First Reading:                    Exodus 3:1-8a, 13-15

Responsorial Psalm:          Psalm 103:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8, 11 (8a)

Second Reading:               1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12

Alleluia:                             Matthew 4:17

Gospel:                             Luke 13:1-9



The idea behind these readings is that God is good all the time; all the time God is good.  The Hebrews in Egypt seem to have been so disheartened by centuries of slavery that they could not snap out of it, when the LORD came to their aid.  Once having left Egypt, Moses was in no mood to return.

How does one put off God almighty?  Moses was up to the task.  Moses asked God for his name, because Moses did not want to go back to his people.  Moses said he did not want to go back to his people, because his people would reject him, without knowing who had sent him.  Once everyone had crossed the Red Sea, they still did not believe that the LORD was on their side.  This lack of confidence angered the LORD. 

The sense of Lenten repentance is to enable the faithful to be open to confidence that the LORD will make everything right, if not in this life, then in the next.  In this life, the Faithful have an opportunity to know the LORD and even to love the LORD, through grace.  Everlasting life in which Christians believe means that the good things of this life are a foretaste of better things ahead.


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.


Exodus 3:1-8a, 13-15

Exodus 3:2, 4

In 2004, I made the following comment for the word LORD.[1]


Just as the Faithful would expect a little child to feel guilt addressing the father of the family by his first name, so might the Faithful expect themselves to feel guilt addressing God by his name, YHWH.  Neither these Notes nor the Lectionary uses YHWH to refer to the Father.  Father is the term Jesus teaches the Faithful to use.  The loving mercy of God is found in that name, Father.


The Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Newport News, Virginia hymnal announced that as of August 2008, the Magisterium prohibited the use of YAHWH[2]


Exod 3:1—4:17

Michael W. Martin, "Betrothal Journey Narratives"[3]

Martin argues that the LORD is setting up Moses as his spouse, but that Moses does not want to return to his people, worn down from Egyptian slavery.  Moses is a suitor of God.  Martin writes, “Whereas normally the suitor is commissioned to return home by the father-in-law (cf. Exod 4:18), in this story Moses is first commissioned to return by God (3:1-4:17 [used here] …”


Exod 3:2

Thomas M. Finn, "The Sacramental World in the Sentences of Peter Lombard"[4]

Finn, who is a retired professor at the nearby College of William and Mary, argues that it took centuries to recognize marriage as a sacred relationship, as a sacrament.  By analogy, the relationship between Moses and God was like a marriage.  Moses and God even argued, like a married couple might.  Finn argues “consent, not cohabitation, makes a marriage.”


Exod 3:5

Dino Dozzi, "`Thus Says the Lord' The Gospel in the Writings of Saint Francis"[5]

Saint Francis remained in awe of the LORD he found in Sacred Scripture.  Dozzi argues, “the One who is totally other, and all that comes into any kind of contact with him—be it person, place or institution—will always have to be handled with tongs.”  To the contrary, my experience fits an earlier argument.  “This sacred respect and reverential fear will be slowly overcome in part by God himself, who will gradually draw closer to people, spanning, as far as possible, the abyss that separates them, through the bridges of revelation, the covenant and the incarnation.” 


Exod 3:6-9

Dalit Rom-Shiloni, "Psalm 44: The Powers of Protest"[6]

Rom-Shiloni argues the LORD realizes his people are suffering and he is arranging to save them.  Rom-Shiloni argues that the exodus traditions “have become the paradigmatic examples for God’s benevolent response to the people’s agony (Exod 3:6-9 [used here]; Deut 26:7).”


Exod 3:7-9

Tod Linafelt, "Prolegomena to Meaning, or, What is `Literary' about the Torah?"[7]

Linafelt argues “Even in the Exodus story, where God’s saving action seems more tangible than anywhere in the bible, the divine plan requires human agents for implementation.”  That is why I find “pay-pray-and-obey” Christianity offensive.


Exod 3:7

Walter Brueggemann, “Stereotype and Nuance: The Dynasty of Jehu”[8]

Brueggemann argues “The double verb `hear, see’ is reminiscent of the divine response to the oppression of Israel at the hands of Egypt (Exod 2:23-25; 3:7 used here]).”


Exod 3:8, 14

Paul Lawrence, The IVP Atlas of Bible History[9]

Lawrence points out that milk in the land of milk and honey, includes goats and sheep as well as cows.  I had not thought of sheep milk. 

Lawrence explains the development of the word LORD.


His name is then revealed as `the LORD’—or this is how it is widely rendered in English versions of the Bible.  Actually, in the Hebrew text, it is composed of four consonants and no vowels:  YHWH.  Several centuries before Jesus the Jews stopped using this name in everyday speech because they considered it too holy to pronounce.  Consequently its original pronunciation is not certain.

In the translation of the Old Testament into Greek, the so-called Septuagint translation, and in the New Testament, the four consonants YHWH are rendered by the Greek word Kurios meaning `Lord”.  Later the Jews added vowels from the Hebrew word Adonay (meaning `lord’ or `master’) to produce  a hybrid form, rationally rendered in English as `Jehovah’.  More modern scholarship favours the term `Yahweh’, which was the Samaritan pronunciation of the divine name as recorded by the church father Origin in a note on Exodus 6:3, but this too is disputed.  What is clear is that the name is some form of the verb `to be’.  `I am who I am’ is thus a good explanation, if not an exact translation.


Exod 3:14

Bogdan G. Bucur, “Exegesis of Biblical Theophanies in Byzantine Hymnography: Rewritten Bible?”[10]

Bucur argues “The New Testament often alludes to the divine Name (Exod 3:14 [used here]: ego eimi ho on), and proclaims Jesus Christ as “Lord” (kurios), obviously in reverence to the Old Testament “Lord” (kurios in the LXX) seen by the prophets.”


Exod 3:14

Zev Garber, review of Mosheh Lichtenstein, Moses: Envoy of God, Envoy of His People; Leadership and crisis from the Exodus to the Plains of Moab[11]

Garber reports that Lichtenstein argues that Exodus 3:14 I am who am


represents a change for the better in the acute identity crisis of Moses and arguably the nexus of a drama in which contested views are in the tensest state of opposition, such as Moses’ selfless devotion to an alienated generation and his trust in God, who, at times, is morally challenged.


In other words, Moses was not eager to return to Egypt from the Burning Bush.  In conclusion, Garber comments, “the book offers a wonderful opportunity to experience the Jewishness of Moses and the pedagogy of yeshiva exegesis and hermeneutics.”


Psalm 103:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8, 11 (8a)

          The Church makes this psalm available for funerals[12] and pastoral care of the sick.[13]  Accepting illness and infirmity in reparation for sin suits Lenten practice.



Psalm 103

Jeremy Corley, “A Numerical Structure in Sirach 44:1—50:24”[14]

Psalm 103, while not acrostic, is among several psalms whose lines suit the “alphabetic acrostics pattern of twenty-two or twenty-three lines.”


Psalm 103:6-18

John T. Willis, review of Samantha Joo, Provocation and Punishment:  The Anger of God in the Book of Jeremiah and Deuteronomistic Theology[15]

Verses 6-18 relate to the mercy of God.  Other verses relate to the anger of God, which mercy tempers.


1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12

1 Cor 10:1-13

Todd D. Still, "Christos as Pistos:  The Faith(fulness) of Jesus in the Epistle to the Hebrews"[16]

That our ancestors … were baptized into Moses opens up the meaning of baptism.  I guess the difference is that our ancestors were baptized into Moses as the Faithful are now baptized into Christ.  Still argues “It is the Israelite people whom Moses led out of Egyptian captivity, however, that the author fashions into a faithless foil (cf. 1 Cor 10:-1—13 [used here]).”


1 Cor 9:1—10:22

Wendell L. Willis, review of Jan G. Van Der Watt (ed.), assisted by Francois S. Malan, Identity, Ethics, and Ethos in the New Testament[17]

Willis reports that an article by Michael Wolter “omits 1 Corinthians 9:1-10:22, which explicates the danger of falling away” from a disciplined practice of Christianity.


Matthew 4:17


Luke 13:1-9

A copy of the Lectionary Gospel is highlighted on a separate sheet for the hard copy edition.  Anyone else wanting one, please ask me at  Thank you.

The pronouns associated with Galileans in verse 2, I find particularly difficult to verbalize in English.  I am intrigued with the, But I tell you, if you do not repent …  In verses 8 and 9, emphasizing the Greek pronouns for it help with the meaning …leave it (the fig tree) … cultivate … it … cut it down.


Luke 13:2, 4

Robert Doran, "The Pharisee and the Tax Collector: An Agonistic Story"[18]

More importantly, Doran argues that Luke is comparing Galileans and Galileans and Jerusalemites with Jerusalemites and that this pattern applies to the tax-collector and the Pharisee.


Luke 13:3-9

Garwood P. Anderson, "Seeking and Saving What Might Have Been Lost: Luke's Restoration of an Enigmatic Parable Tradition"[19]

Anderson proposes


that the parables oriented to crowds call for decision (Luke 8:4-21; 12:16-221; 13:6-9; 14:25-35).  Those directed toward religious leaders are characteristically polemical (5:31-32; 7:41-42; 14:7-11, 16-24; 15:3-32; 16:9-31; 20:9-19), whereas those addressed to disciples consist of ethical and communal instruction (11:5-13; 12:35-40; 16:1-13; 17:7-10).

This helps clarify three types of parables:  decision; encouragement; and information.

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

[1] Notes/030C 3rd Sunday in Lent_A Catholic Bible Study 040314.pdf  (accessed January 10, 2010).


[2] Hymn 60, “Let the King of Glory Come” by Michael Joncas, Large Print:   Breaking Bread 2010: November 29, 2009—November 25, 2010  (Portland, OR, OCP, 2009).  See  (accessed January 10, 2010) for more on the Oregon Catholic Press (ORC).


[3] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 3 (July 2008) 513-514.


[4] Theological Studies, Vol. 69, No. 3 (September 2008) 575.


[5] Greyfriars Review, Vol. 18, Supplement (2004) 115.


[6] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 4 (October 2008) 689.


[7] Theological Studies, Vol. 69, No. 1 (March 2008) 77-78.


[8] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 1 (January 2008) 23.


[9] Downers Grove, Illinois,  InterVarsity Press, 2006, 33, 54.


[10] Theological Studies, Vol. 68, No. 1 (January 2007) 97, 101.


[11] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 1 (January 2009) 144.


[12] N.a., 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.


[13] 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: Prepared by International Commission on English in the Liturgy: a Joint Commission of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences (New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co. 1983) 296.


[14] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 2 (April 2009) 50-51.


[15] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 3 (July 2007) 552.


[16] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 4 (October  2007) 753.


[17] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 1 (January 2008) 205.


[18] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 2 (April 2007) 263.


[19] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 4 (October 2008) 737, 738.