Accepting and dealing with difficulties marks the theme for these readings. All three readings describe difficulties. All three readings delineate a prudent way out toward the Father. These readings outline that, to remain devout, the Faithful must distinguish between relying on and trying to manipulate the fact that God loves them.
The three temptations of
Sports help describe the first temptation, pleasures of the flesh. Secular sports language highlights the difficulty. For example, when tennis players lose their verve, game television announcers begin to refer to interior demons of the players, something the players must overcome if they are to succeed.
The devoted Faithful can look at their lives and accuse
themselves of not living up to their Faith, for example as present in their
sports potential. The interior life
itself is susceptible to such self-accusatory difficulties. The spiritual fathers know the way through
the confusion. Prudence is the virtue
through all accusatory temptations. The
readings show that the template for overcoming the trials of the First
Testament leads to the template overcoming the trials of
Outsiders can accuse the Faithful of inordinate appetites
because of the second temptation of
This leads to the third temptation that is especially dangerous for the devoted Faithful. This is the temptation of abandonment to the will of the Father, without accepting full responsibility for one’s own actions. In the First Testament, accounting begins with the Exodus as a symbol of the devout life.
Deuteronomy is about the Exodus that leads to the Law,
which, in turn, leads to the all-important interior life of faith. The Responsorial, “Be with me, Lord, when I
am in trouble,” is about continuing with a right heart, in abandonment to the
Father. Romans is theologically centered
on the superfluity of the Law in the context of the essence of a right
conscience. Abandonment includes
interior abandonment, only available after one has utilized all interior
resources. Finally, in the Gospel of
Luke, the tired human
This prayer is ancient, something external, the Law, an
opening to the interior life. The
difficulty is enslavement in Egypt. Abandonment
Lectionary (1998): basket
The Vulgate (circa 410): cartallulm
Douay-Rheims (1582-1610): basket
New American (1970): basket
New Jerusalem (1985): basket
This basket is a reminder of the way in which the Faithful present the offertory collection at Our Lady of Mount Carmel (OLMC) parish.
Lectionary (1998): declare … Aramean
The Vulgate (circa 410): loqueris … Syrus
Douay-Rheims (1582-1610): shalt speak thus … Syrian
King James (1611): shalt speak … Syrian
Jerusalem (1966): make this pronouncement … Aramaean [sic]
New American (1970): declare … Aramean
New Jerusalem (1985): pronounce these words … Aramaean
Aramean is not the same as Syrian. Two of the wives of Jacob, Rachel and Leah,
were daughters of Aram, considered Gentile.
The Covenant was with
In Verse 5, Aramean is used for
Changing the language resulted only from an accusation of some sort. Prudence helps the Faithful wend their ways through the difficulties inherent understanding Scripture. Accepting and dealing with the difficulties is a way of abandonment to God almighty.
Lectionary (1998): affliction
The Vulgate (circa 410): humilitatem
Douay-Rheims (1582-1610): affliction
New American (1970): affliction
New Jerusalem (1985): misery
Verse 7 describes the nation
This reading is reason for the Faithful to do Lenten penance for their sins. With repentance, God is a forgiving God. With repentance, the accuser can rant and rave with no effect on the Faithful in the embrace of the merciful love of God. Pride that one cannot be forgiven, thereby, becomes the only unforgivable sin. Prudence shows that anything humans can foul up, God can rectify.
Verse 8, “with his strong hand and outstretched arm,”
appears just that way eleven times in the First Testament, except for the
ironic Jeremiah 21:4, “with outstretched hand and mighty arm.”
As difficult at the resolution may be, understanding the order in which things were written helps wisdom and understanding. The Magnificat also mentions God, in the might of his arm. Observing how scripture develops historically enables the Faithful to observe how the scripture develops spiritually within them, through one temptation after another.
Psalm 91:1-2, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15 (cf. 15b)
The Lectionary uses Psalm 91 only here.
Care for the Sick uses all of Psalm 91 in Part II: Pastoral Care of the Dying: Chapter Six, Commendation of the Dying, Reading D, pages 173-174.
The final verse used in the Lectionary is about God honoring the devout Faithful. Care uses the whole Psalm, including the final verse, “with length of days I will gratify him and will show him my salvation.” What a verse to include for the dying in Care but not for the living in the Lectionary. This Psalm is not used in Funerals, though verse twelve about the angels guarding lest one bump one’s foot against a stone is frequently sung at OLMC funeral Masses. This Psalm is appropriately read with a twinkle in the eye. “Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble” (cf. Psalm 91:15b), which is the responsorial antiphon.
Dealing with self-righteousness,
Neither does the covenant exculpate the Faithful from
personal responsibility for behavior, whether their own behavior or the
behavior they enable. For
Lectionary (1998): that
The Vulgate (circa 410): “
Douay-Rheims (1582-1610): the
New American (1970): that
New Jerusalem (1985): that
This use of Lord
is one of two ambiguous uses of the word in Romans, whether to God the Son or
God the Father. Twenty-two other times
in Romans, Lord unambiguously refers
to Jesus. In addressing the weak at
The accusation of the world associated with the crucifixion
relates to similar accusations against the Faithful. The meaning of the readings is that the
Faithful should cave into neither peer pressure nor pressures emanating from
lack of self-esteem. The Church is
trying to direct the Faithful toward a life of grace within a spirit of
repentance for sin. Just as the northern
hemisphere experiences a winter of apparent desolation of vegetation during
Lent, so ought the Faithful to accept a winter of desolation due to sin. Luke writes that
Lord appears in verse 9a. Verse 9b contains one of the early formulas describing the Resurrection, simply from the dead, rather than on the third day. In the very beginning, there was some fluctuation in the way the Resurrection was preached. When the Faithful get out of step with one another, a prudent assessment can guide them through the difficulty.
In verses 11-13,
In verse 12, when Romans says there is no difference between Greek and Jew, Paul does not mean that we all worship the same God, so there is no difference. Paul means, for the Faithful, that anti-Semitism is wrong, because the Jews truly are the Chosen People. Paul does not mean that the Jews are not chosen, but that now, so are the Gentiles also chosen.
Separatism was an issue for
The Greek is the same for Matthew 4:4b and Luke 4:4b. This verse is also used in Reading 22A for the First Sunday in Lent.
Where the English uses devil the Latin uses Diabolus, derived from the Greek meaning accuser, the one who accuses human beings to God and seeks to cause them to give grounds for accusation, see Job 1:6 (LXX). The implied accusations of these temptations are that the Messiah is not acting like the Messiah. The devoted Faithful can relate to this whenever they are not making full use of their talents. The criteria for accountability is to do the will of the Father rather than what counts in the eyes of either the devil, personal self-esteem, or others. Accusers can readily misinterpret, misunderstand, and falsify accepting difficulties. Faithful responsibility includes looking past the exterior into the heart toward the Father.
In verses 7-8, the devil invites
In verse 3,
An interesting difference is present between the thou’s in the King James Version and the
you’s of the Lectionary. Scholars developed the King James Version
between 1539 and 1604, at the very time standard English moved from thou to you. The problem was that
the king directed the scholars not to depart from a Bishops’ Bible of 1568 that
relied on the Great Bible of 1539 a revision of the 1525 translation of
The further difficulty remains that people commonly use different syntax to address different people, from members of the family to those of greater and lesser social status, to the very God above. This sense of reverence challenges translators at the same time it challenges the devout Faithful not to confuse abandonment to the will of the Father with abandonment to outmoded ways of expression. Continuing with the trials and tribulations of the translators:
Lectionary (1998): made him stand
The Greek means to make to stand, to set. The Lectionary implies force.
The Vulgate (circa 410): statuit eum
Douay-Rheims (1582-1610): set
New American (1970): made him stand
New Jerusalem (1985): set him
The temptation does not involve force, but enticement.
Lectionary (1998): every temptation … for a time
The Greek means every kind of temptation...the Greek means for a more suitable occasion.
The Vulgate (circa 410): omni tentatione … usque ad tempus
Douay-Rheims (1582-1610): all the temptation … for a time.
King James (1611): all the temptation … for a season.
New American (1970): every temptation … for a time
New Jerusalem (1985): every way of putting him to the test … until the opportune moment.
This final verse about returning at an opportune time means
that the Faithful must always be on guard, in imitation of Christ. To recapitulate, the Exodus is not so much
The most dangerous of the three temptations for the devout Faithful is the temptation toward putting the Lord your God to the test by abandoning available interior and exterior resources. Such abandonment is close to if not blasphemy. To remain devout, the Faithful must distinguish between relying on and trying to manipulate the fact that God loves them.
For more on sources, besides the footnotes, see the Appendix file.
 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 VI: Pastoral Care of the Sick: Rites of Anointing and Viaticum: 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 York: Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1983) 296.
 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 VI: Pastoral Care of the Sick: Rites of Anointing and Viaticum: 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 York: Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1983) 173-174.
 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).