In his inaugural encyclical, Deus caritas est, Pope Benedict XVI makes reference to Acts 2:42, as does Charles M. Murphy, cited below.  While Deus caritas est, is already mentioned at least fourteen times in these Personal Notes,[1]  the detailed analysis of the political framework has yet to be included.  Murphy offers a detailed analysis for that framework.

Pope Benedict XVI is modifying the direction of the Church.  Pope Benedict prefers Saint Augustine of Hippo to Saint Thomas Aquinas.  Since the Protestant Revolt, Catholic scholars have preferred Saint Thomas and Aristotle; while Protestants have preferred Augustine and Plato.  The practical difference is that Thomists are less self-righteous than Augustinians.

Within this context, at least since 1984, before he was Pope, Pope Benedict has challenged liberation theology.  What Pope Benedict is now doing is separating justice from charity, leaving justice to the state and keeping charity for the church. Benedict regards justice as an aspect of charity.  My involvement in the Black Apostolate causes me to regard one excuse as good as another, when it comes to denying people their rights.

On the positive side, however, Pope Benedict recognizes the unequal relationship between the sheep and the shepherd.  Benedict sides with the sheep.  Portraying Jesus as the Good Shepherd, without also regarding Jesus as the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, has bothered me in past editions of Personal Notes.

Because of his importance, one wonders what Raymond E. Brown has about Acts 2:42 in An Introduction to the New Testament.  Brown writes, “In a pattern of separate days (1:29, 35, 43; 2:1) John shows a gradual recognition of who Jesus is.”  In his encyclical, Pope Benedict XVI continues to develop that identity of who Jesus is for modern Christians.  Brown does not cite Acts 2:42 specifically.[2]

The Catechism uses the readings for this Sunday in seven different chapters.[3]  Topics range from the Resurrection, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Penance and Reconciliation in Chapters 7-18 and, then, Chapter 35 on Prayer.  All of these topics have merit for those recently passing through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (R.I.C.A.).



Annotated Bibliography

Material above the double line draws from and is based upon material below the double line.  Those uninterested in scholarly and tangential details should stop reading here.  If they do, however, they may miss some of the interesting material scholars and others are presenting.


Scriptural references to the Lectionary follow.  Since the main purpose of these Notes is annotating the scriptural references in the index at, 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.  I intend, hereafter, to move this paragraph to the Appendix.


Acts 2:42-47

Acts 2; John 20:22

Neil J. McEleney, C.S.P., "Peter's Denials—How Many? To Whom?"[4]

McEleney observes that John 20:22 condenses what Luke draws out in Acts 2, concerning the coming of the Holy Spirit.


Acts 2:42

John Clabeaux, "The Story of the Maltese Viper and Luke's Apology for Paul"[5]

Clabeaux admonishes,


Recall that the meal in Acts 27:33-38 is the last of three meals of Paul described in Acts.  The second (Acts 20:7-12) was on a Sabbath and was explicitly described as `breaking bread,’ which for Luke seems to imply the Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:42 [used in the readings for this Sunday] and Luke 24:35.)


This means that the first Christians attended Mass regularly in prayer.


Acts 2:42

Charles M. Murphy, “Charity, Not Justice, As Constitutive of the Church’s Mission[6]

This is the excellent article used to explain Deus caritas est above the double line.  A key statement is that “… for Benedict it is charity, not justice, that is constitutive of the Church’s mission.”  Murphy offers a detailed analysis of what Deus caritas est means within the political framework of the Church.


Psalm 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24

Psalm 118:14                              

Sue Gillingham, "From Liturgy to Prophecy: The Use of Psalmody in Second Temple Judaism"[7]

Gillingham writes that Psalm 118:14 is a thanksgiving psalm, written in parallel with Isaiah 12:2.  Psalm 118:14, My strength and my courage is the LORD, and he has been my savior.  The Lectionary does not use Isaiah 12:2.


Psalm 118:22                              

Daniel C. Olson, "Matthew 22:1-14 as Midrash"[8]

Matthew cites Psalm 118:22 in his parable of the Vineyard Workers.


Psalm 118:22                              

Charles L. Quarles, "The Use of the Gospel of Thomas in the Research on the Historical Jesus of John Dominic Crossan"[9]

As I wrote last week, this article is examining what Crossan and his associates are willing to attribute directly to the historical Jesus.  I regard the exercise as a waste of energy.  The problem here is with the parable of the owner of the vineyard and the reference to the building stone, which the builders rejected.  Crossan wants to know whether Jesus himself or a later redactor made that building-stone reference.  Quarles does not understand the problem.


1 Peter 1:3-9

Pastoral Care of the Sick uses this reading.[10]


1 Peter 1:3-9

John H. Elliott, review of Kenneth J. Thomas and Margaret Orr Thomas, Structure and Orality in 1 Peter: A Guide for Translators[11]

Elliott pans the book.


As a means for keeping everyone humble, the eclectic Greek version of 1 Peter 1:3-9[12] points at least 29 times to differences among the ancient manuscripts.


John 29:29


John 20:19-31

John 13:1—20:31

Edward L. Bode, review of Alberto Casalegno, "Perché Contemplino la Mia Gloria" (Gv 17, 24): Introduzione alla teologia del Vangelo di Giovanni[13]

Without claiming that the Gospel comes in two editions, Casalegno subdivides 13:1 to 20:31 at Chapter 20.  This division is less forceful than the two editions called for by Herman Waetjen below.


John 20:19-31                             

Kelli S. O'Brien, "Written That You May Believe: John 20 and Narrative Rhetoric"[14]

Argues effectively that John wrote the Gospel to enable the Faithful to locate their own situations for growing in Faith in the spiritual life of being Christian.  The article has five major divisions: I. Experiencing the Resurrection; II. Misunderstanding and Believing; III. Mary Magdalene and Thomas; IV. The Beloved Disciple; and V. John 20 as Whole.


John 20:19-23                             

Sandra M. Schneiders, review of Rekha M. Chennattu, Johannine Discipleship as a Covenant Relationship[15]

Schneiders writes that Chennattu


… not only equated being a `child of God’ with being a `brother of Jesus’ but sets up the reader to interpret John 20:19-23 as a commissioning of the disciples as `apostles’ (a very un-Johannine understanding of Jesus’ followers), as all males, and sent to `retain’ (as well as forgive) sins, which is the conventional (but in my estimation mistaken) modification of Jesus’ mission to `take away’ the sin of the world on which the disciples’ mission is based.


The language `child of God’ is not used in John 19-23.  This means that Chennattu seems to be stretching to make his point.  This means that I am agreeing with Schneiders, as unconvinced by Chennattu.


John 20:19

Richard J. Cassidy, review of Willard M. Swartley, Covenant of Peace: The Missing Peace in New Testament Theology and Ethics[16]

Cassidy writes, “… the risen Jesus’ peace greetings to the disciples in 20:19 and 20:26 [both in the readings for today] serve as a kind of `empowerment’ for the mission he now entrusts to them …”  Perhaps, by avoiding concerns of the secular state, Pope Benedict is trying to bring peace by limiting ecclesiastical concerns to charity while leaving secular concerns to justice.  I think such an approach is counterproductive, because as of Sunday, March 9, the internet goggled 22,900 references for “no justice, no peace.”[17]


John 20:20, 25, 27

Paul Lawrence, The IVP Atlas of Bible History[18]

Describes the 1968 excavation of an ossuary at Giv’at ha-Mivtar, just north of Jerusalem.  The ossuary contained the remains of a crucified man, whose name was Yehohanan.  One seven-inch nail was still holding his heel bones together.


John 20:21

Frank J. Matera, "Christ in the Theologies of Paul and John: A Study in the Diverse Unity of New Testament Theology"[19]

Matera writes, “Therefore, after completing the work the Father has entrusted to him, Jesus sends them into the world as the Father sent him into the world (17:18; 20:21 [used in these readings]).”  Simply as a matter of information, Pope Benedict engages neither verse in Deus caritas est.


John 20:28,

Craig L. Blomberg, review of Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda, The Johannine Exegesis of God: An Exploration into the Johannine Understanding of God[20]

Blomberg writes, “To address the question whether Jesus is God in John, S. [Sadananda] begins with 20:28 [used this Sunday], `the christological summit’ of the NT, arguing that it leads only to the affirmations of messiahship and sonship in 20:31.”  This book addresses how it can be that Jesus is both God and man, in the hypostatic union of both natures in one person.


John 20:30-31

John F. O'Grady, review of Francis J. Moloney, S.D.B., The Gospel According to John: Sacra Pagina and Andrew T. Lincoln, The Gospel According to Saint John: Black's New Testament Commentary[21]

The Moloney book is part of the Sacra Pagina series, in the library of the Bethlehem Monastery of Poor Clares in Barhamsville, New Kent County, Virginia. O’Grady writes that the series offers “… sound critical analysis shaped by the Catholic tradition and further reference material after each section, along with a selected bibliography at the end.”  In other words, the Moloney book is honest.  The review does not reference any verses used in the Lectionary for this Sunday for the  Lincoln book.


John 20:30-31                             

Tom Thatcher, "John's Memory Theater: The Fourth Gospel and Ancient Mnemo-Rhetoric"[22]

Thatcher asserts that “John 21:24-25 should be viewed as an unknown editor’s attempt to wrap up the revised narrative by returning to the theme of John’s closing remarks ...” [at John 20:30-31, used this Sunday].


John 20:31                                  

Kyle Keefer, review of Herman Waetjen, The Gospel of the Beloved Disciple: A Work in Two Editions[23]

Keefer describes John 20:31, about the propose for which John wrote the Gospel as “the famous interpretive crux.”  The two editions of Waetjen are the material before Chapter 20 and Chapters 20 and 21, which Waetjen regards as a second edition.



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



[1] 1.  012C 4th Sunday of Advent_A Catholic Bible Study 061224

  2.  032B 4th Sunday in Lent_A Catholic Bible Study 060326

  3.  035B 5th Sunday in Lent_A Catholic Bible Study 060402

  4.  044B 2nd Sunday of Easter_A Catholic Bible Study 060423

  5.  053B 5th Sunday of Easter_A Catholic Bible Study 060514

  6.  056B 6th Sunday of Easter_A Catholic Bible Study 060521

  7.  066C 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time_A Catholic Bible Study 070114

  8.  080B 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time_A Catholic Bible Study 060219

  9.  095B 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time_A Catholic Bible Study 060625

10  105C 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time_A Catholic Bible Study 070715

11. 138C 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time_A Catholic Bible Study 070930

12. 140B 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time_A Catholic Bible Study 061008

13. 141C 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time_A Catholic Bible Study 071007

14. 152B 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time_A Catholic Bible Study 061105


[2] Raymond E. Brown, S.S., The Anchor Bible Reference Library: An Introduction to the New Testament (New York: Doubleday, 1997) 338.


[3] 1. Chapter  7.  The Good News: God Has Sent His Son                John 20:31

  2. Chapter   8.  The Saving Death and Resurrection of Christ               John 20:19-23, 28

  3. Chapter   9. Receive the Holy Spirit (John 20:22)                       John 20:22

  4. Chapter 14. The Celebration of the Paschal Mystery of Christ          John 19-23

  5. Chapter 16. Confirmation: Consecrated for Mission                    John 20:22; Acts 2

  6. Chapter 18. Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation              John 20:21.23

  7. Chapter 35. God Calls Us to Pray                                              Acts 2:42


United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, United States Catholic Catechism for Adults (Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2006) 79, 94, 101-123, 178, 203, 236, 244, and 467.


[4] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 52, No. 3 (July 1990) 470.


[5] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 67, No. 4 (October 2005) 609.


[6] Theological Studies, Vol. 68, No. 2 (June 2007) 279.


[7] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 3 (July 2002) 472, 475.


[8] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 67, No. 3 (July 2005) 437.


[9] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 3 (July 2007) 528, 531, 532.


[10] 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) 278.


[11] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 3 (July 2007) 595.


[12] 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 (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft 1999) Editio XXVII. 598-599.


[13] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 3 (July 2007) 573.


[14] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 67, No. 2 (April 2005) 284-302.


[15] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 3 (July 2007) 576.


[16] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 2 (April 2007) 375.


[18] Downers Grove, Illinois,  InterVarsity Press, 2006 146.


[19] Theological Studies, Vol. 67, No. 2 (June 2006) 250.


[20] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 67, No. 3 (July 2005) 540.


[21] Theological Studies, Vol. 67, No. 3 (September 2006) 671.


[22] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 3 (July, 2007) 504, 505.


[23] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 2 (July, 2007) 381.