I like a lot of books, but most I would not read again. Not that they are bad, but because I have already gleaned from them much of what they have to offer. Very, very few books are so good that I look forward to rereading them. Mass Appeal is one of those books. Jesus-Shock by Peter Kreeft is now added to this very exclusive list! This is the kind of book that you want to buy in quantity and give to everyone you know.
Jesus-Shock explores the reception of our Lord during His life and in modern times. Not just by enemies, but by friendlies – by Christians and specifically Catholics. Author Kreeft packs a lot of punch in every paragraph. I recently read a book that while good, buried the important points under an avalanche of words making them hard to find. This book is the opposite of that. It is very engaging, eloquent, thought-provoking and hard to put down. It includes some good quotes, but is itself eminently quotable.
The book cover gives this good summary:
What was the bitterest controversy of the Protestant Reformation, both between Protestants and Catholics and between different Protestant denominations, the one that had both sides calling the other not just heretics but devils?
Answer: It was not Justification by Faith, the hallmark of the Reformation, even though that question is about nothing less momentous than how to be saved, how to get to Heaven. It was not the relation between religion and politics, even though that was a matter of life or death (literally, on battlefields and at guillotines and hangings) and not just a matter of truth or falsity, or of good or evil. It was not about the sufficiency of the Bible, or the corruption in the Church, or the relation between the Bible and the Church. It was not about the Pope, and the governance of the Church. It was not about Mary or saints or angels or Purgatory. It was not about the Incarnation or the Trinity or the Atonement.
It was about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
Jesus-Shock, in addressing this controversy forcefully and faithfully, shows the reasons why to this day the name of “Jesus” stirs up controversy, even revulsion, in polite society. In the true spirit of ecumenism, it also points the way toward a true rapprochement among His modern-day disciples.
The book is hardbound but small, roughly of Catechism dimensions of 7 x 4.4 inches. It’s 176 pages are divided into 6 chapters: Seven Beginnings, The Data: Jesus-Shock, Jesus-Shock in the Gospels, Its Foundation: Real Presence, What Do We Do Now? and Seven Postscripts. There is also an index and list of biblical references.
I recommend this book for those looking to know Jesus better, for Protestants, for Catholics, for priests and for everybody else. It would make a wonderful Christmas present too.
Why is He history’s greatest divider? Why is He the razor edge of the round world? What does He do to you, to put you on that edge, no matter who you are and no matter what you believe or don’t believe?