These readings are loaded with dialogue.  In the First Testament, the treatment is from God to his people about the coming Messiah.  God promises, “I will put my spirit in you … thus you shall know that I am the LORD” (Ezekiel 37:14).  With this verse, in combination with some others, God promises to fashion a new heart and lifestyle for the nation of Israel.[1]  The issue is knowledge that the Messiah will furnish knowledge obtained from dialogue through signs from God almighty.  In the New Testament, the treatment is about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.  Just as the Father listened to Jesus in prayer, so did Jesus listen to the Faithful in their prayers?  Dialog was appropriate.  Jesus discussed things with his disciples.

 

The Gospel of John follows a difficult-to-discern pattern of signs found in the Book of Wisdom.  Changing water into wine parallels changing the water of the Nile into blood.  The cure of the son of the royal official parallels the plague of the frogs by contrast.  This sign is a New Testament benefit, rather than a First Testament plague, like the first sign.  The third sign is the cure of the paralytic at the pool.  This sign parallels the plague of the locusts, reminiscent of the setting up of the bronze serpent as a sign of salvation against snakebite.  The fourth sign is the multiplication of the loaves, parallel to sending manna.  The fifth sign, the cure of the man born blind, parallels the darkness that descended over Egypt.  The sixth sign, the raising of Lazarus used this Sunday, parallels the death of the first born of the Egyptians and saving the first born of the Israelites.  The last, seventh, and final sign is the death and resurrection of Jesus that corresponds to the Exodus through the Red Sea.[2]  The Christian Gospels are in constant dialogue with the First Testament, rather than in total apposition.

 

Though not in the exact passage used by the Lectionary, Ezekiel portrays the coming Messiah as the Good Shepherd.[3]  In contrast, John 11:45 begins the section in John 11:45-53 about Caiaphas, who exercises a leadership parallel with, but far different from Jesus.  Caiaphas says that one must die for the good of the whole.  Jesus offers himself as the oblation, in the manner of a Good Shepherd.  In verse 49, Caiaphas holds his own knowledge superior to those he leads.  Jesus and his disciples have an intimate knowledge of one another.[4]  Jesus portrays himself as light enabling him and his disciples to walk in the night (John 11:9-10).[5]

 

Jesus does not seem to take on Christos as a title, but rather as a name.  Jesus is not calling himself the Messiah,[6] but rather as one sent by God, his Father.  In the Lectionary, Martha identifies Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”  True dialogue takes effort to understand.

 

Romans explains that justification is impossible without the grace of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit who is at the center of Pauline theology.[7]  Romans lets the Faithful know that just as the Spirit raised Jesus from the dead, so will the Spirit raise the Faithful from the dead.  Death, here, is not simply a death of the soul, but also a death of the body.  The Spirit will raise both body and soul.  The dialogue is with the Holy Spirit, God Almighty.

 

When the Lectionary says that the spirit is alive because of righteousness, the Lectionary does not capitalize spirit.  Another way of understanding spirit is as the Holy Spirit.  In this way, the Spirit lives because of righteousness that the Faithful possess as a divine gift.  The fullness of the Spirit will come after death of the body, but, in the meantime, the Spirit does live in the Faithful.  The Faithful already experience the Holy Spirit, but not yet in fullness.  The Faithful experience the Holy Spirit in an overlap of the ages between this life and the hereafter.[8]  A rubbing together of minds is taking place, between the mind of God and the minds of the Faithful.

 

Paul is concerned about dialectic between life under the covenantal law and life under the new dispensation of the Holy Spirit.  Paul regards the law as an occasion of sin, though the law itself is holy.  Paul does have a dark view of life under the law that Romans 8:8-11 enlightens.[9]  Under the law, the dialogue mainly consisted of God telling the Faithful what to do.  Under the new dispensation, the dialogue mainly consists of the Faithful and God loving one another in a quest for mutual understanding.

 

Romans 8:8-11 is part of Romans 5:22—8:17, an uncompromising demand for righteous conduct.[10]  In verse 8, Paul writes that no one in the flesh can please God.  Paul, then, reveals his Platonic preference by insisting the Faithful live in the Spirit.  What is interesting is that Roman Catholic theology stems from Aristotelian philosophy, through Saint Thomas Aquinas; whereas Protestant theology stems from Platonic philosophy, through Saint Augustine of Hippo, the African.  Disagreement and discussion help the Faithful understand God.

 

The Gospel of John associates “The Son of Man” with the Glory of God and the Cross.  In the Lectionary verse 4, Jesus refers to himself as the Son of God.  In verse 27, Martha identifies Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God.  The Lectionary references are not to the glory of the Son of Man.  Those links are on other places.[11]  In the passage for this Sunday, the cross is downplayed in favor of the glory.

 

Psalm 130 carries my own personal sense of helplessness to be righteous.  My sense is more out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD, rather than taking for granted the antiphon, With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

 

Psalm 130:5, my soul trusts in his word, means that God hears the prayer of the Faithful, in a type of dialogue.  Psalm 130 reflects the Prophet Mica 7:7, proclaiming that his God hears him.[12]  God enables people to fulfill themselves.  God does not disable people from their purposes in life.  Human fulfillment requires dialogue.

 

This Sunday, John has “This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God.”  Last Sunday John explained why the man was born blind, “so that the works of God might be made visible through him.”  Jesus raising his eyes and giving thanks follows the formula for the Eucharistic prayer, more evident in the Greek than in either the Latin or English.  Jesus and the Lectionary are working to get into the hearts, minds, and souls of the Faithful.

 

The readings for this Fifth Sunday in Lent are about engaging in a dialogue with God.  Ezekiel promises a Messiah to change lives and hearts.  Psalm 130 calls for help accepting the Spirit of God.  Romans rejoices in that same Spirit teaching the faithful how to live.  The Gospel of John portrays Jesus developing his disciples gradually, from point to point, in a dialogue of signs and oral communication designed to glorify the Father.

 

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Scriptural references to the Lectionary follow.  Since the main purpose of these Notes is annotating the scriptural references in the index at www.western-civilization.com, references pertinent, but not fitting the flow imposed above, are included below.  I do not assume that the reader is following the readings cited either in the Lectionary or in the Bible.  Like the footnotes, the citations are for reference purposes for anyone interested.  The large, bold letters facilitate locating exactly what the Lectionary presents for these Notes.

 

Ezekiel 37:12-14

 

Verse 12

Lectionary (1998):                        Thus says the Lord God

The Vulgate (circa 410):               Haec dicit Dominus Deus

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):        Thus saith the Lord God

King James (1611):                      Thus saith the Lord GOD

Jerusalem (1966):                        `The Lord Yahweh says

New American (1970):                 Thus says the Lord God

New Jerusalem (1985):                “The Lord Yahweh says…

 

Verse 14

Lectionary (1998):                        says the LORD

The Vulgate (circa 410):               ait Dominus Deus.

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):        saith the Lord God

King James (1611):                      saith the LORD

Jerusalem (1966):                        the Lord Yahweh

New American (1970):                 says the Lord

New Jerusalem (1985):                the Lord Yahweh

 

The Lectionary in verse 12 has the Lord God and in verse 14 the LORD.  I wanted to see the other translations, which, except King James, do not seem to support the Lectionary translation.

 

Psalm 130: 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8  (7)   

 

Verse 5

Lectionary (1998):                        my soul trusts in his word

The Vulgate (circa 410):               speravit anima mea in Domino

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):        my soul hath hoped in the Lord (Psalm 129)

King James (1611):                      in his word do I hope

Jerusalem (1966):                        my soul waits for him

New American (1970):                 my soul waits for his word

New Jerusalem (1985):                My whole being hopes in the Lord

 

My soul hopes in the Lord seems more to suit my soul, which the translations seem to legitimate.

 

Verse 7

Lectionary (1998):                        and with him plenteous redemption

The Vulgate (circa 410):               et copiosa apud eum redemption.

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):        and with him plentiful redemption

King James (1611):                      with him is plenteous redemption

Jerusalem (1966):                        and a generous redemption

New American (1970):                 with him is full redemption

New Jerusalem (1985):                with him generous ransom

 

Plenteous redemption never made much sense to me.  Generous ransom seems more suited.

 

Reading        Page  Verses                               Antiphon          Sunday

34A               214     1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8                (7)                Lent 5 = Today

89B               626     1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8                (7b c)            10th Ordinary

 

Sloppy scholarship, again because the antiphon is the same on both cases, but one is documented 7 and the other b c.

 

Funerals uses Psalm 130 in three places,[13] Pastoral Care of the Sick in one.[14]

 

Romans 8:8-11

 

John 11:25a, 26

 

John 11:1-45

Funerals uses this reading in four places,[15] Pastoral Care of the Sick in one.[16]

 

 

Verse 1

Lectionary (1998):                        the village of Mary

The Vulgate (circa 410):               de castello Mariae

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):        of the town of Mary

King James (1611):                      the town of Mary

Jerusalem (1966):                        the village of Bethany with the two sisters, Mary

New American (1970):                 the village of Mary

New Jerusalem (1985):                the village of Mary

 

The Greek carries the sense of a country town that the various translations do not seem to pick up.

 

Verse 18

Lectionary (1998):                        about two miles

The Vulgate (circa 410):               de stadiis quindecim

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):        about fifteen furlongs

King James (1611):                      about fifteen furlongs

Jerusalem (1966):                        about two miles

New American (1970):                 about two miles

New Jerusalem (1985):                about two miles

 

The translators equate a furlong with a stade.  The two miles is reasonably accurate.

 

Verse 28

Lectionary (1998):                        secretly

The Vulgate (circa 410):               silentio

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):        secretly

King James (1611):                      secretly

Jerusalem (1966):                        in a low voice

New American (1970):                 secretly

New Jerusalem (1985):                in a low voice

 

The Greek also carries the sense of taking Mary aside.

 

Verse 34

Lectionary (1998):                        “Where have you laid … Sir …”

The Vulgate (circa 410):               “Ubi posuistis…Domine…”

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):        “Where have you laid … Lord …”

King James (1611):                      “Where have ye laid … Lord …”

Jerusalem (1966):                        “Where have you put … Lord …”

New American (1970):                 “Where have you laid … Sir …”

New Jerusalem (1985):                “Where have you put … Lord …”

 

Because Dominus in Spanish carries the sense of LORD, I wanted to see if anyone else used Sir.  They did not.

 

Verse 41

Lectionary (1998):                        I thank you

The Vulgate (circa 410):               gratias ago

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):        I give thee thanks

King James (1611):                      I thank thee

Jerusalem (1966):                        I thank you

New American (1970):                 I thank you

New Jerusalem (1985):                I thank you

 

I wanted to see if any of the translations noticed the Eucharistic sense of the Greek.  None does.

 

Verse 42

Lectionary (1998):                        here I have said

The Vulgate (circa 410):               quo circumstat dixi

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):        who stand about have I said it

King James (1611):                      which stand by I said it

Jerusalem (1966):                        who stand around me

New American (1970):                 here I have said this

New Jerusalem (1985):                who are standing around me

 

In Latin, hic, means here.  The Lectionary is using a somewhat free translation that does seem reasonably accurate to me, though I like who stand around me better.

 

Verse 44

Lectionary (1998):                        a cloth

The Vulgate (circa 410):               sudario

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):        a napkin

King James (1611):                      a napkin

Jerusalem (1966):                        a cloth

New American (1970):                 a cloth

New Jerusalem (1985):                a cloth

 

The Greek carries the sense of a face cloth that the better translators do not purpose.

 

 

For more on sources see the Appendix file.

 



[1] Also, see Ezekiel 35:26 and 39:29.  Richard J. Sklba, "`Until the Spirit from on High Is Poured out on Us’ (Isa 32:15): Reflections on the Role of the Spirit in the Exile,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 46, No. 1 (January 1984) 14.

 

[2] Douglas K. Clark, "Signs in Wisdom and John,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 45, No. 2 (April 1983) 205-208.

 

[3] See Ezekiel 34:1-24 and 37:15-28.  Adrian M. Leske, "Context and Meaning of Zechariah 9:9,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 4 (October 2000) 665.

 

[4] John Paul Heil, "Jesus as the Unique High Priest in the Gospel of John,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 57, No 4 (October 1995) 731-732.

 

[5] Stanley B. Marrow, "KosmoV in John,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 1 (January 2002), 97, 99.

 

[6] John Kloppenborg, “An Analysis of the Pre-Pauline Formula 1 Cor 15:3b-5 In Light of Some Recent Literature,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 3 (July 1978) 356.

 

[7] Joseph Plevnik, S.J., “The Understanding of God at the Basis of Pauline Theology," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 65, No. 4 (October 2003) 562, 566.

 

[8] Brendan Byrne, S.J., “The Problem of NomoV and the Relationship with Judaism in Romans,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 2 (April 2000) 303.

 

[9] Brendan Byrne, S.J., “The Problem of NomoV and the Relationship with Judaism in Romans,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 2 (April 2000) 303, 304, 308.

 

[10] Robert A. J. Gagnon, “Why the `Weak’ at Rome Cannot Be Non-Christian Jews,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 1 (January 2000) 73.

 

[11] See Francis J. Moloney, S.D.B., “Raymond Brown’s New Introduction to the Gospel of John: A Presentation—And Some Questions,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 65, No. 1 (January 2003) 9.

 

[12] Sue Gillingham, “From Liturgy to Prophecy: The Use of Psalmody in Second Temple Judaism," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 3 (July 2002) 471.

[13] 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) 228, 291, 319.

 

[14] 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) 187.

 

[15] 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) 51, 242, 243.  259.

 

[16] 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) 243.