As last week, the words for this week are eat and taste, and see.  For both weeks, the readings are similar.  The context for the words is Eucharistic.  What there is for which to be thankful is the LORD in his Eucharistic presence.


Pope John-Paul II’s Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginia Mariae, does not cite any specific Scripture from the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time.  The following section fits no special readings.  Mentioning flavor (below) relates to eat, taste, and see.


Distribution over time


38.      The Rosary can be recited in full every day, and there are those who most laudably do so.  In this way it fills with prayer the days of many a contemplative, or keeps company with the sick and the elderly who have abundant time at their disposal.  Yet it is clear—and this applies all the more if the new series of mysteria lucis is included—that many people will not be able to recite more than a part of the Rosary, according to a certain weekly pattern.  This weekly distribution has the effect of giving the different days of the week a certain spiritual “color,” by analogy with the way in which the Liturgy colors the different seasons of the liturgical year.


According to current practice, Monday and Thursday are dedicated to the “joyful mysteries,” Tuesday and Friday to the “sorrowful mysteries,” and Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday to the “glorious mysteries.”  Where might the “mysteries of light” be inserted?  If we consider that the “glorious mysteries” are said on both Saturday and Sunday, and that Saturday has always had a special Marian flavor, the second weekly meditation on the “joyful mysteries,” mysteries in which Mary’s presence is especially pronounced, could be moved to Saturday.  Thursday would then be free for meditation on the “mysteries of light.”


This indication is not intended to limit a rightful freedom in personal and community prayer, where account needs to be taken of spiritual and pastoral needs and of the occurrence of particular liturgical celebrations which might call for suitable adaptations.  What is really important is that the Rosary should always be seen and experienced as a path of contemplation.  In the Rosary, in a way similar to what takes place in the Liturgy, the Christian week, centered on Sunday, the day of Resurrection, becomes a journey through the mysteries of the life of Christ, and he is revealed in the lives of his disciples as the Lord of time and of history.


Proverbs 9:1-6


This section of Proverbs extols the virtue of Wisdom as a type of banquet of understanding.  In other places, Proverbs sets out Wisdom herself.[1]


verse 2          she has dressed her meat, mixed her wine,

                               yes, she has spread her table.


verse 3          She has sent out her maidens; she calls

                               from the heights out over the city:


Jerome uses ancillas for maidens, the same word Mary used in the Magnificat, the handmaid of the Lord.


verse 4          “Let whoever is simple turn in here;

                               To the one who lacks understanding, she says,


Simple is parvulus in the Latin, carrying the sense of childlike, emotionally and intellectually undeveloped.


verse 5          Come, eat of my food,

                               and drink of the wine I have mixed!


verse 6          Forsake foolishness that you may live;

                               advance in the way of understanding.


Jerome translates foolishness with infantiam, infant-like behavior.  Jerome uses prudentiae, from which is derived prudence, for understanding.


Psalm 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7


Except for verses 7-8 and the antiphon, this is the same psalm used last Sunday.  To refresh memories, this is an intellectual, alphabetical, acrostic hymn.[2]


The antiphon this week is from a verse not used last week:


verse 9a        Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.


This Psalm 34 is also used according to the following chart.


Reading        Page  verses

  33C              208   2-3, 4-5, 6-7 (9a)

116B               759   2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9 (9a)

119B              776   2-3, 4-5, 6-7 (9a)                This is today, this Sunday

122B               789   2-3, 16-17, 18-19, 20-21 (9a)

150C               925   2-3, 17-18, 19, 23 (7a)

#591             1158   2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9 (8)           Saints Peter and Paul


verse 3          Let my soul glory in the LORD;

                               the lowly will hear me and be glad.


Jerome translates lowly with mansueti in the sense of easy to get along with.


verse 7          When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,

                               and from all his distress he saved him.


Jerome translates poor with pauper in the sense of pauper or poor in the sense of without funds.


Ephesians 5:15-20


The comparable readings last Sunday were Ephesians 4:30—5:2


verse 15        Watch carefully how you live,

                               not as foolish persons but as wise.


Jerome translates live with ambuletis, offering the sense of walking-around; foolish with insipientes from which insipid is derived; wise with sapientes, the generally-used Latin for wise.


verse 16                  making the most of the opportunity,

                                         because the days are evil.


Jerome translates opportunity with tempus, offering a sense of trying to make good use of the time allotted the Faithful on earth.


verse 17        Therefore, do not continue in ignorance,

                               but try to understand what is the will of the Lord.


Jerome translates ignorance with imprudentes, or impudence or im-prudence.


verse 18        and do not get drunk on wine, in which lies debauchery


The word Jerome uses for debauchery is luxuria, the derivative for luxury.


John 6:56


The comparable reading last Sunday was John 6:51


verse 56        Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood

                     remains in me and I in him, says the Lord.


John 6:51-58


The Order of Christian Funerals rightly notes that “… the calming effect of familiar prayers can comfort the mourners as they begin to face their loss.” [3]  Familiarization with Scripture readings, therefore, seems appropriate for the Sunday readings.  Verses from this Gospel may be used at “13 Funerals for Adults,” #13, John 6:51-58[4] and “14 Funerals for Baptized Children,” #4, John 6:51-58.[5]


verse 51                  “I am the living bread that came down from heaven;

                               whoever eats this bread will live forever;

                               and the bread that I will give

                               is my flesh for the life of the world.”


verse 52        The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,

                               “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”


verse 53        Jesus said to them,

                               “Amen, amen, I say to you,

                               unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,

                               you do not have life within you.


The Greek catches a scholar’s attention.  The Greek for unless, ean mh, occurs seventeen times in the Fourth Gospel, “within a solemn affirmation of some truth or some prerequisite of salvation.”[6]  The grammarian called attention to the emotional emphasis associated with ou mh, never.  The other scholar agrees, pointing out that such a never is found in sixteen places in this Gospel.  With two exceptions (John 11:56 and 18:11), “this construction always expresses a solemn pronouncement.”[7]


verse 54        Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood

                               has eternal life,

                               and I will raise him on the last day.


A scholar includes these two verses among instances associating glory with the cross.[8]


verse 56        Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood

                               remains in me and I in him.


verse 58        This is the bread that came down from heaven.

                     Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,

                               whoever eats this bread will live forever.”


In conclusion, Proverbs is about spreading the table of Wisdom and eating thereat; Psalm 34 continues about tasting and seeing the goodness of the Lord; Ephesians about giving thanks always and for everything; and the Fourth Gospel about eating the flesh of Jesus and thereby living his own very life, forever.


For an overview of sources used see the Appendix file.

[1] Paul Overland, “Did the Sage Draw from the Shema?  A Study of Proverbs 3:1-12,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 3 (July 2000) 441.


[2] Hanan Eshel and John Strugnell, “Alphabetical Acrostics in Pre-Tannaitic Hebrew,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 3 (July 2000), 443.


[3] 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), “Prayers after Death,” page 49.


[4] ibid., page 241.


[5] ibid., page 259.


[6] Loren L. Johns and Douglas  B. Miller, The Signs as Witnesses in the Fourth Gospel: Reexamining the Evidence, the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 56, No. 3 (July 1994) 530.


[7] ibid.


[8] Francis J. Moloney, S.D.B., “Raymond Brown’s New Introduction to the Gospel of John: A Presentation—And Some Questions,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 65, No. 1 (January 2003) 9.