Three Roman Catholic realities fog the present state of the Epiphany welcoming all peoples into the human tent of acceptance.  First is the censure by the American Association of University Professors of the administration of The Catholic University of America that best expresses the fundamental reality fogging up the truth.  The reason for the censure is that the administration fired Father Charles Curran without providing him due process, namely, a chance to be heard.  This messy story is available at  No one among the hierarchy seems to be paying much attention or to care.

The second reality is the sexual coverup scandal that attracts sensational media attention almost daily, as one coverup after another unravels.  The hierarchy fears the truth in both instances. 

Another coverup, the third reality, may yet unravel, namely how the hierarchy developed the new Missal imposed upon the Faithful, beginning with Advent, 2011.[1]  My $179.89 copy of the Missal only arrived October 20, less than five weeks before it went into use, on the First Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2011.

The hierarchy kept the full Missal under wraps until just before they ordered its use.  Incomplete sentences in the Missal constitute ungrammatical English.  Incomplete sentences also constitute ungrammatical Latin.  To check the translations, ungrammatical English merits checking against the Latin.  Presenting the Missal without making available the underlying Latin text is irresponsible.  The Missal does proclaim “Concordat cum originali:  Most Reverend Gregory M. Aymond: Chairman, USCCB Committee on Divine Worship:  after review by Reverend Richard B. Hilgartner:  Executive Director, USCCB Secretariat of Divine Worship.” 

My copy of the Missal lacks both a Nihil Obstat (the writing contains nothing contrary to faith and morals) and an Imprimatur (permission to print).  Canon 824  §2:  “Unless otherwise evident, the prescriptions of the canons of this title  [Title IV:  Instruments of Social Communication and Specifically Books] concerning books are to be applied to any writings whatsoever which are destined for public distribution.”[2]  What next?  First the bishops want a scholar like Elizabeth Johnson to obtain the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur; but then do not provide either for their own irresponsible Missal.  By the way, the tome I received does not seem well bound and a corner of the inside cover arrived torn off.

Liturgiam authenticam,[3] mentioned last week, as the standard of translation, reeks of irresponsibility, highlighted in the following words concerning the “equality of all men.  Since this sentence is in the context of the pronouns his and her, the use of men here excludes women.  Distain for academic standards is found in the following, “ . . . Academic style manuals or similar works . . . are not to be considered standards for liturgical translation.”  The result is non-standard English proclaimed from the altar. 

Another difficulty for the hierarchy responsible for the Lectionary, is the omission of Ephesians 3:3b, as I have written briefly earlier.  This phrase is significant because it probably refers to Ephesians 2:11-22, where Ephesians is preaching peace between Christians and Jews.  Today that peace among all groups is attractive, considering the warring factions around the globe, including the political turmoil in this Presidential election year in the United States.  Christ Jesus is the way past the racism, classism, nationalism, and sexism that divides humanity.

This is my tenth time through these readings.  Since last year, I found no pertinent articles.  There is, nevertheless, always something new and different.  As time rolls on, the idea of manifestation to the Gentiles always seems pertinent to Black Catholics.

This is a notification about revisions made after I deliver this email or hard copy.  In preparing the material for the 25,000 subscribers to the James River Journal adequate time for thorough vetting is lacking.  Sometimes changes are dramatic, especially since my copy of the new Missal arrived October 20, after about six Lectionary Sundays were already distributed.  Expect the latest and most authentic revision on my web site at after Sunday Mass.




First Reading:                   Isaiah 60:1-6

Responsorial Psalm:          Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13 (cf. 11)

Second Reading:              Ephesians 3:2-3 a, 5-6

Alleluia:                             Matthew 2:2

Gospel:                             Matthew 2:1-12




Annotated Bibliography

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


Isaiah 60:1-6

The New American Bible, Revised Edition (NABRE) has the following note for Isaiah 60:1-9.  “The light the prophet proclaims to Zion symbolizes the blessing to come to her:  the glory of the Lord, the return of her children, the wealth of nations who themselves will walk by her light.  The passage is famous from its use in the Latin liturgy for the feast of Epiphany.”


Meaning changes significantly between the Lectionary and NABRE.

Verse  Lectionary                                    NABRE

1        has come                                     has dawned

2        the LORD shines                         the LORD will dawn

3        kings by your shining radiance     kings by the radiance of your dawning


The difference between shining and dawning is that shining is already developed, whereas dawning is yet developing.  In other words, shining does not engage thought, because thought is not necessary; but dawning does engage thought, because thought is necessary to understand what the dawn means.  Dawn refers to the beginning of a new day, one not seen from all eternity, until just now.  Americans in the United States are very aware of “the dawn’s early light.”


Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13 (cf. 11)

Meaning changes significantly between the Lectionary and NABRE.

Verse  Lectionary                                    NABRE

2        afflicted                                       oppressed

7        great bounty                                profound peace

10       Arabia                                          Sheba

From a Black perspective, Arabia is not the equivalent of Sheba, home of the Black Queen (960 BC)[4] who visited Solomon.

12       For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out

                                                              For he rescues the poor when they cry out.

The Lectionary refers to the future; the NABRE refers to the present.

11       All kings shall pay him homage    May all kings bow before him

12       afflicted                                       oppressed

Afflicted does not have the economic class struggle implied by oppressed.


Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6

Christian love is a many-splendored thing, especially among Christians.  In order to reach out to Protestants and to be reached by Protestants, I am reading volumes in the Reformation Commentary on Scripture.  The following comments come from Reformation Commentary on Scripture:  New Testament X: Galatians, Ephesians, (ed.) Gerald L. Bray.[5]


Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536), “Paraphrases,” notes, “This epistle [Ephesians] was the main reason why Peter said that Paul had written many things that are hard to understand”  (2 Peter 3:15, not used in the Lectionary for Sundays).  This means that even sitting popes may not fully understand the mystery of Christ.


Daniel Toussain (1541-1602), “Theological Works, II,” explains,


 . . . Romans.  There it [grace] is treated inductively, going from the effects of salvation to its cause, from the forgiveness of sins to the argument from predestination.  In this epistle it proceeds deductively, from the cause to its effects.  Divine grace is described in wonderful terms and with the most emphatic language.


Erasmus Sarcerius (1501-1559), “Annotations on
Ephesians,” explains, “The text [Ephesians 3:3] is about the revelation of the gospel, which is a mystery in every age and to everyone to whom God has not revealed it.  . . . there are few who understand the gospel.”  That is why we work at these Personal Notes.


John Calvin (1509-1564), “Commentary on Ephesians,” elaborates, “The mystery was that the Gentiles were to come into the fellowship of promise and become partakers of life in Christ by the gospel.”


Wolfgang Musculus (1497-1563), “Commentary on Ephesians,” explains that the relationship between Christians and Jews flows through Jewish Christians.  “ . . . if they believe in Christ.”  Otherwise it would make no sense to say that the Gentiles were fellow heirs with the Jews.”


Ephesians 3:3

Daniel B. Wallace, With Scripture, Subject, and Greek Word Indexes: Greek Grammar:  Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament[6]

Wallace writes about the possibility of a missing letter to the Ephesians, a possibility mentioned in Galatians, Ephesians.


There are a number of problem texts in which the aorist may refer to the portion that the author is presently composing (thus, truly epistolary), or to the epistle as a whole, or to a previous portion of the epistle just completed (thus, immediate past aorist).  Sometimes, in fact, the aorist may refer to a letter written on a previous occasion.  For a few of these texts (which have obvious exegetical implications), cf. Rom 15:15; 1 Cor 5:9; Eph 3:3 [used here]; Phlm 19; 1 John 2:21.


Wallace explains further.


kaqwV proejraya in oligw

Just as I previously wrote in part


The author is here speaking about the revelation that at was made known to him by God, that is, the revelation of peace between Jew and Gentile, of one new body.  It is probably that the aorist here, then, refers back to 2:11-22 rather than to an unknown epistle.


Matthew 2:2


Matthew 2:1-12

Meaning changes significantly between the Lectionary and NABRE.

Verse  Lectionary                                    NABRE

4        . . . where the Christ                   . . . where the Messiah

There is a difference in connotation between Christ and Messiah.



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


[1] 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).


[2] The Code of Canon Law: A Text and Commentary, Commissioned by The Canon Law Society of America, James A. Coriden, Thomas J. Green, Donald E. Heintschel (eds.) (New York: Paulist Press, 1985) 580.




[4]  (accessed October 23, 2011).


[5] Downers Grove, Illinois:  IVP Academic,  An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 2011, 231, 234, 305-307.


[6] Grand Rapids: Michigan: Zondervan, 1996, 563, 565.