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Review by Dr Pravin Thevathasan

St Luke's Gospel
A Commentary for Believers
by Thomas Crean, O.P.
Arouca Press

This is a clear and accessible commentary on the Gospel of Saint Luke. It is also completely Catholic. I have read so many so-called Catholic commentaries that cast doubt on the infancy narratives, for example. Not so Father Crean.

The author notes that when St Zachary entered the Holy Place in the Temple, the angel was at the right side of the gold altar. The right signifies gladness because "the long wait of the Jewish people for the messiah is coming to its end."

Why did Gabriel say that John the Baptist will come in the spirit of Elias?

The author notes that this is because John, like Elias, will admonish a king, fast and reveal to his people the true God.
The author comments that Mary, who was certainly married to Joseph at the time of the Annunciation, might have been living in the same house as Joseph and so no imputation would be cast upon her once she had conceived.

Unlike some modern scripture scholars, the author truly believes that an angel appeared to Mary. There was no need for him to "fear not" as soon as he appeared because Mary was living in perfect union with God. The "fear not" of the angel was only said once the message had been related. The angel departs "quietly, as befits a servant."

Mary did not doubt the words of Gabriel and she was therefore rewarded with a second proof: her cousin Elizabeth had conceived.

In the Magnificat, Mary calls God her saviour at the moment of her conception, the Holy Spirit overshadowed her and so she did not inherit the sin of Adam. That was the way she was saved. The Magnificat is frequently read as a cry of liberation from political oppression. The author reminds us that its primary purpose is supernatural: the scattered proud and the mighty that God puts down are devils.

In the Old Testament, God promises temporary prosperity to the Jews who kept the Law. Not so now, because "wealth is liable to obstruct the higher perfection to which the Gospel calls the faithful."

At the birth of the Saviour, Mary wraps him in swaddling clothes herself. She is not exhausted after giving birth. This "delicately suggests the miraculous and painless character of the birth."

The author has written a spiritual commentary on the Gospel of St Luke that is completely faithful to Catholic Tradition.

Copyright ; Dr Pravin Thevathasan 2022

Version: 25th February 2022

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