First Reading:                    Isaiah 43:16-21

Responsorial Psalm:          Psalm 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6 (3)

Second Reading:               Philippians 3:8-14

Alleluia:                             Joel 2:12-13

Gospel:                             John 8:1-11



In the midst of the season of penance, just before Psalm Sunday, the Church reminds the Faithful, with the Responsorial Antiphon, that “we are filled with joy” because “The Lord has done great things for us.”  The greatest thing God is doing, is bringing himself to us through the door of self-sacrifice, allowing the exodus from the travails of this life to the everlasting peace of the next with God.  In the person of God, Isaiah explains, “the people whom I [God] formed for myself, that they might announce my praise.”  Philippians refers to “the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.”  Through the Book of Joel, God reminds the Faithful, “I am gracious and merciful.”  Finally, with the woman caught in the very act of adultery, “Jesus said, `Neither do I condemn you’” resulting in peace on earth for those accepting forgiveness.

Scholars may be telling the Faithful more than they really want to know about these passages.  To begin, scholars are convinced that the story of the adulterous woman was not in the original version of the Gospel.  Secondly, scholars argue whether Philippians is about Faith in or of Christ. 

A word of explanation:  one can be both in and of a family, but being in the family is closer.  That is not what is meant here.  Faith in Christ means believing in Christ, as one might believe in a sports hero.  Faith of Christ means having the same Faith as Christ; to continue the sports analogy, to have the very skills of a sports hero. 

Finally, in “Dei Verbum” the Church leaves the way through the intellectual morass in the hands of the bishops, “shepherds of the church,” reeling from the cover-up scandals, currently extending to the Irish hierarchy.  The current hierarchy needs to lead with transparency, so that followers do not follow the leaders over the cliff.  Let us pray.


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.


Isaiah 43:16-21



Psalm 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6 (3)

The Church makes this Psalm available at funerals.[1]


Philippians 3:8-14

Phil 3:5-6, 8

John Reumann, review of Joseph H. Hellerman, Reconstructing Honor in Roman Philippi: Carmen Christi as Cursus Podorum[2]

Hellerman uses recent Mediterranean studies to reconstruct meaning.  Hellerman questions whether Philippians is simply turning Roman social status upside down or is making a further theological statement.


Phil 3:8

“Sacred Scripture in the Life and Mission of the Church: Chapter VI from the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation: Dei Verbum: Solemnly Promulgated by His Holiness, Pope Paul VI on November 18, 1965”[3]

Pope Paul VI writes,


The sacred synod [Vatican II] also earnestly and especially urges all the Christian faithful, especially Religious, to learn by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures the “excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ”.  (Phil 3:8)  “For ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.”  Therefore, they should gladly put themselves in touch with the sacred text itself, whether it be through the liturgy, rich in the divine word, or through devotional reading, or through instructions suitable for the purpose and other aids which, in our time, with approval and active support of the shepherds of the church, are commendably spread everywhere.  And let them remember that prayer should accompany the reading of Sacred Scripture, so that God and man may talk together; for “we speak to Him when we pray; we hear Him when we read the divine saying”.


Except for the apparently sexist, “that God and man may talk together,” that quotation is the spirit in which I write these Personal Notes.  I might have written, “that God and humans may talk together.”


Phil 3:9

Kenneth Schenck, "2 Corinthians and the PistiV Cristou Debate"[4]

The question is whether the matter is faith in Christ or faith of Christ, something that I regard as the difference between a passive faith (in Christ)  and an active faith (of Christ).  Schenck refers to “… the subjective camp [that] generally interprets PistiV Cristou as a reference more to the faithfulness of Christ rather than to his trust in God.”  My concern is what sort of Faith is passed down to the Faithful through grace.


Joel 2:12-13

John 8:1-11

Different languages see life differently.  The ancient Greeks used pronouns for emphasis.  Translating this emphasis into English is an object of the highlighting on the last page of the hard copy, not found on the web site.  Very act, such women, one by one, woman are all English translations of Greek pronouns.  The part of the Greek that most strikes me, however, is in the sir reply of the woman to Jesus.  In the Greek, sir is Lord.


John 7:53—8:11

Nestle-Aland, Novum Testamentum: Graece et Latine: Textum Graecum post Eberhard et Erwin Nestle communiter ediderunt Barbara et Kurt Aland, Johannes Karavidopoulos, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger: Textus Latinus Novae Vulgatae Bibliorum Sacrorum Editioni debetur: Utriusque textus apparatum criticum recensuerent et editionem novis curis elaboraverunt Barbara et Kurt Aland una cum Instituto Studiorum Textus Novi Testamenti Monasterii Westphaliae[5]

As might be expected, Nestle-Aland agrees with the Alands, below.  Nestle-Aland,


Double brackets in the text ([[ ]]) indicate that the enclosed words generally of some length, are known not to be part of the original text.  These texts derive from a very early stage of the tradition, and have often played a significant role in the history of the church (cf. Jn 7:53—8:11).



John 8:1-11

Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland, The Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism, 2nd ed., Erroll F. Rhodes, tr.[6]

          The Alands explain,


The term Peshitta was first used by Moses bar Kepha in 903.  It is usually interpreted as meaning “simple” in contrast to the Harklean version with its apparatus.  The Peshitta version of the New Testament is the most widely attested and most consistently transmitted of the Syriac New Testament versions.  The Syriac church still preserves it and holds it in reverence in this form today.

It contains twenty-two New Testament books, lacking the shorter Catholic letters (2-3 John, 2 Peter, Jude) and Revelation (as well as the Pericope Adulterae (John 7:53-8:11) and Luke 22:17-18).  At the beginning of the twentieth century there were already more than three hundred known manuscripts (only a few containing the complete text of the New Testament), and since then the number has steadily grown.  A systematic search of the libraries and churches of the East would undoubtedly increase the number further.  The earliest known manuscripts are from the fifth and sixth centuries.


… however early the tradition of the pericope of the Woman Taken in Adultery (in John 7:53—8:11) may be, it is certain that these verses did not form a part of the original text of the gospel of John when it was first circulated in the Church.


The saying in Matt. 16:2b-3 represents a very early tradition, as does the Pericope Adulterae in John 7:53-8:11.  In view of the support for their omission in the Greek manuscript tradition, the versions, and the Church Fathers, there can hardly be any doubt that both these passages were lacking in the original text of the Gospels.  … In any event both texts must have been admitted in parts of the Greek Gospel tradition at some time in the second century—a period when there was greater freedom with the text (cf. p. 64).  Only then were such extensive insertions possible, and considering the amount of opposition apparently encountered by the Pericope Adulterae, it must have been quite strongly rooted in the evangelical tradition.



Cf. John 8:1-11

Teresa Okure, S.H.C.J., “Jesus and the Samaritan Woman (Jn 4:1-42) in Africa”[7]

Teresa Okure claims women are always to blame in matters of sexual sins.  Teresa Okure bemoans, “Nothing is said about the sixth man who is not her husband, though it is worth noting that in cases of sexual immorality, the woman is always at fault (see Jn 8:1-11).”  Robert A. Di Vito has more on this, below.


John 8:3-11

Terence W. Tilley, “Remembering the Historic Jesus—A New Research Program?”[8]

After 1985, concern for the historical Jesus shifted “from constructing theories about the Historical-Jesus to understanding the practices in which Jesus was remembered.  Jesus makes sense only in his social environment.”  Tilley argues, “Memories are preserved in performance.”  That is why I am trying to translate the emphasis in the Greek pronouns into English.  Finally, Tilley observes, “Jesus and the woman caught in adultery (Jn 8:3-11) clearly suggest that some of the oral performances the author(s) of John heard were related to those of the tradition that led to the Synoptics.”


John 8:3

Robert A. Di Vito, review of David Daube, compiled and edited by Calum Carmichael, The Deed and the Doer in the Bible:  David Daube’s Gifford Lectures, Volume 1[9]

Daube thinks that men are to blame in matters of such sexual sins as adultery, because women belong to men as property.  Di Vito reports,


Even the chapter on women (chap. 9), which takes up the issue of double standards, deals principally with the question of who is considered the perpetrator of adulterous action (namely, the male, until recently), insofar as adultery is a violation of the husband’s rights as the woman’s master (186; see Jn 8:3-11).


A copy of the Lectionary Gospel is highlighted on a separate sheet for the hard copy edition.  The purpose of the highlighting is to transfer the Greek emphasis on personal pronouns into the English translation.  Anyone else wanting one, please ask me at  Thank you.



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

[1] 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)  290.


[2] Theological Studies, Vol. 69, No. 1 194.


[3] Adoremus Bulletin, Vol. XIV, No 7 (October 2008) 4.


[4] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 3 (April 2008) 524, 534.


[5] Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft 1999 Editio XXVII, 7.


[6] Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989, 194, 232, 307.


[7] Theological Studies, Vol. 70, No. 2 (June 2009) 408.


[8] Theological Studies, Vol. 68, No. 1 (March 2007) 4, 21, 24.


[9] Theological Studies, Vol. 70, No. 3 (September 2009) 929.