AND THE GOSPEL:
ulian of Norwich fills her
text with direct quotations from the Hebrew Scriptures, the
Greek Testament. But her final version, the 1413 Short Text of
the Amherst Manuscript had to have most of these passages
excised as translations of the Bible into the vernacular came
to be forbidden at the beginning of the fifteenth century in
England, though they had been gloriously carried out with Caedmon's verse , and the Lindisfarne Gospels . At the
Reformation, Protestants had the Bible, Catholics, the Mass.
Then, with the Second Vatican Council, Catholic laity could
again, after centuries, study the Bible in our own languages.
Meanwhile, Anglicans, who before followed Luther's precepts
and who had required Greek and Hebrew for priestly Ordination,
gave up that learning. Today, Catholic laity have both Gospel
and Mass. And the Doctor of the Church, Sainte Thérèse of
Lisieux, recommending that priests read the Bible in its
Emilio Greco, Resurrezione
, on cover of Evangeliario of Fiesole Cathedral and of
our Bishop's gift of the Gospel to us. The Angel lifts the
tomb lid, showing it empty to the three Holy Women who will
next give the Good News, the Evangel, to the Disciples,
Apostles and Evangelists. Yesterday I saw our Bishop in our
Cathedral hold this Gospel high, then slowly bless us with it,
in celebration of the Jubilee.
More than all other texts we may read, it is in the Gospel that Christ is present, in our midst, then on the shores of Galilee, on dusty roads going up to Jerusalem, now in everyone of us, drawing all of us , old and young, free and slave, men and women and children, to Him.
Our Bishop of Fiesole, + Luciano Giovannetti, for whom we pray at every Mass, is celebrating the Jubilee of 2000 with his entire Diocese by giving to each and every one of our households a most beautiful Gospel. Teams of lay Gospelers go out, knocking on every door, bringing this Gospel, the Bishop's Pastoral Letter, and praying and reading with us. Within red paper back covers, illustrated with a bronze from the Cathedral's Gospel of the Holy Women at the Tomb, on fine Bible paper, in beautiful large type, with scholarly notes and maps, and further illustrated by paintings, frescoes, and crucifixes present in Fiesole, and especially its Cathedral, are the Four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. This was put together with much love, the love of God and neighbour, expressed with all one's heart, mind and strength.
The humble, paper-back Gospel opens to this glory. It opens to the Epiphany by the Master of the Fiesole Epiphany, no less, a painting in the church at San Francesco on the very top of Fiesole's citadel, celebrating St Francis' celebrating the Nativity at Greccio on a similar crag. Above the kings and their wealth and power are Saints Francis and John the Baptist in their poverty and renunciation of such wealth and power.
Duemila anni fa l'Eterno e` entrato nella storia degli uomini/
Two thousand years ago Eternity entered into Humanity's world of time
The Master of the Fiesole
Epiphany, San Francesco, Fiesole
And this is our Bishop's handwritten Letter to us:
IL VESCOVO DI FIESOLE
con questa lettera mi permetto bussare discretamente alla porta della vostra casa per rivolgervi il mio affettuoso saluto e l'invito ad accogliere con gioia il Vangelo -
Alla vigilia del 2000 mediante questo piccolo e prezioso libro e` Gesu` che vi avvicina alla vostra casa e ripete "Ecco sto alla porta e busso - Se qualcuno ascolta la mia voce e mi apre la porta, cenero` con lui ed egli con me" (Ap. 3,20)
Vi auguro percio` che la lettura del Vangelo sia fonte per la vostra famiglia di gioia, serenita` e amore -
+ Luciano vescovo
Fiesole 4 ottobre 1999
St Matthew and his Angel, Fiesole Cathedral
St Mark and his Lion, Fiesole Cathedral
THE BISHOP OF FIESOLE
Allow me to knock on the door of your house quietly with this letter to bring to you my affectionate greeting and invite you to accept with joy this Gospel.
On the Eve of 2000 may this little and precious book be Jesus Himself drawing near to your house and repeating, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock . The one who hears my voice and opens the door to me, I will dine with him and he with me" (Apocalypse 3.20).
In the desire that the reading of the Gospel be for your family a source of joy, serenity and love.
I bless you,
+ Luciano, Bishop
Fiesole, 4 October 1999
St Luke and his Ox, Fiesole Cathedral
St John and his Eagle, Fiesole Cathedral
And, just yesterday, the Cathedral of Fiesole's great doors were opened with the Episcopal Procession, the Bishop with the Evangel, and he preached to us on the Door as Christ, and that Door as ourselves, each one of us permitting Christ to come within.
While all about us were candles and great swags of greenery and lemons, Della Robbia garlands, and the perfume of the censed Gospel.
And I thought how Simone
Martini's diptych, of Christ at Birth and Death, in our
humanity is ourselves, it opening like a book, like a door.
Into the Shekinah, into his
presence, our name engraved there on the palms of his hands.
Lindisfarne Gospels' Manuscript , opening of Luke's Gospel, Old English interlinear gloss, in which Luke writes to Theophilus, 'Friend of God ', telling him that many have sought to narrate the Life of Christ as their Gospel ministry, and he is assembling and organizing these accounts after verifying them. See also Maria Makepeace, Codex Amiatinus, related to Lindisfarne, now in the Laurentian Library, Florence. By Permission of The British Library, Lindisfarne Gospels, St Luke's Gospel, MS Cotton Nero D.IV.fol 139.
For the Daily Reading of the Gospel it is possible to contemplate in lectio divina upon those passages read at Mass/Holy Communion, the same passages generally being read by Catholics and Protestants. These may be found at The Church's Liturgy in its Missal section.