While the Church ranks Easter above Christmas, the Faithful celebrate Christmas more than Easter. Why? Perhaps because the baby Jesus is non-threatening, whereas the resurrected Christ comes not only to save, but also to judge. Courage as the unknown aspect of the Last Judgment is part of the Christian life.
Courage is possible for both stupid and sophisticated purposes. Courage as a means, never justifies an end. Sophistication requires knowledge and prudence. Insofar as governing is concerned, prudence may be more important than knowledge. That no president of the United States has ever held an earned doctoral degree supports this thesis. Many pontiffs, however, have held earned doctorates. At the bottom line, the courage of one’s convictions is always appropriate, no matter what those convictions may be.
Courage in the face of not understanding suits these
readings. The prophets looked forward to
the life of
Such courage is present, now. In the Gospel,
Many times the survivors will comment that the recently departed faced illness with courage. Nuns such as the Poor Clares, and others like them, exemplify courage in the face of not understanding whatever it may be that lies ahead. And not caring, at least to the point of taking vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and enclosure.
Isaiah 49:3, 5-6
In the missing verse 4, Isaiah lets the Lord know that he
does not at all understand his life, if things are as good as his prophecies
indicate. All Isaiah asks for is mercy
from his God in his own case. Verse 3
shifts from the Messiah as an individual to the Messiah as the people
themselves, my servant,
Isaiah 49:1-11 refers to the Exodus.
restore the survivors of Israel refers to surviving the Exodus. For the Faithful, such a survival refers to
passage from this life into the next. The
Exodus journey ends in
Psalm 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10
The prayer behind Psalm 40 sounds like Isaiah and the Faithful gathering courage as they face what they do not understand. I have waited for the LORD, and he…heard my cry. The Lectionary also uses Psalm 40 as follows:
Reading Page verses Sunday
64A 504-505 2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10 (8a and 9a ) Ordinary 2 = Today
65B 508 2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10 (8a and 9a ) Ordinary 2
78C 574 only the antiphon (Psalm 40:5a) Ordinary 6
120C 781 2, 3, 4, 18 (14b) Ordinary 20
The missing verse 3, spelled out in Cycle C, explains why the psalmist needs courage in the face of not understanding. The psalmist shares where he has been, namely in the pit of destruction…the mud of the swamp.
1 Corinthians 1:1-3
While verses 1-3 make the Church at
Not understanding what either the Word becoming flesh or becoming children of God, does take courage as the Faithful live out their lives. There is enough evidence for the Faithful to understand that God is good, without understanding the tsunami Satanic evil, even in the recesses of their own hearts at the level of the unconscious. Facing their own faults squarely requires courage from the Faithful.
The Lectionary twists the order of
In verse 30, the one of whom I said, connotes the one for whom I spoke.
In verses 31 and 33,
Though there is scholarly dispute over the symbolism,
Not understanding often requires courage. People in authority often cannot explain why
they head in the direction the Faithful follow.
Sometimes the Faithful require courage when it seems as if the Ship of
Church is headed over some
Isaiah 40:6 expresses hope filled courage to accept God
saying I will make you a light to the
nations. The Responsorial antiphon, I come to do your will is an act of
courage in the face of not understanding the wait for the LORD. 1 Corinthians is the hopeful calm before the
storm. What 1 Corinthians 1:3 means by grace to you and peace from God our Father
For more on sources see the Appendix file.
 Richard J. Clifford, S.J., “The Unity of the Book of Isaiah and Its Cosmogonic Language," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 55, No. 1 (January 1993 ) 3.
 Richard J. Clifford, S.J., “The Unity of the Book of Isaiah and Its Cosmogonic Language," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 55, No. 1 (January 1993 ) 4.
 Jerome Murphy-O'Connor, O.P., “Tradition and Redaction in 1 Cor 15:3-7," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 43, No. 4 (October 1981) 588.
 Benjamin Fiore, S.J., “`Covert Allusion’ in 1 Corinthians 1—4," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 47, No. 1 (January 1985) 85-102.
 Maximilian Zerwick, S.J., English Edition adapted from the Fourth Latin Edition by Joseph Smith, S.J., Scripta Pontificii Instituti Biblico—114—Biblical Greek (Roma: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico, 1994) 129.
 Stanley B. Marrow, “KosmoV in John," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 1 (January 2002), 97.
 Maximilian Zerwick, S.J., English Edition adapted from the Fourth Latin Edition by Joseph Smith, S.J., Scripta Pontificii Instituti Biblico—114—Biblical Greek (Roma: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico, 1994) 31.