These readings are about the Black Apostolate in the United States.  The Faithful share in the supernatural life of Jesus (whom they cannot see) on the Cross in the hope of everlasting life.  It is appropriate, then, for the Faithful to share in the life of Blacks (whom they can see) on the Cross of racism in that same hope of everlasting life.  Liberation theology, which the Magisterium holds in little, if any regard, identifies with the dispossessed, with a preference for the poor.


First Reading: Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41

          Acts 5:30

          Christopher Pramuk, “`Strange Fruit’: Black Suffering/White Revelation”[1]  

          Pramuk takes this verse to identify with the “God of our ancestors [who] raised Jesus.”  Pramuk looks to our ancestors to connect with the historical antecedents of contemporary society.  Pramuk finds Jesus in the Black dimension of society.  Pramuk means that by identifying with Black Suffering by the dominated, there can be a White Revelation of God present in the social milieu.


          Scott W. Hahn, “Covenant, Oath, and the Aqedah: Diaqhkh in Galatians 3:15-18”[2]

          Acts 5:30, hanging him on a tree brings to mind Gen 22:9, he bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.  The Faithful are able to offer themselves through prayer and search for justice as their own daily crosses.


Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11-12, 13

          Psalm 30

Joel S. Burnett, “The Question of Divine Absence in Israelite and West Semitic Religion”[3]

          This is a psalm of thanksgiving for the presence of God in the midst of worship.


          Psalm 30 (2a)

          “I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me,” is an appropriate refrain for the Black Apostolate.  At the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, annual retreat, Black Catholics like the refrain, “God is good all the time; all the time, God is good.”  That does not mean racism is good or that it is good to accept racism when something the Faithful can do something to end it.  Neither is this to lay a guilt trip upon the Faithful for past history; but only to keep the Faithful focused on the goodness of God.


Second Reading: Revelation 5:11-14

          Revelation 5:11, 14

          The Greek for elders also carries a sense of ancestors, even a sense of the Sanhedrin.  Remembering those who have gone before, by making them present, also enables the Faithful to repair the damage from past injustices extending into the present.  One of the functions of historians is to enable the rest of society to repair past damage that still extends into the present.  In that way, a special focus on Black History enables the custodians of culture in the United States to work to remedy past injustices by accepting a national identity inclusive of African Americans.


          Revelation 5:6-14

          Margaret Barker, The Great High Priest: The Temple Roots of Christian Liturgy[4]

          The angels were the servants of Jesus on his throne of glory.  The vision is that when the Lamb of God takes his place in the heavenly assembly, the last judgment will begin.


          Revelation 5:12-13

          United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, United States Catholic Catechism for Adults[5]

          The Bishops use the middle two verses of the Lectionary reading as a fitting conclusion to Chapter 36, “Jesus Taught Us to Pray.”



The unnamed authors of the Lectionary offer no scriptural reference for this alleluia verse. In other words, they made it up.


Gospel: John 21:1-19

          John 21:1-25

          Francis J. Moloney, S.D.B., "Raymond Brown's New Introduction to the Gospel of John A Presentation—And Some Questions"[6]

          John is winding down his Gospel with this Epilogue.  This passage comes after the Book of Glory (13:1—20:31).

          The better opinion among contemporary scholars is that the Beloved Disciple is John.

          This passage looks like the disciples of John have reworked it, but that the passage originates from John, himself.


          John 21:11

          Susan Fournier Mathews, “The Numbers in Daniel 12:11-12: Rounded Pythagorean Plane Numbers?”[7]

          Mathews notes that 1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10+11+12+13+14+15+16+17 = 153.  Mathews builds on this to find some sort of triangular shape to the number of fish the disciples caught. Her article is about numerology, or the study of the use of numbers.  All three sides of the following triangle have 17 spaces.



















          John 21:12

          Kelli O'Brien, "Written That You May Believe: John 20 and Narrative Rhetoric”[8]

          Scholars wonder what John was doing, if John did not recognize Jesus making breakfast.  The answer is that the Beloved Disciple is revealing his imperfections, so that the Faithful, with their imperfections, might also become disciples.


          John 21:15-17

          United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, United States Catholic Catechism for Adults[9]

          The Bishops use this passage to enhance their authority in Chapter 10, “The Church: Reflecting the Light of Christ.”


          John 21:15-17

          John E. Thiel, “For What May We Hope? Thoughts on the Eschatological Imagination”[10]

          When everyone had settled down after having breakfast, Jesus asked Peter three times whether Peter loved him.  Rather than continuing questioning Peter, Jesus then placed Peter in charge of his Church.  The point is that John is bringing in the Faithful by showing that serious mistakes do not prevent one from being Faithful, eventually.


          John 21:15-19

          United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, United States Catholic Catechism for Adults[11]

          Within the context of Jesus forgiving Peter for denying him, the Bishops write, “the Sacrament of Penance must be seen within the context of conversion from sin and a turn to God.”  Such a conversion has special meaning in a racist society.



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



[1] Theological Studies, Vol. 67, No. 2 (June 2006) 357.


[2] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 67, No. 1 (January 2005) 92.


[3] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 67, No. 2 (April 2005) 229.


[4] London: T & T Clark International: A Continuum imprint, 2003 30, 39.


[5] Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2006 495.


[6] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 65, No 1 (January 2003) 4, 11. 15, 16.


[7] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 63, No. 4 (October 2001) 635.


[8] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 67, No. 2 (April 2005) 298, 300.


[9] Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2006 112, 121.


[10] Theological Studies, 67, #3 (September 2006) 534.


[11] Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2006 236.