First Reading:                    Baruch 5:1-9

Responsorial Psalm:          Psalm 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6 (3)

Second Reading:               Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11

Alleluia:                             Luke 3:4, 6

Gospel:                             Luke 3:1-6



Willingness to pay the price for assuming responsibility for reality is the message in these readings.  Willingness to assume responsibility to your fellow human beings is key for addressing such problems as racism and lack of adequate health care.  The relevance is pertinent and political. 

Readings begin with the book named Baruch.  Baruch, realizing who God is, stands before Jerusalem to say— as depressing as things were about 500 B.C.— in divine providence, things were looking up.  Baruch was a disciple and secretary of Jeremiah, Jeremiah whose life was well-known and difficult.  Kevin Knight explains,


After the temple of Jerusalem had been plundered by Nebuchadnezzar (599 B.C.), Baruch wrote under the dictation of Jeremiah the oracle of that great prophet foretelling the return of the Babylonians, and read them at the risk of his life in the hearing of the Jewish people.[1]


Also in the readings for this Sunday, the 126th Psalmist assumes responsibility for reality by asking God to restore fortunes at the same time the Psalmist pays the price of contradiction, proclaiming, “The LORD has done great things for us.”  Philippians assumes responsibility for the need “to discern what is of value,” paying the price of contradiction with “my prayer.”  In the Gospel of Luke, John the Baptist assumes responsibility for the reality of “one crying out in the desert,” willing to pay the price of contradiction, preparing “the way of the Lord.”  The price is the embarrassment, only overcome by Faith, that God is truly in charge.

These lessons notwithstanding, the Church has experienced a major problem assuming responsibility for the scientific realities of the past century.  These Personal Notes reflect the need for accepting that reality especially in the area of Biblical Studies.  Understanding the meaning of Sacred Scripture changes, as God allows his greatness to be revealed by reason.  The Church and the Faithful must be ready to pay the price (like Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden, and Nancy Pelosi) and assume responsibility for reality, by rejecting the siege mentality, rejection of responsibility..


Annotated Bibliography

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


Baruch 5:1-9

The Sinaiticus does not contain the Book of Baruch.[2]


Psalm 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6 (3)

Funerals also uses this Psalm.[3]


The Sinaiticus shows the whole 126th Psalm as having only the six verses the

Lectionary uses. [4]

The Codex Sinaiticus Project

The Codex Sinaiticus Project has five principal activities:

Historical research

In order to clarify the circumstances under which Codex Sinaiticus came to be dispersed between the four institutions holding parts of the manuscript today, the project has undertaken new archival research to identify and study all relevant archival documents. The documents identified through this research are being used as the basis for a new account of the modern history of Codex Sinaiticus, to be agreed by all four partner institutions. The agreed account will be published on this website and in the project's printed publications. It will accompanied by transcripts or digital surrogates of the key archival documents wherever the permission of the owners can be secured.[5]


The conservation strategy for the Codex Sinaiticus Project was set out by its Conservation Working Party. An initial assessment of the manuscript's leaves in all four locations investigated how much work would be required to stabilize them before digitization and to preserve them for the future. A detailed assessment has been carried out in London, Leipzig and St. Petersburg and is underway in St. Catherine's Monastery.


Before Codex Sinaiticus was photographed, the Project needed to make sure that the leaves of the Codex were all in a sufficiently stable state to undergo this process. The task of the Conservation Working Party was to devise a strategy that protected the leaves from any possible harm and preserved them for the future. In order to achieve this, two steps were taken:

  • The physical characteristics of each leaf were analyzed and recorded.
  • Limited conservation treatment was undertaken on those leaves requiring immediate attention.

Physical description

In order to know how much conservation was required, the condition of each of the leaves needed examining and documenting. A method of recording the condition was designed that could be used in all four locations. This conservation assessment (one of unparalleled precision, leading to the creation of a database with over 300 fields) has led to an internationally-agreed terminology for describing and analysing the physical features of a manuscript and, together with the images made available by the project, has produced a model for conservators and scholars around the world to identify these terms.

The detailed examination of the physical characteristics of the manuscript looked at the different inks employed for the text, the way in which the leaves were prepared before the text was written and the types of animal skin from which the parchment was made. An international expert was asked to examine the surface of the parchment under high magnification and give his expert opinion about the type of animal from which the leaves were produced. International co-operation has ensured that the Project has drawn on the experience of the most up-to-date conservation and research projects around the world. Only non-destructive techniques have been used in the analysis and examination of the Codex.

Conservation treatment

Conservation treatment of leaves was strictly limited to what was required to stabilise them for imaging.[6]

Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11

The manuscripts present no difficulties.  Focusing on discernment in verse 10, the eclectic and Sinaitic Greek are the same.  The meaning is to distinguish by testing or approve after testing.[7]  Discernment, then, can be about paying the price for accepting responsibility for reality.


Phil 1:10

Alan C. Mitchell, review of Chris VanLandingham, Judgment and Justification in Early Judaism and the Apostle Paul[8]

Mitchell faults VanLandingham for not recognizing the difference between being offered and accepting grace from God.  Mitchell observes, “VanLandingham  believes that the topic of behavior in ... Philippians 1:10 and 2:15 regarding the Day of the Lord concerns what is moral and ethical rather than any forensic sense of a judicial pronouncement on God’s part.”  The problem of grace, which VanLandingham confronts, is a problem of assuming responsibility for reality and paying the price.


Phil 1:11

Jerome H. Neyrey, S.J., “Lost in Translation: Did It Matter If Christians `Thanked’ God or `Gave God Glory’?,”[9]

Neyrey likes to join thanking and glorifying God.  Neyrey translates Philippians 1:11 is “for the glory and praise of God,” is ”to express one’s admiration for or approval of a person: praise, approval, recognition.


Luke 3:4, 6


Luke 3:1-6

Comparing the eclectic with the Sinaitic Greek, the eclectic uses capital letters for names; the Sinaitic does not.  There is also a minor difference in the second word of verse 1, so minor that the eclectic Greek does not even note the difference exists.[10]


Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland, The Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism, 2nd ed., Erroll F. Rhodes, tr. [11]

The Biblioteca Nazionale in Naples, Italy, has an Eighth Century manuscript with these verses.  Formerly Damascus: Kubbet el Chazne has a Ninth Century manuscript with Luke 3:1-2, and 5.


Luke 3:1

Paul Lawrence, The IVP Atlas of Bible History[12]

Tetrarch:  Lawrence provides a map showing how Herod the Great divided his kingdom.  Lawrence is concerned with where Jesus lived.  Lawrence also takes care in developing when Jesus lived.  The Gospels require historians to take responsibility and pay the price of acknowledging the life of Jesus.


Luke 3:4

Jon Sobrino, S.J., “Jesus of Galilee from the Salvadoran Context: Compassion, Hope, and Following the Light of the Cross”[13]

This is the article bringing to attention the need to both assume responsibility for reality and pay the price for that assumption.  Luke 3:4 contains the phrase, “you will be named by God forever.” Taking responsibility for that naming reality, costs a price.


Luke 3:4-6

Charles H. Talbert, review of Michael E. Fuller, The Restoration of Israel: Israel's Re-gathering and the Fate of the Nations in Early Jewish Literature and Luke-Acts[14]

Talbert does not find Fuller convincing.  Talbert sets out, “It is especially significant, I  think, that the use of Isa 40:3-5 in Luke 3:4-6 [used here] to characterize the Baptist’s ministry as announcing the restoration of Israel, when set in the context of Luke 3, depicts the restoration as bearing fruits that befit repentance.”  That sense of repentance seems appropriate for not assuming responsibility for reality—and paying the subsequent price.



For more on sources see the Appendix file. Personal Notes are on the web site at


[1] Kevin Knight, “Baruch,”  (accessed September 27, 2009).


[2]  (accessed September 27, 2009.)


[3] .N.a., International Commission on English in the Liturgy: A Joint Commission of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences, The Roman Ritual: Revised by Decree of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and published by Authority of Pope Paul IV: Order of Christian Funerals: Including Appendix 2: Cremation: Approved for use in the Dioceses of the United States of America by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and Confirmed by the Apostolic See (New Jersey: Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1998) 290. Antiphons and Psalms, 16 Antiphons and Psalms   1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6 (3).


[4]  (accessed August 4, 2009). Psalm 126 in the Lectionary is Psalm 125 in the Sinaiticus.  Psalm 128 in the Lectionary is Psalm 127 in the Sinaiticus.


[5]  (accessed September 27, 2009).


[7] Max Zerwick, S.J. and Mary Grosvenor, A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament unabridged, 5th, revised edition (Roma: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico 1996) 592.


[8] Theological Studies, Vol. 69, No. 3(September 2008) 683.


[9] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 1 (January 2009) 9.


[11] Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989, 121, 123.


[12] Downers Grove, Illinois, InterVarsity Press, 2006, 131, 138.


[13] Theological Studies, Vol. 70, No. 2 (June 2009) 451456.


[14] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 3 (July 2007) 580.