Mixed metaphors characterize these readings.  One metaphor is that of the bride, namely the Faithful, whom Jesus marries.[1]  The bride as the Faithful is the greatest gift the Father gives Jesus.  In this metaphor, there is some sort of equality between Jesus as groom and the Faithful as bride.

 

The other metaphor is one of subservience as either sheep to shepherd or slave to master.  Psychologically, subservience includes unfulfilled wishes that invite defense mechanisms such as anxiety, neurosis, and other pathologies.  Subservience also includes protection against those very pathologies of unfulfilled wishes.

 

The outcome of the mixed metaphors of equality and subservience is well expressed in the glory of the Cross.  The readings point to eternal life as the fulfillment of every unfulfilled wish.  To be with Jesus is the overwhelming satisfaction of the life of grace with God.

 

Acts 13:14, 43-52

These readings are about serious unfulfilled wishes for the People of God, the Jews.  What Paul and Barnabas wish for the Jews results in persecution.  Without invoking defense mechanism, realizing and accepting what has happened, Paul and Barnabas turn to us, the Gentiles.

 

Verse 45

Lectionary (1998):                        jealousy … with violent abuse

The Vulgate (circa 410):               zelo … blasphemantes

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):        envy … blaspheming         

King James (1611):                      envy … blaspheming

Jerusalem (1966):                        jealousy … blasphemies

New American (1970):                 jealousy … with violent abuse

New Jerusalem (1985):                jealousy … blasphemies

 

Acts uses strong language.

 

Psalm 100: 1-2, 3, 5

The Lectionary uses this Psalm as follows.

 

Readings      Page in

                     Lectionary     Verses used

                    

51C              399               1-2, 3, 5                                       (3c)          Today

91A               634-5            1-2, 3, 5                                       (3c)          Ordinary 11

19                 1079                 2, 3, 5                                      (3c)          Common Texts

 

“We are his people, the sheep of his flock” means to be with Jesus is the overwhelming satisfaction of the life of grace with God.

 

Verse 5

Lectionary (1998):                        faithfulness

The Vulgate (circa 410):               veritas

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):        truth (Psalm 99)

King James (1611):                      truth

Jerusalem (1966):                        faithfulness

New American (1970):                 faithfulness

New Jerusalem (1985):                faithful love…constancy

 

Associating truth, faithfulness, love, and constancy with the Good Shepherd is great consolation.

 

Revelation 7:9, 14b-17

14. Funerals for Baptized Children uses this reading.  The reading contains both the marriage and the subservient metaphors.  Another mixed metaphor is washing something in blood and having it turn out white.

 

Verse 14b    

Lectionary (1998):                        white

The Vulgate (circa 410):               dealbaverunt

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):        white

King James (1611):                      white

Jerusalem (1966):                        white

New American (1970):                 white

New Jerusalem (1985):                white

 

Contrary to the ordinary sense of the reading, washing anything in blood does not make it white.  The meaning exists in the use of metaphor.  The Lamb becomes a shepherd, meaning that unfulfilled wishes become fulfilled.  More primarily this means that the very wishes of the Father are fulfilled, rather than frustrated in the Faithful.  In a similar manner, the unfulfilled wishes of the Faithful are fulfilled in the blood of the Lamb.

 

John 10:14

The Faithful can know God in a manner analogous to the way in which a sheep knows the shepherd.  There is a sense of protection and fulfillment under the crook of the shepherd.

 

John 10:27-30

The Greek in the less corrupt manuscripts does not have it that the Father is greater than all; but rather that the Faithful are a greater gift to Jesus than anything else is.  This unity of love with God is the overwhelming satisfaction of the life of grace with God.

 

Verse 27 about the sheep recognizing the voice of the shepherd is about Mary Magdalene recognizing the resurrected Jesus as the gardener.  Mary is one of the sheep of the Good Shepherd.  Every unfulfilled wish of Mary is satisfied with the love by and for Jesus.  Jesus is not revealing himself to everyone but only to those who love and obey him.  His revelation is individual and one by one.[2]

 

Verse 29

Lectionary (1998):                        My Father … is greater than all

The Vulgate (circa 410):               Pater meus … maius omnibus est

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):        That which my Father hath given me is greater                                                     than all

King James (1611):                      My Father … is greater than all

Jerusalem (1966):                        The Father … is greater than anyone

New American (1970):                 My Father … is greater than all

New Jerusalem (1985):                The Father … is greater than anyone

 

These readings are about the life of grace with Jesus.  Acts tells about trying to do one thing, namely bring the Gospel to the Chosen People, and, in frustration, turning to us, the Gentiles.  Constancy in the love of God carries the message.  Psalm 100 is about the Good Shepherd protecting the Faithful in their love, even when that love is misunderstood.  Revelation and John are about self-esteem despite things going badly; the Faithful are a type of wedding gift from the Father for Jesus, the Son.  The totality of the readings means to be with Jesus is the overwhelming satisfaction of the life of grace with God.

 

 

For more on sources, besides the footnotes, see the Appendix file.

 



[1] Kevin E. Miller, “The Nuptial Eschatology of Revelation 19-22,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 60, No. 2 (April 1998) 310-312.

 

[2] Richard Bauckham, Gospel Women: Studies of the Named Women in the Gospels (Grand Rapids, Michigan/ Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002) 284.