Justice is a two-way street, both to the Faithful and from the Faithful.  In Sacred Scripture, when the Faithful pray for justice, they are praying for an end to abuse.  They are praying for that integrity and truth that leads to justice.  This type of prayer is suited for all of the injustices associated with racism, misogyny, and the like.  When prophets call for justice, they often mean justice from the Faithful toward care for the poor and marginalized.  Suitable health care for all suits this twofold sense of justice, both for those of the Faithful who need health care and from those of the Faithful who provide health care, in person or, particularly, through taxes.

 

 

Readings

First Reading                     Isaiah 11:1-10

Responsorial Psalm:          Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17 (cf. 7)

Second Reading:               Romans 15:4-9

Alleluia:                             Luke 3:4, 6

Gospel:                             Matthew 3:1-12

 

Annotated Bibliography

Musings above the solid line draw from material below.  Those uninterested in scholarly and tangential details should stop reading here.  If they do, however, they may miss some interesting details.

 

Isaiah 11:1-10

Personal Notes cites members of the Protestant Revolt in the spirit of Gerald O’Collins, S.J., writing,[1]

 

In fact, by allowing the liturgy to be celebrated in the vernacular, by stressing “the table of God’s word” along with the importance of the homily (no. 52), and by granting to the laity—although restricted to certain circumstances—communion “under both kinds” (no. 55), Vatican II conceded the demands of Martin Luther and other 16th-century Protestant reformers, albeit in the 20th century.  In short, while SC [Sacrosanctum concilium [sic]] did not use explicitly the language of “reform” or “reformation,” what it enacted can and should be described in those terms.

 


 

Isaiah 11

John Mayer (1583-1664), Commentary upon All the Prophets”[2]

The Protestant revolutionary, Mayer writes, “In Isaiah 11, he [Christ] is set forth, as a branch coming out of the stubble of that tree, that is, Jesse the father of David, which is the lowest branch, and not a branch plucked of the top.”  Mayer explains that lowest branch refers to the humanity of Christ.

 

Isaiah 11:1-5

James H. Evans Jr., We have been Believers:  An African American Systematic Theology[3]

Evans implicitly relates the Black experience to Isaiah.

 

The prophet Isaiah speaks of a Messiah descended from David who shall reestablish the reign of justice and peace (Isa. 9:2-7; 11:1-5).  It is noteworthy that continued oppression and travail did not destroy the messianic dream but intensified it.  Indeed, the more evil abounded the more powerful the idea of the Messiah became.  As the actual historical liberation of Israel seemed to recede into the remote provinces of probability, the Messiah became one capable not only of transforming the historical situation of the people, but of transforming history itself.

 

Isaiah 11:1-5

H. G. M. Williamson, review of Rodrigo Franklin De Sousa, Eschatology and Messianism in LXX Isaiah 1—12[4]

Williamson reports,

 

With nearly half the book now surveyed, the results for the three main passages, to which discussion turns next, may be guessed.  Against some “maximalizers,” d.S. finds no evidence of heightened messianism in 7:14-16.  He presents valuable discussions of most of the well-known issues in these verses and indeed in the surrounding passage, and he concludes that they do not reflect any sort of a “conscious, systematic messianic reading.”  The translator represented what he took to be there in the Hebrew (so that there is no anti-messianic move either), and caution prevents us from speculating further.  A similar conclusion arises with regard to 11:1-5 [used here].

 

Isaiah 11:1

Vincent A. Pizzuto, “The Structural Elegance of Mathew 1—2:  A Chiastic Proposal”[5]

Pizzuto argues, “Unlike the other prophetic citations in Matthew 1—2, “he will be called a Nazorean . . . ” is found neither in any OT text nor in any known apocryphal literature.”  Pizzuto goes on to speculate that there may be a word-play with the Hebrew for Isa 11:1, branch.

 

Isaiah 11:5

Gianni Barbiero, “Psalm 132:  A Prayer of `Solomon’”[6]

The Protestant revolutionary, Barbiero, argues,

 

The “clothing” has, therefore, a metaphorical sense, as is the case for the garments of the messiah in Isa 11:5 [band, belt], and for those of the eschatological Israel in Isa 61:10.  To be “clothed with righteousness” is something decidedly more than putting on the correct vestments for the liturgy!

 

Isaiah 11:9-10

Erik M. Heen, review of James P. Ware, Paul and the Mission of the Church:  Philippians in Ancient Jewish Context[7]

Rather than waiting for converts to come to him, as the Jews were doing, Paul went out and evangelized.

 


 

Isaiah 11:10

Andrew R. Davis, review of Jacob Stromberg, Isaiah after Exile:  The Author of Third Isaiah as Reader and Redactor of the Book[8]

Davis reports that Stromberg

 

is interested to show what new texts the author of Third Isaiah may have composed and added to chaps. 1—55.  More specifically, he argues that these additions—namely . . . 11:10 [the root of Jesse]. . . —reflect the kind of reading and development of earlier Isaianic texts that characterized 56:1-8 and chaps. 65 to 66.

 

Isaiah 11:6

Clifford M. Yeary, Pilgrim People:  A Scriptural Commentary[9]

Yeary argues,

 

Whether the wild beasts are meant to be seen as an additional threat to Jesus during his period of testing, or are presented as a sign of the messianic age he is inaugurating (“The wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, / and the leopard shall lie down with the kid.”  Isa 11:6) isn’t clear.  Either way, it points to Jesus’ special success in circumstances where God’s people had previously failed.

 

Isaiah 11:1

John Mayer, “Commentary upon All the Prophets”[10]

Mayer continues, 

 

. . . as in Isaiah 11:1 and in many other places, where it has been showed [sic] why he was so called, namely for similitude of his springing up out of the house of Jesse.  This house had decayed as the stub of a tree standing long without any shoots, but in the end beyond expectation branching forth.

 


 

Isaiah 11:2

Richard Rohr, Falling Upward:  A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life[11]

Rohr exudes,

 

Wisdom was distinguished from mere knowledge by Isaiah (11:2 [used here]), by Paul at 1 Corinthians 12:8-9), and by Scholastic philosophy, which spoke of analytic intelligence and intuitive or “connatural” intelligence (“like knows like”) as two very different levels of consciousness.  We live in a time when we are finally free to appreciate how right they all were.

 

Isaiah 11:5-9

Fr. Yozefu – B. Ssemakula, The Healing of Families:  How To Pray Effectively for Those Stubborn Personal and Familial Problems[12]

Reflecting on Isaiah 11:5-9 [the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb], Ssemakula writes,

 

 . . . the time of the messiah is the time of restoration, not automatically of course.  We have to be part of the restoration; we have to accept Him and the salvation He brings.  We have to make certain clear choices for Him.  And when that happens, the restoration begins to happen, being accompanied by signs, and no lions will be eating us anymore. . . .

And that will be the redemption of creation, which is one of the Father’s most ardent desires—that nature stops turning against us and that earthquakes and hurricanes stop blowing.

 

Isaiah 11:6

Rudolf Gwalther (1519-1586), “Sermons on Galatians”[13]

The Protestant revolutionary, Gwalther, explains, “What we see here is exactly what Isaiah had predicted about the kingdom of Christ:  `the wolf will lie down with the lamb and the leopard will sleep with the goat, just as the calf and the lion and the cattle will all be together, etc.’”

 

 

Isaiah 11:6-9

Wolfgang Musculus (1497-1563), Commentary on Genesis 6:14-21”[14]

After asking, “What did lions eat on the Ark?” a footnote points out that the Protestant revolutionary, Musculus, omitted quoting Isaiah 11:6-9.

 

Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17 (cf. 7)

Psalm 72:1

F. Gerald Downing, “Justification as Acquittal?  A Critical Examination of Judicial Verdicts in Paul’s Literary and Actual Contexts”[15]

Downing argues,

 

In exilic and postexilic thought, God’s maintenance of well-being often consists explicitly in maintaining the covenant . . . This is to “judge the world with justice” and “try the cause of peoples with equity” . . . divine righteousness . . . is the function delegated by God to the ideal king (Ps 72:1 . . . ), for the assured and shared good of the whole community (and its land) . . . 

 

The language is judicial.  O God, with your judgment endow the king, and with your justice, the king’s son . . . 

 

Psalm 72:1-4

Gianni Barbiero, “Psalm 132:  A Prayer of `Solomon’”[16]

Barbiero argues,

 

What in Psalm 72 [used here] is seen as the fruit of the kingdom of the messiah, is seen in Psalm 132 [not used in the Lectionary] as the fruit of the establishment of the kingdom of God.  There is undoubtedly a different emphasis, but the eschatological dimension is common to the two passages.

 

Ps 72:12-14

Brian Irwin, “Amos 4:1 and the Cows of Bashan on Mount Samaria:  A Reappraisal”[17]

Irwin spells out social reality,

 

In Israel as in all ancient Near Eastern monarchies, the king also played a significant role in ensuring that justice was carried out.  For those individuals in society who fell outside of the protections offered by the patriarchal family unit, life was perilous.  Thus, vulnerable groups such as the widow . . . , the orphan . . . , and the refugee from abroad . . . came under the protection of Yhwh and his agent, the king ( . . . Ps 72:12-14 . . .  [he shall rescue the poor].

 

Psalm 72:12

Clifford M. Yeary, Pilgrim People:  A Scriptural Commentary[18]

Yeary writes of the mysteries of God,

 

The journey Moses is on might be called a self-imposed exile.  He is a wanted criminal in Egypt, as least while the Pharaoh at the time Moses slew the Egyptian [sic] was still alive.  At this point, Moses is not answering a call; he is avoiding capture. . . . God responds to their [Hebrew people] pleas by calling Moses into service as a prophet and liberator of the people, but Moses is very dubious . . . 

 

Romans 15:4-9

Romans 15:4, 7, 9

Philip W. Comfort, New Testament Text and Translation Commentary:  Commentary on the variant readings of the ancient New Testament manuscripts and how they relate to the major English translations[19]

Comfort explains the manuscripts as follows.

 

Romans 15:4

The unusual verb proegafh (“it was written before”) was changed to the ordinary one, egrafh (“it was written”), in B [Vaticanus] and some Old Latin manuscripts, thereby making it the same as the next verb in the verse.  In other manuscripts ( . . . ) egrafh, in the next phrase, was changed to proegrafh to make it conform to the first verb.

A few manuscripts ( . . . ) insert panta (“all”) before eiV thn hmeteran didaskalian egrafh (“was written for our instruction”), producing the rendering, all was written for our instruction.”

 

Some of the Protestant revolutionaries focus on this purpose of Sacred Scripture.  The Lectionary has, was written for our instruction.

 

Romans 15:7

NU [Nestle-Aland]    o XristoV proselabeto umaV

                                    “Christ received you”

                                . . . 

                               NKJVmg RSV NRSV ESV NIV TNIV NJB NAB . . . 

Variant/TR WH        o Xristos proselabeto hnas

                               “Christ received us”

                                . . . 

                               KJV NKJV NASB NEB REB

 

The NU reading has diverse attestation and suits the context (see 15:5-7), where the second person plural pronoun is used).  The lectionary [sic] use of the epistle would have likely prompted a change to the third person plural.  Nonetheless, WH [Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in the Original Greek (1881-1882)] preferred the variant—probably on the basis of B and on the grounds that umaV could be scribal conformity to 15:5-7.  The English versions are split on this issue.

 

Romans 15:9

Several witnesses ( . . . ) add kurie ("LORD") after exomologhsomai soi en eqnewin ("I thank you among the Gentiles”), thereby conforming the text to the Septuagint version of Ps 1:49 (18:49 in English Bible) and 2 Sam 22:50.

 


 

Rom 15:4

Clifford M. Yeary, Pilgrim People:  A Scriptural Commentary[20]

Yeary concludes,

 

Scripture immerses us in the experiences of those who have been called by God.  Both their struggles to be faithful and the consequences of their failures have been carefully recorded.  It is hoped that our examination of these selected passages has conveyed a message of encouragement for pilgrim people today.  As Paul writes to the Romans (15:4) . . . 

 

Romans 15:4

Bruce L. Fields, “A Black Evangelical Response to We have Been Believers[21]

Citing Romans 15:4, that we might have hope, Fields quotes James H. Evans, Jr. “the reality of God is hidden in the experience and history of oppressed and marginalized peoples.”

 

Romans 15:5-9

John David Ramsey, A Precarious Faith:  The Tri-Une Dynamic of the Christian Life[22]

Father John David, my pastor at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Newport News, Virginia, explains.

 

In the first part of chapter [sic] 15 [sic] Paul’s exhortation to this life that encompasses the entire life of Word, worship, and witness is woven together seamlessly . . . The dynamic, embracing the whole history of God’s work in the world through the covenant with Israel and now with finality in Christ, is seen here at its most integrated.  Christ’s presence and the church’s response of worship and witness a harmonious whole. [sic]  “May the God of hope, Paul concludes, “fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (15:13) [sic]

 


 

Romans 15:5

Daniel B. Wallace, With Scripture, Subject, and Greek Word Indexes: Greek Grammar:  Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament[23]

Wallace explains.

 

o qeoV ths upomonhV kai thV paraklhsewV

the God of steadfastness and of encouragement

 

The Lectionary has:

The God of endurance and encouragement

 

Nestle-Aland27 has:

o de qeoV ths upomonhV kai thV paraklhsewV

 

Nestle-Aland27 does not explain the additional de.

 

Neither does Philip W. Comfort.[24]

 

Wallace continues.

 

Although this text might involve two attributive genitives, such would have to be carefully nuanced:  the steadfast and encouraging God (as opposed to encouraged God [which may be how the Lectionary translates]).  Further, if God is encouraging, this implies a verbal idea:  he is the God who produces encouragement in us.  The syntactic parallels between the two genitives thus suggests that thV upomonh thV means “(the God who) produces perseverance in us.”  (What may be significant is the fact that qeoV is used thrice in Romans 15 with a gen. modifier, each time in what appears to be a gen. of product [which produces] construction.)

 

Wallace also associates this verse with an obtainable wish.

 


 

Rom 15:7

F. Gerald Downing, “Justification as Acquittal?  A Critical Examination of Judicial Verdicts in Paul’s Literary and Actual Contexts”[25]

Downing argues, “Though for Paul `all have sinned’ (Rom 3:23), God’s acceptance  and their mutual acceptance (Rom 15:7 [Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God.]) do not have to await a paradoxical verdict in their favor.”

 

Romans 15:8, 9

Francis Watson, “Mistranslation and the Death of Christ:  Isaiah 53 LXX and Its Pauline Reception”[26]

In a footnote, Watson argues,

 

The hypothesis that peri is original to these three [1 Cor 1:13; Gal 1:4; 1 Thess 5:10] texts would be falsified if it could be shown that either . . .  or . . .  is elsewhere in the habit of replacing uper with peri.  A survey of fifteen Pauline occurrences of uper with genitive, all extant in . . . , gives no evidence of any such tendency (Rom . . . 15:8 . . . ).

 

Romans 15:9

Patrick Regan, “Theology of the Latin Text and Rite”[27]

Regan explains,

 

The anamnetic [reminiscence] acclamation of the people in OM2008 is new to the Roman Rite.  It is addressed to Christ.  While the words of the priest (Mysterium fídei) are interjected before the acclamation, the people now respond to the command to keep remembrance. . . .

In Resurrectionem confitemur, confiteri is associated with the wonderful works of God.  It means internal belief and external confession with praise.  In the Latin of Romans [sic] it is associated with making known the resurrection or lordship of Jesus (Rom 10:9; 14:11; 15:9 [used here]).

 

Luke 3:4, 6

 

Matthew 3:1-12

Matthew 3:1-3

Clifford M. Yeary, Pilgrim People:  A Scriptural Commentary[28]

Yeary points out, “The comfort Isaiah [40:1-4] announces for God’s people is the good news that her exile is at an end. . . .  In [Isaiah 40] verse 3 [sic] Christians hear a familiar voice cry out, it sounds remarkably like that of John the Baptist [Matthew 34:1-3 prepare the way of the LORD].”

 

Matthew 3:2

Stanley E. Porter and Matthew Brook O’Donnell, “Comparative Discourse Analysis as a Tool in Assessing Translations, Using Luke 16:19-31 as a Test Case”[29]

Writing of judgment, Porter and O’Donnell invite a comparison with Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!

 

Matthew 3:10a

Dorothy Jean Weaver, review of Robert R. Beck, Banished Messiah:  Violence and Nonviolence in Matthew’s Story of Jesus[30]

Weaver reminds me of Pope Francis.  Weaver writes,

 

Beck depicts in chap. 6 (“Mentor”) the conflict between John the Baptist with his “retributive” agenda, characterized by the image of “the axe . . . at the root of the trees (3:10a [used here]), and Jesus with his “nonviolent” agenda, characterized by his ministry of healing and “good news” (11:4-5 [to be used next week]). 

 


 

Matt 3:8-10

Reed Lessing, review of Bo H. Lim, The “Way of the Lord” in the Book of Isaiah[31]

Lessing reports that Lim uses Matt 3:8-10 [root of the trees] to argue that “the way of the Lord” in Isaiah is spiritual and eschatological.

 

Matthew 3:11

Philipp Melanchthon (1497-1560), ‘Notes on Paul’s Letter to the Colossians 2:11-12”[32]

The Protestant revolutionary, Melanchthon writes, “Matthew 3:11 should be noted in the context of baptism signifying repentance:  `I baptize to repentance,’”

 

Personal Notes gave up systematically examining the illiterate 2011 Missal November 25, 2012.  On April 7, 2013, with Reading 045C 2nd Sunday of Easter_A Catholic Bible Study 130407, Personal Notes systematically began to incorporate material from A Commentary on the Order of Mass of The Roman Missal:  A New English Translation:  Developed under the Auspices of the Catholic Academy of Liturgy, Edward Foley (ed.) (Collegeville, Minnesota:  Liturgical Press, 2011), used above.  The hope is that this approach will help pray with the new Missal, despite itself.

 

 

For more on sources see the Appendix file.  A complete set of Personal Notes, dating from the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 14, 2002 to the present, is on the web site at www.western-civilization.com/CBQ/Personal%20Notes. 

 

 

The Responsorial Antiphon for this Sunday is Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace forever.[33]

 

In the gobbledygook prayer at Sunday Mass immediately following mention of forgiven sins, the Faithful hearing the 2011 Roman Missal can listen for “heavenly wisdom.”[34]

 

These readings are a call for grace that some Black Baptists call to mind with “And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour” (Luke 1:47).[35] 

 



[1] Theological Studies, Vol. 73, No. 4 (December 2012) 772.

 

[2] in Reformation Commentary on Scripture:  Old Testament XII: Ezekiel, Daniel, (ed.) Carl L. Beckwith (Downers Grove, Illinois:  IVP Academic, An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 2012) 94.

 

[3] second edition (Minneapolis:  Fortress Press, 2012) 91.

 

[4] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 73, No. 1 (January 2011) 119.

 

[5] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 74, No. 4 (September 2012) 726.

 

[6] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 75, No. 2 (April 2013) 247 (source of the quote), 255, 257.

 

[7] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 75, No. 2 (April 2013) 383.

 

[8] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 74, No. 4 (September 2012) 803-804.

 

[9] Collegeville, Minnesota:  Liturgical Press, 2010, 61.

 

[10] in Reformation Commentary on Scripture:  Old Testament XII: Ezekiel, Daniel, (ed.) Carl L. Beckwith (Downers Grove, Illinois:  IVP Academic, An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 2012) 171.

 

[11] San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass:  A Wiley Imprint, 2011, 151.

 

[12] [no publisher or place of publication is listed] www.healingoffamilies.com, 2012, 71.

 

[13] in Reformation Commentary on Scripture:  New Testament X: Galatians, Ephesians, (ed.) Gerald L. Bray (Downers Grove, Illinois:  IVP Academic, An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 2011) 45.

 

[14] in Reformation Commentary on Scripture:  Old Testament I: Genesis I—II, (ed.) John L. Thompson (Downers Grove, Illinois:  IVP Academic, An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 2012) 253.

 

[15] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 74, No. 2 (April 2012) 311.

 

[16] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 75, No. 2 (April  2013) 255.

 

[17] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 74, No. 2 (April 2012) 243.

 

[18] Collegeville, Minnesota:  Liturgical Press, 2010, 23.

 

[19] Carol Stream, Illinois:  Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2008, 469-470.

 

[20] Collegeville, Minnesota:  Liturgical Press, 2010, 73.

 

[21] in James H. Evans [sic] Jr., We have been Believers:  An African American Systematic Theology second edition (Minneapolis:  Fortress Press, 2012), 194.

 

[22] Ph.D. Dissertation, Duke University, 2002, 243.

 

[23] Grand Rapids: Michigan: Zondervan, 1996, 107 (source of the quote), 483.

 

[24] Philip W. Comfort, New Testament Text and Translation Commentary:  Commentary on the variant readings of the ancient New Testament manuscripts and how they relate to the major English translations (Carol Stream, Illinois:  Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2008) 470.

 

[25] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 74, No. 2 (April 2012) 310.

 

[26] in Translating the New Testament:  Text, Translation, Theology, Stanley E. Porter and Mark J. Boda (eds.) (Grand Rapids, Michigan:  William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2009) 243.

 

[27] in A Commentary on the Order of Mass of The Roman Missal:  A New English Translation:  Developed under the Auspices of the Catholic Academy of Liturgy, Edward Foley (ed.) (Collegeville, Minnesota:  Liturgical Press, 2011) 271-272.

 

[28] Collegeville, Minnesota:  Liturgical Press, 2010, 46.

 

[29] in Translating the New Testament:  Text, Translation, Theology, Stanley E. Porter and Mark J. Boda (eds.) (Grand Rapids, Michigan:  William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2009) 180.

 

[30] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 75, No. 1 (January 2013) 139.

 

[31] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 73, No. 1 (January 2011) 126.

 

[32] in Reformation Commentary on Scripture:  New Testament XI:  Philippians, Colossians, Graham Tomlin (ed.) in collaboration with Gregory B. Graybill, general editor, Timothy George, associate General editor, Scott M. Manetsch, Downers Grove, Illinois:  IVP Academic:  An imprint of InterVarsity Press, 2013) 187.

 

[33] National Conference of Catholic Bishops, The Roman Missal Restored by Decree of the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican and Promulgated by Authority of Pope Paul VI: Lectionary for Mass:  For Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America:  Second Typical Edition:  Volume I:  Sundays, Solemnities, Feasts of the Lord and the Saints (Collegeville, Minnesota:  The Liturgical Press, 1988) 19.  Personal Notes refers to this book as the Lectionary.

 

[34] n.a., The Roman Missal:  Renewed by Decree of the Most Holy Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, Promulgated by Authority of Pope Paul VI and Revised at the Direction of Pope John Paul II:  English Translation According to the Third Typical Edition:  For Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America:  Approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Confirmed by the Apostolic See (Washington, DC, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2011) 146.  Personal Notes refers to this book as the Missal.

 

[35] UMI Annual Sunday School Lesson Commentary:  Precepts for Living ®: 2013-2014:  International Sunday School Lessons:  Volume 165:  UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.), a. Okechuku Ogbonnaya, Ph.D., (ed.) (Chicago, IL  60643: UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.), 2013) 168-169.