles this month.
Subscribe today for the full range of resources from The College of Preachers, including Lectionary sermons for every Sunday, book reviews and more.