At the time, the Jews were wondering just how eternal were the covenantal promises. If God was not dead, they wondered, had God turned against them? Amazingly, there is an answer. The answer is that reparation for sin is required to fulfill the covenantal promises. The readings can be taken as an active as well as a passive participation in the life of Christ. Lenten penance is designed to change the psalm curses into blessings.
Truth and light are the words for this Sunday.
2 Chronicles 36:14-16, 19-23
Since all history began as chronicles, before the more
sophisticated approaches, Chronicles is special to a professional historian. The Lectionary only uses Chronicles on
two Sundays over the three-year cycle. The
historical dates are special. Babylon defeated
As time went on, the Jews grew less and less sanctimonious
about how well they understood Sacred Scripture. Jeremiah promised a return to the good times
after seventy years, years that passed without good times returning. After the Babylonian exile,
Truth developed through the light of time. A shift in responsibility occurred across time, from Great King David, to the priests and officials, to the people themselves. By mentioning the people, the first Lectionary verse, Verse Fourteen of the Psalm, works in a democratic element.
verse 14 all the princes of
While Verse 15 does not seem to translate the Vulgate, difference in the translations are now well-enough established to assume and not bring to attention unless a significant difference in meaning results. In this verse “Early and often did the LORD, God of their fathers, send his messengers to them,” early and often is not found in the Vulgate that I recognize. From now on these differences, because they are meaningless to me and seem meaningless to others as well, will be ignored.
verse 15 Early and often did the LORD, the God of their fathers,
send his messengers to them.
verse 21 All
this was to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by
“Until the land has retrieved its lost Sabbaths,
during all the time it lies waste it shall have rest
while seventy years are fulfilled.”
The Vulgate refers to Chronicles as Paralipomenon that, literally, means things left out, namely out of Kings and
The antiphon from Verse 6 a b, carries a gentler sense of the curse.
verse 6 a b Let my tongue be silenced, if I ever forget you!
Verses 5 and 6 bring a similar curse to mind.
verse 5 If I
may my right hand be forgotten!
verse 6 May my tongue cleave to my palate
if I remember you not,
I place not
ahead of my joy.
There is joy to be ahead
of here because
While Ephesians is
In Verse 10, Ephesians explains why we exist.
verse 10 For we
are his handiwork, created in
that God has prepared in advance,
that we should live in them.
These good works are active rather than passive. Pauline theology is not excluding anyone but rather is fostering commitment to the covenant, to good works. How easy it is to exclude prophetic witness because that makes us uncomfortable.
On Sunday, March 9, Father Peter preached at the Poor Clare Monastery about not causing trouble, about being easy to get along with, about not gossiping, never mentioning the need to be prophetic about something like the following, simply inserted into the Sunday March 9 bulletin, for no apparent reason, without context.
“~DID YOU KNOW? From July 1999—June 2000, 48% of reported AIDS cases were among Black adults and adolescents?”
The local ordinary, Bishop
This verse does not appear in the Lectionary index.
A scholar points out that this is an oblique reference to
the sacrifice of
In the Gospel of John, worldliness takes a twist. Just as Scribes and Pharisees in
verse 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
verse 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
verse 19 And this is the verdict,
that the light came into the world,
but people preferred darkness to light,
because their works were evil.
Verse 16, “For God so loved the world,” connotes so much, rather than in this way.
The root word used by
verse 18 Whoever believes in him will not be condemned,
but whoever does not believe has already been condemned,
because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
verse 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light
and does not come toward the light,
so that his works might not be exposed.
verse 21 But whoever lives the truth comes to the light,
so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.
The truth is that the behavior of the three is only exemplified with the latest scenario as described. I have observed this type of behavior first-hand since the Carmelites left twelve or thirteen years ago. A scholar words it well to write, “we are saved by grace and are judged by works.”
In conclusion, 1 Chronicles and the Psalm are about penance required to return to the Promised Land. Ephesians is about being saved through the Blood of the Lamb, while the Gospel of John is about truth and light making their way through the politics of deceit and deception.
Carroll Stuhlmueller, C.P., The
Spirituality of the Psalms (
 National Conference of Catholic Bishops, The Roman Missal Restored by Decree of the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican and Promulgated by Authority of Pope Paul VI: Lectionary for Mass: For Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America: Second Typical Edition: Volume I: Sundays, Solemnities, Feasts of the Lord and Saints (Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1998).
 All indented verses, as below, are from National Conference of Catholic Bishops, The Roman Missal Restored by Decree of the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican and Promulgated by Authority of Pope Paul VI: Lectionary for Mass: For Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America: Second Typical Edition: Volume I: Sundays, Solemnities, Feasts of the Lord and Saints (Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1998).
 Adrian M. Leske, “Context and Meaning of Zechariah 9:9," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 4 (October 2000), pages 667 ff.
 Indented verses are taken from the Lectionary.
 Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate ® Dictionary: Tenth Edition (Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, Incorporated, 1993)
 Robert J. Daly, S.J., “The Soteriological Significance of the Sacrifice of Isaac,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 39, No. 1 (January 1977), page 68.
 Stanley B. Marrow, “KosmoV in John," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 1 (January 2002), pages 98-98, 101.
 Maximilian Zerwick, S.J., English Edition adapted from the Fourth Latin Edition by Joseph Smith, S.J., Scripta Pontificii Instituti Biblico—114—Biblical Greek (Roma: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico, 1994, page 121.