Fear of misunderstanding and being misunderstood is endemic to being human. Misunderstanding need not tear up the Christian soul. These readings uncover the Christian life as positive, cheerful, and accepting of misunderstanding as part of the way back and forth between the heart of God contemplating the Faithful and the hearts of the Faithful contemplating God.
Eight years after I first wrote this, Joshua D. Garroway wrote “`Apostolic Irresistibility’ and the Interrupted Speeches in Acts,” which makes a similar point. That article does not refer to any of the Readings for today.
Understanding between the Creator and his human creatures often
develops with difficulty, slowly. One
reason for the time it takes is interrupting God, for whatever reason. In the Transfiguration,
Vocabulary is an issue in all communication. The vocabulary of the Christian Cross and Glory is difficult. Since I use Transfiguration to mean the experience narrated by the Evangelists, I capitalize the word. I also capitalize Glory and Cross for the same reason. Narrative also has a special, though not capitalized, meaning by softening the interchangeable meaning of proclamation and announcement for Luke.
In the Transfiguration,
At first, God saves the Hebrews from the slavery of the Egyptians as an often-misunderstood symbol of God’s desire to free the Hebrews from the slavery of sin. The psalmist calls upon the presence of God for light and salvation through any misunderstanding. Time can heal misunderstanding.
The immediate issue is examining how humans, in the process of interrupting, misunderstand God at best and refuse to understand God at worst. This fear of misunderstanding permeates all of the readings for today. A closer examination will embellish this observation.
Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18
The first covenants, the ones with
Psalm 27:1, 7-8, 8-9, 13-14
The Lectionary uses Psalm 27 as follows:
27C 167 1, 7-8, 8-9, 13-14 (1a) Lent 2
59A 454 1, 4, 7-8 (13) Easter 7
67A 517 1, 4, 13-14 (1a) Ordinary 3
1190 1, 4, 7, 8b, 9a, 13-14 (1a or 13) Nov 2, All Souls
Care for the Sick uses Psalm 27, Part I: Pastoral Care of the Sick: Chapter One: Visits to the Sick:
Response B, pages 41-42 and Part
Funerals also uses Psalm 27 in Part I: Funeral Rites: 1 Vigil for the Deceased: Responsorial Psalm,
pages 29-30 and Part
At the time Paul wrote Philippians, the educated portrayed large stomachs as “signs of gluttony, slavery to one’s sexual appetite, and lack of intelligence.” Within that context, Paul urges moderation, not for the purpose of temporal life, but for the purpose of eternal life. When Paul refers to the belly in his epistles, Paul ties his teaching with the broader Hellenistic understanding of life.
In this reading,
Verses 20 and 21 are about heavenly citizenship, an often-misunderstood promised land reached through the exodus of death. This letter to the Philippians is about the last things such as the resurrection of the body, the Second Coming, and the Last Judgment. Luke goes on to incorporate the sense of the last things into Jerusalem as the Christian completion of their Faith journey.
This reference is from the Transfiguration narrative of
In verse 29, when
In verse 31,
They (the disciples) and the later
Christian community needed to hear again and again that
In verse 33, when
In conclusion, the psalmist sings, “The Lord is my light and my salvation,” thereby recognizing that, without the reminder, the Lord is easily misunderstood. For the psalmist, understanding the Lord is the same as understanding the universe, the cosmos, and all creation.
The faith of
The purpose of these essays is to annotate what is in the Catholic Biblical Quarterly for the Lectionary. Imposing my personal understanding runs the risk of submerging the significance of the research revealed. Not imposing my personal understanding runs the greater risk of meaningless jabbering. The fear of misunderstanding does permeate these Notes.
God struggles to make himself known to the Faithful in a manner analogous to the way the Faithful struggle to know God. Paul tries to get the Cross into the mix, Luke the Glory. Effort is involved.
Father Fernando Arizti, S.J. (1933-2007) painted the Transfiguration for me as a gift that is in my study, a cheering reminder of the Glory of Luke. Father Fernando’s portrait is of a Jesus “full of himself” raising his Black hands, heart, and soul to the Father. This very pro-life portrait picks up the positive, cheerful, accepting of misunderstanding as part of the way back and forth between the heart of God contemplating the Faithful and the hearts of the Faithful contemplating God.
For more on sources, besides the footnotes, see the Appendix file.
 Joshua D. Garroway, “”`Apostolic Irresistibility’ and the Interrupted Speeches in Acts,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 74, No. 4 (October 2012) 738-752.
 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 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) 40, 226.