The Good News here is understood to be the revelation of Godself to human beings through Scripture. It is about God’s relationship with us, and our relationship with God. It is fundamentally and joyfully… Good! The story of Jesus and the first disciples is told in the New Testament. The revelation of God to the Hebrew people, which forms the foundation for Jesus’ life and teachings, is told in the Old Testament. The Bible is part of everybody’s story. The theologian Karl Rahner wrote that each person’s Baptism is a page from the history of Jesus’ life(1). However, a knowledge of Scripture is important for all young people, not only those committed to the Catholic faith. The Jewish and Christian scriptures are foundational documents for many cultures and find their expression in art, music, literature and law.
Young people need to develop familiarity with the stories and messages of the scriptures, but also need to develop knowledge and skills to make sense of
what they read. The NZ Catholic Bishops write that “Authentic Gospel and moral values are ‘seeds of the word’ which ‘are sown in human society and diverse cultures’(2)“. At appropriate age levels it is important that the young people have informed understanding of the origins and formation of the texts. Young people need to gain some understanding of the world and traditions from which the scriptures emerged, but at the same time understand how they are relevant and speak to their own lives now.
(1). Karl Rahner. (1966). Watch and pray with me. New York: The crossroad Publishing Company. pp. 27-28.
(2). NZCBC. (2012). Sharing the Gospel Today: The Catechetical Directory for Aotearoa New Zealand. p. 38.
Young people will develop an understanding of the Bible as a library of books with a range of origins, authorship, genre, style and purpose. They will be able to retell many of the narratives and concepts, and will develop an understanding of the significance of these texts, as part of God’s revelation, within the Catholic Tradition and for human society today.
The Hebrew Bible informed Jesus’ worldview and is the whakapapa from which the New Testament grew. This includes the deuterocanonical books. Young people need to have a knowledge of these formative histories, stories and revelation.
The New Testament records the life, teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus in the Gospels and the development of the early Church and Christian theology in Acts, the Letters and Revelation. Young people need to understand these texts as the foundation of Christianity speaking to them today.
The Sacred Scripture came into being in Jewish and Christian communities through the inspiration of God. Two thousand years of study and reflection on this revelation have informed Catholic Tradition. It is important for young people to understand sacred texts in terms of what the Church says and does, especially in terms of addressing timeless religious and social issues such as poverty and peace. As the Church continues to reflect on Scripture she seeks and finds fresh ways to respond and teach on new issues that arise through human experience.