First Reading:                    Zephaniah 3:14-18 a

Responsorial Psalm:          Isaiah 12:2-3, 4, 5-6 (6)

Second Reading:               Philippians 4:4-7

Alleluia:                             Isaiah 61:1 (cited in Luke 4:18)

Gospel:                             Luke 4:10-18



This Sunday is about the thrill of having God dwell in the souls of the Faithful.  [1]This Sunday is about the fires of divine love spreading from human to human, from generation to generation.  Zephaniah is about anticipating the arrival of the Messiah in the hearts of the Faithful.  Shout for joy, O daughter Zion!  Isaiah 12:6, the antiphon, has a similar approach, Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.  Philippians tells the Faithful, Rejoice in the Lord always.  The Alleluia verse, Isaiah 61:1, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.  Finally, the Gospel, reports that John the Baptist preached good news to the people.

The real life context for rejoicing is human crises and tragedy, as exemplified and illustrated by the human consequences found on the Weather Channel.  Eventually, everyone confronts a variety of crises.  Coping frequently involves a change in identity.  The human condition requires accepting change without self-destructing.  Pages 351 through 386 in Mark A. Yarhouse and James Sellers are about “Attending to Families in Crisis Subsequent to Trauma or Loss.”[2]  The thrill of having God dwell in the souls of the Faithful, becomes only a consolation in times of crisis.  The prayer for this Sunday has to be for a realization of the hymn, “Jesus loves us, yes he does.”



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.


Zephaniah 3:14-18 a

It looks to me as if the Sinaiticus Greek has the festivals with verse 17,[3] rather than the 18 in the Lectionary documentation.  Because the New Jerusalem Bible seems to agree with the Lectionary versification, the problem may not be sloppy scholarship.  I do not know what to make of the difference.


Isaiah 12:2-3, 4, 5-6 (6)

Where the Lectionary has for great in your midst, the Sinaiticus Greek carries the causal sense, because.  In other words, Shout with exultation, because, God is present.  The presence of God is a reason (rather than a for obligation) to rejoice.[4]


Codex Sinaiticus[5]


One of the core undertakings of the project was to capture each page of Codex Sinaiticus (abbreviated Sinaiticus in these Personal Notes) as a high-quality digital image.  Each image offers a substitute for the real manuscript leaf.  Careful imaging of Codex Sinaiticus therefore provides a life-like view of the pages and allows, for the first time, worldwide access to the manuscript.

The digital photography of Codex Sinaiticus had to establish the best practice, taking into account that

  1. the leaves could not travel and had to be photographed at four different venues with different equipment;
  2. the writing on the leaves had to be readable on the digital images;
  3. the natural appearance of the parchment and ink had to be faithfully reproduced.

Technical standards

To make sure that the images produced were consistent, common standards and imaging practices were established across all venues by the Technical Standards Working Party.  The recommendations included equipment (cameras, camera software, lighting, lenses, etc.) and processes (setup, color profiling, etc.).


When choosing the best lighting conditions for digitizing Codex Sinaiticus, two aspects had to be carefully balanced.  The writing on the leaves had to be readable on the digital images, to allow researchers to read and analyze it.  At the same time, the natural appearance of the parchment and ink had to be faithfully reproduced, to allow the appreciation of the physical traits of Codex Sinaiticus.

Different angles and levels of intensity were tested for the lighting, as the same set-up had to be used for every page.  Since each page reflected the light at different angles, owing to the natural undulation of the parchment, a compromise had to be found to minimize this effect.  Best results were achieved when the pages were lit at an angle of 45 degrees on low intensity without any backlighting.

The parchment leaves of Codex Sinaiticus feature many marks on its surface - pricking holes, ruling indentations, as well as many other natural details - which are not easily visible with the 45 degree lighting directed from both sides of the page.  The decision was therefore made to digitize each page twice, the second time with a light source at a low angle from a top corner.  These are the 'raking light' images which optimize the view of the physical features of the parchment.


The leaves of Codex Sinaiticus are so thin that the text from the other side of the page can show through when photographed.  An appropriate background had to be used to lessen the show-through and at the same time to keep as true as possible to the color of the parchment.

Tests showed that white background paper allowed a relatively faithful representation of the parchment color.  The text, however, was often very hard to read because of the show-through from the text on the other side of the leaf.  Black background paper, on the other hand, reduced the show-through considerably in tests and made the text more readable.  The page, however, appeared too dark and the colors were not represented faithfully.

Description: Text here

Description: Text here

Test image of a Codex Sinaiticus page on a white background.

Test image of a Codex Sinaiticus page on a black background.

Through testing, the decision was made to opt for a compromise color.  A light brown background was chosen that was close enough to the color of the parchment to give a sense of its warmth, while reducing the show-through to a point where it rarely makes reading the page difficult.


See a list of the digitization experts in the Codex Sinaiticus Project.


Philippians 4:4-7


Isaiah 61:1 (cited in Luke 4:18)

The Lectionary does not use Luke 4:18.  The Lectionary uses Isaiah 61:1 for the Third Sunday of Advent in Cycle B.  In Cycle B, the verse is more complete, in agreement with the Sinaiticus.[6]


Luke 3:10-18

The Sinaiticus notes a difficulty in verse 17 that I do not understand.  For verse 17, the Sinaiticus and Nestle-Aland agree, except that the letter nu is dropped inconsequentially in two words.[7]


Luke 3:10-18

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. [8]

The Alands write, “The Bodmer papyri, which became known in the 1950s, contain ... in P75 the gospels of Luke (from Luke 3:10 with a few lacunae) ...”  The Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris has a Third Century papyrus manuscript with Luke 3:8—4:2.  The Bibliotheca Bodmeriana in Cologny has a Third Century papyrus mentioned above.  The Alands note that the Curetonian Syriac lacks ...  Luke 1:1—2:48; 3:16—7:33.


 Luke 3:11

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, United States Catholic Catechism for Adults[9]

The Bishops use Luke 3:11 in Chapter 31, “Seventh Commandment: Do Not Steal—Act Justly.”  “Whoever has two cloaks should share ... “


Luke 3:12

Robert Doran, "The Pharisee and the Tax Collector: An Agonistic Story"[10]

Doran argues that Luke always portrays tax collectors in a positive light; but not the Pharisees.  Even tax collectors came to be baptized.  The message is not to be overly self-righteous.



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



[2] Mark A. Yarhouse and James Sellers, “Family Therapies:  A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal” (2009 manuscript in press).

[5]  (accessed October 11, 2009).  I changed British into United States spelling, e.g. s to z, our to or.  I changed the font to Arial 12.


[8] Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989, 57, 96, 101, 250.


[9] Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2006, 425.


[10] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 2 (April 2007) 268.