By James Martin, SJ
In the danger of gushing too much about a book and then my recommendation falls short for the next reader....
This book was more than I could have hoped for. It was amazing! Deep! Emotional! Funny! Unlike any other book about Jesus I have read. (And I have read a lot.)
Now to backtrack:
I heard an interview with the author, James Martin, on the radio show On Being. Martin is a Jesuit priest. One of the ways he received attention in the public eye was that he was declared the "Chaplain of the Colbert Report" by TV personality, Stephen Colbert. I admit, that peaked my interest about this man.
The radio interview was compelling. I found myself wanting to know more about him and how he lives his faith. That is why I bought this book.
I didn't realize it at the time, but the book is a combination of his reflections traveling the Holy Land while imagining the life of Jesus, both the practical issues Jesus faced in his ministry and the impact of Jesus' life, death and resurrection on us.
It is the perfect combination of personal faith stories and struggles, scholarly insights and travel log. Perfect.
The flow of the book follows Jesus' life: beginning at the Annunciation of Mary and ending with Jesus' Ascension into heaven.
The book is long: 465 pages. Don't let that intimidate you. It is a joy to read. I would not use the word "easy" because as Martin intimately explores parts of Jesus' life and ministry, the reading is difficult. Jesus' life was difficult and we become immersed in that. Martin handles this most beloved subject with joy and grace. With apologies to all the good pastors I have heard preach - this is the best and most beautiful proclamation of the Word I have ever heard!
I highly recommend this book. I know I will come back to it over and over again.