Q — I notice that not all four gospels agree on everything: the names of apostles, even the institution of the Eucharist is different. What should the person in the pews make of this?

A — The person in the pews should take great delight in the fourfold shape of the Gospel story. Each of the Gospels — in likely chronological order Mark, Matthew, Luke and John — provides a different portrait of our Blessed Lord. Portraits come from artists, and artists see the same person somewhat differently. The Church offers us these four portraits of Our Lord and those connected with him so that, enriched by them, we may be drawn thereby into closer communion with Him.

This multiple enrichment is one of the reasons why the Church focuses on Mark, Matthew and Luke in each year of its three-year lectionary cycle, with John coming into play largely in the Easter Season. So, the “disagreements” in the Gospels represent different insights into the meaning of Jesus, insights that enable us better to understand and to love Him.