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



This is my eighth time through these readings.  There is always something new and different.  The idea of manifestation to the Gentiles always seems pertinent to Black Catholics.

Facilitators distributed Magnificat ®, Monthly Vol. 11, No. 9 / November 2009 at the annual Diocesan Richmond Black Catholic Retreat held at the Sheraton West Hotel from Friday, October 30 to Sunday, November 1.  The Magnificat ® came as a gift from the publishers, a gift for which I am grateful.  Many who read these Personal Notes also read the Magnificat ®.  Those who know me well, know that I have long objected to the passive pay-pray-and-obey approach to the spiritual life I find in the Magnificat ®.  As an act of gratitude, then, I will comment on this November issue.  The reason my comments begin in January is because I write in anticipation.

When I explained to the facilitator who received the Magnificat ® benefice that I would be writing in gratitude for the gift, she asked me to mention her concern about the artwork.  The artwork is consistently pay-pray-and-obey Renaissance, reflecting Medieval feudal relationships.  The November cover shows a blond Mary shaking her finger at Jesus.  So far, I have been unable to identify the artwork.

The problem is that social scientists show how malleable human society is.  Relationships do not have to remain established the way they are.  Changing those relationships is at the essence of the Feast of the Epiphany and is at the essence of the Black presence in the Catholic Church in the United States. 

Let me try to identify the passive spirituality proclaimed in the Magnificat ®.  Father Simon Tugwell, O.P. writes “. . . we must wait mysteriously for what already is. . . ”[1]  He might also write that the Faithful are to realize and make happen the equality of people in Catholic understanding. 

The Magnificat ® translates Psalm 111:10 as To fear the Lord is the first stage of wisdom,[2] something quite passive, versus The root of wisdom is fear of Yahweh,[3] something quite active.  Psalm 111 is not used in the Lectionary.  Magnificat ®[4] writes we will be saved through Christ from the wrath, rather than we will save ourselves through Christ . . . Father Hans Urs von Balthasar writes, “God gives us everything . . . we have nothing”[5] (rather than Everything the Faithful are comes from God, which the Faithful actively return to God).



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.


Isaiah 60:1-6

In the Sinaiticus, cover the peoples, carries a tribal sense; nations shall walk, carries a sense of kingdoms.[6]


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

Psalm 72:11 (source of the antiphon)

One of the Royal Psalms, in the Sinaiticus nations carries the sense of kingdoms.[7]


Codex Sinaiticus[8]

The following concludes my description of the Sinaiticus.


Web presentation of Codex Sinaiticus

The electronic edition of Codex Sinaiticus is the heart of the Codex Sinaiticus Project website. It brings together some of the key outputs of the Codex Sinaiticus Project into one interlinked interface:

  • high-quality images of each page in standard light and raking light;
  • a transcription of the text on each page, including all corrections;
  • translations of selected passages;
  • the detailed physical description of each page.


  1. contents: shows the text on the current page by chapter
  2. overview image: shows the xx in relation to the entire page; it can also be used, via mouse click, to navigate to another part of the page
  3. navigation arrows and zoom slider: clicking on any of the arrows will move the view in the direction of the arrow; dragging the zoom slider up or down will incrementally zoom in or out
  4. additional view options:
  5. bible options: offers three drop down lists:
    • 'book' lists all books currently offered for viewing
    • once a book has been chosen, the 'chapter' list enumerates all existing chapters of the chosen book (this will automatically download the image containing the beginning of a particular chapter)
    • sometimes chapters are distributed over more than one page – the 'verse' list will download the image containing the verse chosen
  6. image options:
    • 'standard light' shows the page with an even distribution of light (the default view)
    • 'raking light' shows the page lit at an angle from one of the two top corners (this view highlights the parchment features)
  7. folio options: these three drop-down menues make it possible to jump to a specific page -
    • 'quire' refers to a group of double-leaves that were meant to be folded in the middle to make up a unit
    • 'folio' refers to each leaf within the quire (usually, quires in Codex Sinaiticus have 8 folios)
    • 'r/v': each folio has a recto (r) and a verso side
  8. contextual information: each box offers additional relevant and helpful information accessible via the information button
  9. display options:
  10. transcription options:


There are several ways you can view Codex Sinaiticus:

  • You can search Codex Sinaiticus for words occurring in the text or for physical features by using either
    • the 'simple search' box in the top right corner of the page
    • or following the link to the 'advanced search'; page.
  • Codex Sinaiticus contains books, chapters and verses you might want to look up directly.  The 'Bible options' menu in the top left hand corner of the display window offers you drop down boxes to jump to a specific passage.  The transcription can then be used to find the specific word on the page.  By double-clicking on any word the image will browse to the corresponding part of the page.
  • You can also choose a specific page within Codex Sinaiticus by using the 'folio options' drop-down menu to jump to that page.  The Codex Sinaiticus Project refers to a page by the quire it is part of, the particular folio number it has within that quire and whether it is on the 'recto' or 'verso' side of that specific leaf.
  • Once you are looking at a specific page, it is possible to browse (or "page") backwards and forwards.

Display options

When you navigate to the edition page (always accessible via the 'See Codex Sinaiticus' button on the top menu), a default arrangement will show you a full-page image on the left and the transcription of the text of that page on the right hand side.  If available, a translation of that transcription will be shown underneath it.  It is possible for you to set your own preferred display options by turning the available buttons on or off.  The website will remember your set-up by uploading a cookie onto your computer.

This web page allows you to choose from a number of display combinations from the 'display options' menu on the right upper corner:

  • Image, transcription and translation can be viewed either by themselves or in any combination.
  • You can also follow the detailed physical description of any Codex Sinaiticus page by choosing the 'physical description' option alongside the image.  The physical description is linked to the image when it refers to a part of the page and is also linked to a glossary explaining what the conservators were looking for under a particular category.

In addition to these options, you can also choose between different ways of seeing the page and the transcription:

  • Images are shown in standard light as a default setting, but they are also always available in the raking light option.  Selected pages will also offer details of the page as multispectral images.
  • The text of the transcription can be viewed in two modes:
    • as it appears on the manuscript image in columns and lines ("view by page")
    • or on a verse-by-verse division ("view by verse").
  • Translations are sometimes available in more than one language.  Where this is the case, an option is given to choose between them.


Image and transcription are interlinked.  By clicking on a word on the transcription, the image will align and you will see the chosen word highlighted by a red box on the image.  Images are also linked to the transcription.  When the zooming option is unclicked, words in the image can be clicked on and the relevant word in the transcription will be highlighted.


Ephesians 3:2-3 a, 5-6

Ephesians 3:5

Known to people, carries the tribal, rather than generic sense of people.[9]


Matthew 2:2


Matthew 2:1-12

The Sinaiticus helped me clear up some confusion from 2003.[10]


Matt 2:6

Daniel W. Ulrich, review of Joel Willitts, Matthew’s Messianic Shepherd-King: In Search of `The Lost Sheep of the House of Israel’[11]

Ulrich is not impressed.


Matthew 2

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.[12]

The Alands explain, “Square brackets [] in the apparatus enclose information derived not from the basic textual witnesses, but from modern editors . . . or punctuation variants (e.g., Matt. 2:4) which are signaled in the text by:, ;1, and so forth.”  This is another case of my having trouble following the translation of the German grammar in which the Alands write.  There are no brackets at this place in Nestle-Aland.  There are semi-colons, evidently indicating different punctuation.  Evidently there is a question mark in some of the manuscripts.  The Sinaiticus has no punctuation whatsoever in verse 4.

The Alands also take some time to explain marginalia in Nestle-Aland.

We can now turn … to the supplementary information found in Nestle-Aland in the inner and outer margins of the pages . . . The information in the inner margin is only of historical concern for the student reader, but for the specialist it is both interesting and useful.  These notes refer to the kephalaia, a chapter division system found in the manuscripts (essentially the pericope system of lectionary units, designated by italic numerals), and in the Gospels also the Eusebian section and canon table references. . . .As kephalaia numbers and section numbers are (usually) found in New Testament manuscripts, their inclusion in this edition makes it useful when working with manuscripts.  It is not an error, incidentally, that kephalaion 1 in Matthew begins at Matt. 2:1; it is the regular usage in manuscripts not to number the first section.  Where the beginning of an early division does not coincide with the beginning of a verse it follows the stronger punctuation division, and when this is not sufficiently clear it is indicated in the text by an asterisk.



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


[1] Magnificat ® Monthly Vol. II, No. 9 / November 2009, 35.


[2] Magnificat ® Monthly Vol. II, No. 9 / November 2009, 37.


[3] The New Jerusalem Bible (New York: Double Day, 1985) 930.


[4] Magnificat ® Monthly Vol. II, No. 9 / November 2009, 45.


[5] Magnificat ® Monthly Vol. II, No. 9 / November 2009, 48.


[11] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 2 (April 2009) 425, 426.


[12] Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989, 243, 252, 254.