The Long Hall, Trinity College Library, Dublin,
Designed by Colonel Thomas de Burgh (1670-1730),
Constructed between 1712-1732
© Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

The Long Hall, Trinity College Library, Dublin,
Designed by Colonel Thomas de Burgh (1670-1730),
Constructed between 1712-1732
© Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

Gospel of 18 May 2024

If all were written down, the world would not hold all the books

John 21:20-25

Peter turned and saw the disciple Jesus loved following them – the one who had leaned on his breast at the supper and had said to him, ‘Lord, who is it that will betray you?’ Seeing him, Peter said to Jesus, ‘What about him, Lord?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I want him to stay behind till I come, what does it matter to you? You are to follow me.’ The rumour then went out among the brothers that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus had not said to Peter, ‘He will not die’, but, ‘If I want him to stay behind till I come.’

This disciple is the one who vouches for these things and has written them down, and we know that his testimony is true.

There were many other things that Jesus did; if all were written down, the world itself, I suppose, would not hold all the books that would have to be written.

Reflection on the library

Today’s Gospel reading ends with ‘There were many other things that Jesus did; if all were written down, the world itself, I suppose, would not hold all the books that would have to be written’. What beautiful words. Considering that only a fraction of Jesus' actions and teachings were documented by the Gospel writers, it is worth reflecting on the depth and breadth of his life and ministry. Our reading prompts us to appreciate the invaluable gift we've received through the written accounts passed down to us. These scriptural writings provide sufficient guidance for our faith journey; perhaps additional details would have been superfluous. Therefore every word holds significance, urging us not to overlook or disregard anything to which they bear witness.

Reflecting on John's words about the vastness of Jesus' actions and teachings, I couldn't help but think of the world's most magnificent libraries. Trinity College in Dublin stands out as a remarkable example. Having often visited the library, I always felt an overwhelming sense of privilege amidst its beauty and countless volumes. Christianity has long cherished its sacred texts and literature, with libraries playing a pivotal role in preserving and disseminating these writings. Librarians, dedicated to safeguarding and sharing these treasures, have been integral to passing down our faith through the ages. In today's digital age, there's a risk that the importance of Christian librarianship may diminish. However, we must recognise and uphold their vital mission, celebrating their unwavering devotion help pass down the faith to future generations.

The Long Hall at the library of Trinity College in Dublin stands as a testament to architectural grandeur at the service of scholarly excellence. With its majestic arched ceiling and rows upon rows of ancient books and manuscripts, the hall exudes a sense of timeless wisdom and reverence for knowledge. The intricate woodwork and towering bookcases are imposing. Aside from its stunning architecture, this library is best known for housing the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript in Latin, made around 800 AD and containing the four Gospels. The oldest library building at Trinity was designed by Thomas Burgh and took 20 years to complete, with work commencing in 1712. The Long Room, which is 65 metres long (213 ft), still houses over 200,000 books. One of six copyright libraries in the UK and Ireland, Trinity College library stores a copy of every book printed in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

As an interesting tradition outlined in the college's constitution, students were once entitled to request a glass of wine during their exams. I am not sure whether such requests would still be granted?!

Whatever the cost of paying our librarians and looking after our libraries, the price is cheap compared to the price of an ignorant nation!

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Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
1 month ago

Nobody has picked up on one of the oddest exchanges between Jesus and Peter, record ed and supposedly confirmed by John. I wonder why? I find Our Lord’s ‘What’s it to you?’ comments very brusque..

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago

Yes – what are we to make of this? A mystery…

Thimas@
Member
Thimas@
1 month ago

I find it perplexing too. I think the gist is Jesus (John is suggesting) is saying to Peter what does it matter to you what happens to him, you are following me .
I thought this strange because earlier Jesus had been praying that his disciples were looked after, but this was only an spiritual sense. In the end it was a very difficult life projected for the disciples like Peter. Jesus said they would be glorified but clearly they had a tough time in this life. It does seem strange way to project your divinity that all almost the people that follow you have to have such a gruesome end. ( In this world). What is the message that violent deaths are okay ? I don’t really get it.

Andy Bocanegra
Member
Andy Bocanegra
1 month ago

I am so much in my element when I am in a library. Although I do have a Kindle. I still enjoy reading from an actual book.

Pk
Member
Pk
1 month ago

Absolutely beautiful! To be able to walk in this library must be quite an experience. Our library is being remodeled. No more tall bookcases, they want to keep an eye on what’s going on. Sad state of our society. Who knows, maybe I will make it to Europe one day, would love to see this. Hope you all have a lovely weekend.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago
Reply to  Pk

Happy weekend preacher’s kid!!
Lol!

Alys Blakeway
Member
Alys Blakeway
1 month ago
Reply to  Pk

Actually there is one benefit to low bookcases, they are better for wheelchair users.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago

Have the contents of the library been culled yet to remove evidence of colonialism, racism, sexism, eurocentrism, condecension to other Europeans, anglo-centrism, protestant triumphalism, anti-catholicism, antisemitism and every other offensive ‘ism’!

Lol! 😂

Graham B.
Member
Graham B.
1 month ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Love your comment!

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham B.

Thanks – we’re living in a nad era!

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Capitalism!?

Monica Doyle
Member
Monica Doyle
1 month ago

Thank God for libraries, librarians, books and writers everywhere🙏

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago

My mind is like an empty library!

John Hobbs
Member
John Hobbs
1 month ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Empty of people or books? If the latter, it’s just a room!

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hobbs

That was a meaningless comment (mine was)!

A party without alcohol is just a meeting!

Evelina
Member
Evelina
1 month ago

And every person is like a book, in which we read about the works of our Lord. Let us let Him write in us freely, according to His Will, like Our Lady did.

Silvia Moiron
Member
Silvia Moiron
1 month ago
Reply to  Evelina

Hermoso…

Last edited 1 month ago by Silvia Moiron
Alys Blakeway
Member
Alys Blakeway
1 month ago

Go librarians! And thank you for your words Fr Patrick. I believe that our vocation is to help Jesus to help us to live life more abundantly.

Janey M
Member
Janey M
1 month ago

I do so agree with Fr Patrick in today’s reflection. The “art” of reading is a necessary craft.

Reading material has changed. I can compare different translations of Bible passages by laying them side by side on my tablet screen. So many people read e books. I have learnt the value of second hand books, I keep a number of “favourites” I read over and over again. I recycle my old books. I have books handed down to me which are treasured.

The Gospels aren’t supposed to be biographical. They are inspired by the Holy Spirit and their layers are infinite. When I read a Bible passage publicly I pray that the Holy Spirit will enable me to read in such a way that the listeners can hear the words individually as received through the Spirit relevant to them.

There has been concern expressed by some CA contributors that the Gospels have been worded to suit the narrative (does that make sense). True to some extent as they have been written to encourage a newly forming church, fledgling Christians still known as “Followers of the Way”. I’m not eloquent enough to counter this, I do know I have had a number of spiritual experiences and have encountered Christ in person once. I know He is present in the Sacraments, but can’t prove that.

It is Faith and it hold my fragmented psyche together through troubling times. Thank God for the gift of reading.

Silvia Moiron
Member
Silvia Moiron
1 month ago
Reply to  Janey M

Vivan los ‘ buenos ‘ libros 📚

Last edited 1 month ago by Silvia Moiron
John Hobbs
Member
John Hobbs
1 month ago

My sister lives in Dublin and my nephew went to Trinity. We’ve taken the kids there a few times and they loved the Harry Potter feel of the library, a bit like Gringott’s Bank or the wand shop. If only religion was attractive to children as that kind of fiction?

Silvia Moiron
Member
Silvia Moiron
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hobbs

Señor, danos la Sabiduría, para transmitirles la fe a los niños 🙏🕊️💫

Last edited 1 month ago by Silvia Moiron

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