Ponder: Contemplative Bible Study is a three-volume series designed to accompany hearers and preachers of the Word as they pray with and ponder the Sunday readings throughout the liturgical year. The Sunday readings are provided, along with brief commentary, engaging reflections, and clear guidance on how to use this resource alone or with a group. This volume guides readers through the Year C lectionary.
Mahri Leonard-Fleckman is assistant professor of Hebrew Bible in the Religious Studies Department at the College of the Holy Cross. She is a contributor to Give Us This Day (Liturgical Press), the co-author of The Book of Ruth in the Wisdom Commentary Series (Liturgical Press), and the author of The House of David: Between Political Formation and Literary Revision (Fortress Press). Leonard-Fleckman has years of experience as a Bible study facilitator at her home parish in Worcester, Massachusetts.
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"Here is an outstanding resource for studying the Sunday lectionary and, more importantly, for learning how to pray with the lectionary."
Frank J. Matera, Professor Emeritus, The Catholic University of America
"A biblical scholar accepts an invitation to lead a weekly study of the Sunday Scriptures in an active and gritty downtown parish. Mahri Leonard-Fleckman is the "expert" but, as it turns out, so are the diverse participants from the neighborhood who share the Word of God and their lives with one another. Ponder: Contemplative Bible Study is the fruit of these encounters. This is a terrific resource for preachers and catechists, as well as for personally reflecting on and praying with the Sunday Scriptures."
Jude Siciliano, OP, Preacher and editor, PreacherExchange.com
"This volume of Ponder captures the heart of Pope Francis’ exhortation that missionary disciples should contemplate their communities as well as the Scriptures in searching for how God is speaking today. Biblical scholar Mahri Leonard-Fleckman provides valuable background and context as well as a process that promotes communal and personal reflection on the Lectionary readings for Year C. Ponder is a marvelous resource not only for preachers and Bible study groups but for all who long to be nourished by the Word of life."
Mary Catherine Hilkert, OP, Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame, Author of Naming Grace: Preaching and the Sacramental Imagination
"Catholic laity have not always felt they had permission to interpret biblical texts. In Ponder, Mahri Leonard Fleckman does better than grant permission: she empowers. Joining traditional Catholic spiritual practices of lectio divina and Ignatian contemplation with the fruits of modern critical biblical scholarship, Leonard-Fleckman equips readers with background knowledge and practical tools for their own deep engagement with the readings proclaimed at Mass each Sunday. Through contemplative practice grounded in dialogue and community, she invites readers to engage the scriptures with mind and heart, curiosity and compassion."
Anathea Portier-Young, Associate Professor of Old Testament, Duke Divinity School
"Lectio divina as a form of individual and communal prayer with the Scriptures has grown in popularity. This book will help those who wish to combine prayer based on the Sunday Scriptures with some study of the texts. Both prayer groups and individuals will welcome this book as they center their prayer on the Scriptures."
The Bible Today
"Mahri Leonard-Fleckman sets an incredibly rich table for us to ponder the Sunday Scriptures, giving us a potent mix of biblical scholarship, prayer, and practical advice. She invites individuals and groups to sink deeply into the readings, to go beyond a surface study of the Scriptures in order to let them take flesh in their own lives and the lives of their communities. Her thoughtful instructions for group lectio divina challenge us to hear the many ways the texts open up to our sisters and brothers, inviting us into a world of bracing conversations."
Michelle Francl-Donnay, Professor of Chemistry at Bryn Mawr College, Author of Not by Bread Alone: Daily Reflections for Lent 2020
"I strongly recommend Ponder not only for preachers but for all Christians regularly engaging the appointed scriptural texts in their Lord’s Day worship. Just as the author gracefully bridges serious scholarship with personal prayer in the context of a community of faith, so readers may learn to integrate heart and head in the encounter with God’s Word through attention to the process and insights of Ponder."
Jan Michael Joncas, Artist in Residence and Research Fellow in Catholic Studies, University of St. Thomas