Kathryn's Reviews > The Great Church Year: The Best of Karl Rahner's Homilies, Sermons, and Meditations

The Great Church Year by Karl Rahner
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's review
Dec 07, 11

bookshelves: 2011
Read from July 06 to December 06, 2011

The Catholic Church Year is a marvelous blend of fixed feasts (Christmas, The Immaculate Conception, Saint’s days) and of moveable feasts (Easter); there are also seasons of the Church Year, starting with Advent (beginning the fourth Sunday before Christmas), Christmas and Epiphany, Ordinary Time, Lent, Easter, and Ordinary Time again. Karl Rahner (1904 – 1984) was a German Jesuit theologian, with a reputation for being difficult; but he was also a priest for fifty-two years, and one concerned with ministering to the common people. Hence this collection of homilies, sermons, and meditations that cover various aspects of the Catholic Church Year. And I will say that I enjoyed reading this book, even if every so often his concepts whiffed over my head.

Logically enough, this collection of homilies, sermons and meditations (many preached on Ignatian retreats) starts with the season of Advent, moves to the Christmas Season, then into Lent (with a Mardi Gras sermon on how laughter can be Christian). After the Easter and Pentecost sections, there is a large section on Yearly Feasts, followed by a final section covering Feasts of the Lord and Feasts of the Saints.

In all of these selections (and there are many, covering more than 40 years), Father Rahner shows pastoral care for those to whom he is speaking. Some selections taken from retreats for fellow priests are a bit more abstruse, perhaps, but most of the selections use simple language to bring out the treasures of the Church Year.

In Matthew 13:52 (New American Bible translation) is the verse, “And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”" I feel that Father Rahner did just that; in his preaching of these homilies and meditations he judiciously brought forth treasure that was old and new, suitable for his audience; and that I have been made a better Christian for having read these sermons and homilies on the Church Year.

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