Sirach 3:3-6, 14-16
The reading does not consider child abuse by parents, but rather is about parental abuse by children.
Psalm 128:1-2, 3, 4-5
Verse 15, let the
Verse 18 about wives being subordinate to their husbands, like verse 3 in Psalm 128 about the wife being like a fruitful vine, requires careful reading in the light of the possibility of spousal abuse.
In his apostolic letter, On
the Most Holy Rosary,
“mysteries” to the “Mystery”:
cycles of meditation proposed by the Holy Rosary are by no means exhaustive,
but they do bring to mind what is essential and they awaken in the soul a
thirst for knowledge of
The Rosary is at the service of this
ideal; it offers the “secret’ which leads easily to a profound and inward
knowledge of Christ. We might call it
Colossians 3:15a, 16a
Reemphasizes let the
Verse 13 portrays
Verse 15, out of
Verse 19 is the last verse of 17-19 that reflects a “new
Exodus” following the Greek translation of Jeremiah 38. The translations made for English generally
come from the Hebrew rather than the Greek.
The new Exodus motif stems from Jeremiah 38:20, This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased. The verse also connects with the baptism of
Verse 20, the child’s life in the Greek and Latin means the child’s spirit or soul.
Lectionary (1998): sought the child’s life
The Vulgate (circa 410): quaerebant animam pueri
Douay-Rheims (1582-1610): sought the life of the child
New American (1970): sought the child’s life
New Jerusalem (1985): wanted to kill the child
Verse 22, Archelaus
was ruling over
Verse 23 is difficult to understand. Evidently, Nazorean means flower in the Hebrew and the reference is to the
Lectionary (1998): He shall be called a Nazorean
The Vulgate (circa 410): Nazaraeus vocabitur
Douay-Rheims (1582-1610): He shall be called a Nazarene
New American (1970): He shall be called a Nazorean
A footnote indicates not only that the town of
New Jerusalem (1985): He will be called a Nazarene
In Hos 11:1-2, Hosea shares the pain of his unfaithful wife
as the pain of God with the unfaithful Israel following the Exodus from Egypt. God continues to love
According to historical criticism, so meaningful to
postmodern interpretation, the proof-text method of
Whether what happens is abuse or not depends on total context. In any absolute sense, the relationship between human creature and God, his Creator, cannot be abusive. When one is totally responsible for what one creates, one cannot abuse. When one simply participates in what one creates, such as in the act of procreation, one can be guilty of abuse. There is such a thing as child abuse suited for consideration in these readings.
For the purpose of these Notes, Sirach is not only about the relationship between child and parent, but also about the converse relationship between parent and child. If parents do not expect to be abused in their old age, they ought not to abuse their underage children or their own parents. Psalm 128 is about the difficulty of cross-generational relationships, admonishing the Faithful to fear the Lord and walk in his ways.
For the purpose of these Notes, Colossians is also best read with converse connotations. If husbands want to be loved, they need to love their wives; if wives want to be in charge, they need to accept the charges of their husbands. If parents want their children to obey, parents must seek that obedience as pleasing to the Lord, rather than themselves in any abusive manner. If fathers do not want to become discouraged with their children, they ought not provoke and thereby abuse their children into discouragement. In the final analysis, the issue is patience and love.
For more on sources see the Appendix file.
The Feast of the Holy Family in Cycles B and C in 2003 and 2002; the Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time, 126C 040829; the Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time 129C 040905; the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time 150C contain comments for this reading in Sirach.
The Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time in Cycle B, 030105 contains comments for this reading from Psalm 128.
If you would like to see previous comments, simply make the request and I will send them to you. I am placing this offer in the updated, attached Appendix. I do not again intend to repeat the offer in the main body of my comments.
 Barbara E. Reid, O.P., “Violent Endings in Matthew’s Parables and Christian Nonviolence," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 2 (April 2004) 238, 241.
 Jack Dean Kingsbury, “Observations on the `Miracle Chapters’ of Mathew 8-9," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 4 (October 1978) 564.
 Footnote 30: No. 515.
 Maximilian Zerwick, S.J., English Edition adapted from the Fourth Latin Edition by Joseph Smith, S.J., Scripta Pontificii Instituti Biblico—114—Biblical Greek (Roma: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico, 1994) 143.
This and the following paragraph draw from