Books by Denis McBride

Impressions of Jesus

Impressions of Jesus

In this book we meet a wide range of characters from the Gospel and share their reflections and reactions to Jesus. In a brilliantly imaginative way we experience Jesus meeting real people in the real world in real human situations. "Denis McBride has an intimate knowledge of the Gospels and the variety of responses that Jesus evoked throughout his ministry. These different responses are recreated through the characters he has chosen and their struggles to make sense of Jesus of Nazareth. 'Impressions of Jesus' is a fascinating little book, scholarly and simple at the same time, and it will enlighten all who read it." Fr Raymond E. Brown SS

Hear An Introduction


A new slant on the life of Jesus
The persons chosen by Father Denis to give impressions of Jesus astounded me. My expectation was the usual: Judas, the Samaritan Woman, Martha. The surprise came in the neighbor of Jesus, the child, the secret agent and a disillusioned disciple. Linked to the personalities were the pictures. They are black and white photographs, clearly not from the first century, but identifiable to this generation. Not only do the words link the Gospel to the present, but the photos are contemporary. How truly marvelous of Denis to name all; the good, the bad and the ugly, when giving impressions of Jesus. In my need to tidy up the Gospel, it never occurred to me to bring in the negative voices, without evaluation, that were surely screaming aloud while Jesus lived. My preference would be to dismiss them, unlike Denis. Father Denis knows both the honorable and the detestable in humanity, just as Jesus did. Denis finds those who appear insignificant persons from the Gospel to inform us about Jesus. When speaking from the perspective of a neighbor of Jesus, Denis speaks of someone not even mentioned in the Gospels. However, Jesus must have had neighbors. In fabricating personalities, the words of the Gospel become real, something that has significance today. Jesus is no longer two dimensional. He becomes like one of us. Jesus is someone with feelings; someone who knows the depth of the human experience, but is not weighed down by it. Despite those that are slow to believe, who never believe, whose faith is shaken, who only want his death, Jesus remains "Love." Jesus is patient, is kind and forgiving. Jesus takes us where we are and if we let him, shows himself in the "breaking of the bread."
Sister Lenore Greene, RSM (USA)

A good Lenten read
Impressions of Jesus puts a new twist on the people in the Gospel who interact with Jesus and by association, a new spin on Jesus himself. Denis McBride chooses the known and unknown in the Gospels to breathe life into the character of Jesus. Some of the people love Jesus unabashedly, other see Jesus as a way to their own gain, while others outwardly dislike or hate Jesus. The personalities chosen by Denis McBride, each give a realistic slant on how Jesus was (is) perceived. Could each of us not find our own emotions, constructive or detrimental, in those figures? Who of us has never doubted Jesus? Never hoped in Jesus? Never been angry at Jesus? Never been confused by Jesus? Never loved Jesus? Most of us will not own up to the negative emotions. Denis McBride lays out all the human emotions without judgment. Can we be as magnanimous for others? For ourselves? This book makes a good Lenten read.
Thelma J. White (USA)

My first introduction to the writer's supurb imaginative writing style. If you are searching to know Jesus more intimately, this book is a must. It incorporates, laughter, good humour, pain, and a jolly good read to encourage the pilgrim to continue walking the journey in faith and a very deep longing to understand the humanity of Jesus and his friends in the gospel stories.
June Mouat

A hand that takes yours
I have just finished reading Fr Denis' two books Praying with Pictures and Impressions of Jesus. What a wonderful collection of different voices! He has a brilliant talent for enlarging your sympathies for people you might never want to be seen dead with. One of my favourite writers is Alan Bennett, and Fr Denis has a similar voice. There is a wonderful quote from The History Boys by Bennet that is applicable to these two books, when Hector says to the boys:

"The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone, even, who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come and taken yours."

Fr Denis has this strange ability to create a fellowship with strangers. The experience of reading him is to be caught in empathy for the most unlikely - and sometimes unlovely - characters. I am unsure how he manages to make a claim on our sympathy, but perhaps this is, somehow, a reflection of the Gospel of Jesus?
Sarah Mackintosh (London)