Father Tony Shonis, a retired priest in the Diocese of Owensboro, brought his insights on the infancy narratives to the Ursuline Sisters on Dec. 6, 2019.
Father Shonis, the former chaplain for Mount Saint Joseph, will speak during the first three Fridays of Advent about passages from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke pertaining to the birth of Jesus.
Despite the story of Jesus’ birth taking up a small portion of the Gospels – just the first two chapters of Matthew and Luke, not at all in Mark and John – Father Shonis said the infancy narratives capture the public’s imagination more than the recounting of Jesus’ miracles.
“Most of the Gospel is written in episodes,” he said. “Jesus arrived in a town, performed miracles and moved on to the next town. We never know what happens to the people who received the miracle.”
In the infancy narratives and the Passion, there is character development and a complete story is told, which makes it more memorable, he said. “Even if you know little about Jesus, you know he was born in Bethlehem,” Father Shonis said.
The goal for his presentation to the sisters was to be able to read the infancy narratives not as a “sweet story,” but as Gospel.