Forgiveness of guilt within a context of Faith is the theme of these readings. The readings begin with the Acts of the Apostles telling of the marvelous deeds of the Apostles; continue with Psalm 118, a hymn of thanksgiving, on to the Apocalypse unifying suffering, self-esteem, and endurance; concluding with the institution of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The Risen Christ is the sign of reconciliation against the guilt of sin.
As a point of intellectual housekeeping, on January 25, I
pledged to include the Most Reverend Arthur J. Serratelli, S.T.D., S.S.L, D.D.
in these notes for sixty days, which are now completed. Bishop
To my amazement, when I would ask my students at
The Lectionary rightfully explains that signs are
given “that you may come to believe that
The Gospel of John offers several reasons for missing signs: hardness of heart; preferring human to Divine honor; not chosen by the Father. The signs do not force consent. Free will prevails. Some people simply are not good at reading signs. That signs either are not read or are read incorrectly does not mean that signs do not exist. The Acts of the Apostles in general and this passage in particular are designed to point the way to God through the morass of human living and the guilt associated therewith.
Psalm 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24 (1 or alleluia)
The Lectionary uses this Psalm as follows.
Lectionary Verses used
Also treated by me 030420 Easter [E. = Easter] Sunday 42
43A 350-351 2-4, 13-15, 22-24 (1 or alleluia) Today
44B 356-357 2-4, 13-15, 22-24 (1 or alleluia) E. 2
Also treated at 030427 Second Sunday of Easter 44B
45C 362-363 2-4, 13-15, 22-24 (1 or alleluia) E. 2
50B 394-395 1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 28, 29 (22) E. 4
Also treated at 0300511 Fourth Sunday of Easter 50B.
This Psalm begins with a communal liturgical celebration, for example with the House of Israel, the House of Aaron, and those who fear the Lord. After the communal hymn is begun, individuals take over with their tales of experiencing the Lord. The antiphon carries the message, “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.”
The verses about the stone that the builders rejected becoming the cornerstone is a relatively ancient theme of earlier psalms, applied in the New Testament to Christ. The psalmist shifts his tenor from thanksgiving to praise for the rejected people of God. Verse 24, “This is the day the LORD has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it” suggests a hymn of victory from the war metaphors of the royal psalms.
Verses 22 and 23 also suggest laying a new foundation for the temple. To cite a scholar citing a scholar,
the principal function of any temple is to serve as a place for sacrifice, and that sacrifices require the supply of suitable animals … the requirement to sacrifice must always have involved the supply of sacrificial animals, their inspection, and the changing of money.
The sacrifice of
Revelation 1:9-11a, 12-13, 17-19
Verse 9, giving testimony
Key comparisons with well-known translations:
Lectionary (1998): found myself … caught up in spirit
The Vulgate (circa 410): fui … fui in spiritu
The Greek uses the same verb twice.
Douay-Rheims (1582-1610): was … was in the spirit
King James (1611): was … was in the Spirit
Jerusalem (1966): was … the Spirit possessed me
New American (1970): found myself … caught up in spirit
New Jerusalem (1985): was … was in ecstasy
Verse 10 cites two senses, hearing and seeing, those senses most capable of leading the Faithful to the Lord. The other senses function with the first two finding the Lord. The sense of touch is the sense brought out in the Gospel. Guilt is often associated with misuse of the senses. The Apocalypse is about washing out the stain of guilt with the blood of the lamb.
Verse 11, concerning the angel “with a voice like a trumpet” acts not on his own behalf, but as a slave before the Almighty. John, then, records what the angel dictates. The voice of the angel is a sign of reconciliation with the Lord.
A reason to rejoice is that the Faithful are capable of believing without seeing.
In this passage, the Evangelist invites the Faithful to consider their guilt. As the first disciples were afraid of the Jews, so modern disciples bear other fears, often hidden from consciousness. Those first disciples knew of what they feared. Moderns often do not understand their hidden fears. This passage is meant for moderns.
Verse 19 begins “on the evening of that first day of the week,” thereby reflecting the Aramaic-speaking Palestinian church’s preference for the Resurrection, rather than the “after three days” of the Greek-speaking church. New creation, the New Testament or Covenant is the reason for emphasizing the first day of the week. The first day of the week begins creation in Genesis 1:1—2:4a. The church begins a movement toward a cosmic Sabbath reign of God, with the Second coming. The new creation is after guilt is forgiven.
When the Evangelist writes that the doors were locked, those doors can be understood as doors to the subconscious. “Peace be with you,” then refers to peace in a people guilty of disbelieving the meaning of the Resurrection. In authorizing the disciples to forgive sins, Jesus means to exculpate the Faithful even of whatever has sunk from the consciousness, as their minds shield themselves from unpleasant memories.
In conclusion, after the Resurrection, the disciples go wide and far spreading the Gospel of healing and forgiveness of sin. Psalm 118 rejoices in God, our Savior from the ravages of sin, including rejecting the cornerstone. The Apocalypse is about accepting the vision of grace offered by God, not to be deaf to the trumpet sound of the Lord now out of sight. The Gospel of John is about how difficult it can be to believe what God has wrought. The Gospel of John is an encouragement to let go of sin and the guilt that causes more sin and to rejoice always in the Lord.
For more on sources, besides the footnotes, see the Appendix file.
 Since I
do not read Hebrew and my computer does not write Hebrew, *** represents Hebrew
letters in the following text. Hans-Joachim
 François Bovon, “John’s Self-presentation in Revelation 1:9-10," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 4 (October 2000) 696, 698.
 François Bovon, “John’s Self-presentation in Revelation 1:9-10," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 4 (October 2000) 694.
 François Bovon, “John’s Self-presentation in Revelation 1:9-10," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 4 (October 2000) 696.
 Kevin E. Miller, “The Nuptial Eschatology of Revelation 19—22," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 60, No. 2 (April 1998) 307.