How to be aware of the presence of God is the question I intend to examine during this Liturgical Cycle B. By analogy and metaphor, God is present in three encompassing ways: prophetic, liturgical, and wisdom. The prophetic way is historical. The Middle Eastern Jewish prophets find the presence of God in the large empires that affect them: Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian. Among the synoptic gospels, the Gospel of Luke best follows the Isaian interpretation of the prophetic history of Israel from about 750 to 500 B.C.
The liturgical presence of God is in the historical
Wisdom, in the First Testament offers the presence of God as an attractive woman. To seek her is to find her. Such is the presence in these Personal Notes as both author and readers seek to find God through knowing the sacred word. In the Ancient Near East, Wisdom was a gift of the gods, concerned with practice, rather than theory. The Gospel of John is about the Word made flesh. The Gospel of John emphasizes the wisdom presence of God, as do these Personal Notes.
In the Johannine Gospel for today, the two disciples
The reading from 1
Psalm 40:2 points out that God has ears, in that God can hear, hear the voice of the psalmist and of the Faithful. In Psalm 40:4, God teaches the Faithful to sing as they renew his presence in their sight. More explicitly, Psalm 40:7 uses the word ears to urge the Faithful to listen for the holy word of God. For the ancients, listening was more important than reading, but Psalm 40:8 refers to the written scroll, as well. Beyond hearing and seeing, Wisdom comports good rule. The Hebrew for justice in Psalm 40:10 is not about weighing right and wrong against external criteria, but is about doing the will of God, the religious criteria for justice.
In 1 Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20, Saint Paul explains
Christian wisdom as involving commitment to God. I am disturbed because
Verse 13c is about the resurrection of the body. The Corinthians had a slogan about the stomach being for the body and the body being for the stomach, but that both would ultimately perish. As Jeffrey R. Asher words it, “According to ancient psysiognomics [sic], the size of one’s belly was indicative of gluttony, slavery to one’s sexual appetite, and lack of intelligence.” Paul, with his New Testament Wisdom, insists that the body, including the stomach, would rise again. The resurrected body would be a new kind of body, but a body at that.
1 Corinthians 6:14 causes some trouble for the phrase
that God will also raise us by his power. Since
The critical apparatus for the Greek for the Lectionary
1 Corinthians has at least nine variations in the original manuscripts, lending
uncertainty similar to
In 1 Corinthians 6:18, the Greek has a colon where the
Lectionary uses a comma and Saint
Jerome uses a semi-colon, after every
other sin a person commits is outside the body. In 1 Corinthians 6:20, the Greek has a colon
where the Lectionary uses a period and
Also in 1 Corinthians 6:14, the Greek for will also raise, mentioned above, is inconsistent from manuscript to manuscript. At least two other variations, besides the one accepted, are in the original manuscripts. The simple future tense, used by the Lectionary and accepted by the Greek scholars is easy enough to understand; but what about the future aorist tense that may be involved with the two variations? To me, future aorist would mean an act already completed, but in the future. My point is to be gentle with whatever Wisdom the Faithful may ascribe to the Word. God continues to make his presence known in mysterious ways.
In the broader scope, 1 Corinthians is very sexual in nature, readings that the Lectionary also exculpates from Sunday teaching. An article in The American Historical Review observes the following:
In short, many medieval Christians
believed, as so many other societies have done, that the transition from
“other” to “self” (in this case, from infidel and alien to
The Lectionary readings are also about who
belongs to the Church.
At John 1:42, Jesus says, “You are Simon the son of John; you will be
called Cephas”—which is translated Peter.
In summary, the readings for this Sunday are about
divine Wisdom, listening for what God wants in 1 Samuel. Meanwhile, the Faithful recognize that not
only does God listen to humans, but God also expects humans to listen to God. 1 Corinthians explains that the sexual nature
of humanity, along with all of human nature, forms an acceptable offering to
God. Finally, the Gospel of John
triggers the Wisdom of discipleship as
For more on sources see the Appendix file. Personal Notes are on the web site at www.western-civilization.com/CBQ/Personal%20Notes
 Richard Clifford, S.J. and Khaled Anatolois, "Christian Salvation: Biblical and Theological Perspectives," Theological Studies, Vol. 66, No. 4 (December 2005) 739-769.
 J. Ross Wagner, “From the Heavens to the Heart: The Dynamics of Psalm 19 as Prayer," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 61, No. 2 (April 1999) 251.
 Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, O.P., “Interpolations in 1 Corinthians," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 48, No. 1 (January 1986) 85-87.
 See http://www.w3.org/People/cmsmcq/1991/ai1w02.html#ab2b3b3b3b4b5b2b1b2b1 for the future aorist.
David Nirenberg, “Conversion, Sex, and Segregation: Jews and Christians in