[RJJ1] These Personal Notes will continue for sixty days waiting for a response from the Most Reverend Arthur J. Serratelli, S.T.D., S.S.L, D.D. who was recently appointed head of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Review of [liturgical] Scripture Translations by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  My purpose is to improve scholarly use of the Lectionary, at least by improving documentation of verses used.  While waiting for a reply, I will note discrepancies because they are discrepancies.


For example, in the readings for this Sunday, Nehemiah 8:10 uses nostro!  in the Nova Vulgata but your, without an exclamation point in the Lectionary.  The Nova Vulgata is the basic approved liturgical text.  Greek does not use exclamation points.  More seriously, the Responsorial Rx for both Reading 69C and 105C are the same, yet the documentation is different (cf. John 6:63c) versus (9a).  Where Jerome, the official Liturgical Bible, uses adiutor, the Lectionary uses rock.  Note verse 21, where the Nova Vulgata uses the exclamation, but the Lectionary does not.


Just as the audience for these Notes is special, so was the audience for Nehemiah, Paul, Isaiah, and Jesus himself.  God does not invite everyone to the banquet table of grace in the same way.  God offers different opportunities to different souls.  Being part of the Assembly of God is the glory of it all.


Nehemiah 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10


Within the context of Ezra, assembly refers to those whose ancestors returned from Exile.[1]  The assembly is a very special group of people.  There is some tension here between the priests and the prophet, with the prophet Nehemiah implicitly portrayed as the more righteous.  Anti-clericalism is a similar tension between the educated Faithful and the professional clergy.  Tension is no problem.  Neither is dealing with tension.  God wants the Faithful to glorify him in much the same way as Jesus did, accepting the tensions inherent in the assembly following truth against political correctness, no matter where they lead, even to the cross.



Verse 10

Lectionary (1998):                        your

The Vulgate (circa 410):               nostro!

Bishop Serratelli: the use of exclamation points differs between Jerome and the Lectionary.

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):         our

King James (1611):                      your

Jerusalem (1966):                        our

New American (1970):                  your

New Jerusalem (1985):                our


Like the Lectionary, Carroll Stuhlmueller, C.P. translates verse 9, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep.”[2]  There is a shifting back and forth of pronouns through this passage.  Stuhlmueller links Nehemiah with Psalm 95 that is used elsewhere in readings 25, 71, 127, and 141.


Just because the Faithful confront tensions among themselves does not make any day less joyous.  Faith accepts the covenant that God will make things aright eventually.


Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 15


The Lectionary uses this Psalm in the following places:


Readings      Page in         Verses used



   29B            183               8, 9, 10, 11 (John 6:68c)              Lent 3

   41ABC       335               8, 9, 10, 11 (John 6:58c)              Easter Vigil

   69C           527               8, 9, 10, 15 (cf. John 6:63c)         Ordinary 3

105C             706               8, 9, 10, 11 (9a)                           Ordinary 15


Bishop Serratelli: The Responsorial Rx for both Reading 69C and 105C are the same, yet the documentation is different (cf. John 6:63c) versus (9a).

137B             861               8, 10, 12-13, 14 (9a),


Bishop Serratelli: Documentation for the Responsorial Rx for both Reading 105C and 137B are exactly the same [(9a)], yet the antiphon is different in each instance.


Here is another translation of these verses in smoother American English:[3]


verse 8          The Torah of Yhwh is perfect, reviving the soul;

                               the testimony of Yhwh is trustworthy, making the simple one wise.

verse 9          The precepts of Yhwh are upright, bringing joy to the heart;

                               the commandment of Yhwh is brilliant, giving light to the eyes.

verse 10        The fear of Yhwh is radiant, enduring forever;

                               the ordinances of Yhwh are truth; they are altogether righteous.

verse 11        they are more desirable than gold, than fine gold in abundance;

                               they are sweeter than honey and the honeycomb.



The Jews honored the law that gave them direction.  The present assembly of the righteous also values the law, the law more and more understood as a law of nurturing love rather than a law of competitive bargaining.


Verse 15

Lectionary (1998):                        rock

The Vulgate (circa 410):               adiutor

Bishop Serratelli: where Jerome uses adiutor, the Lectionary uses rock.

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):         (Psalm 18) helper

King James (1611):                      (Psalm 19:14) strength

Jerusalem (1966):                        (verse 14) Rock

New American (1970):                  rock

New Jerusalem (1985):                rock


That God is the rock of salvation is both a personal and group comfort.  The religious assembly enjoys a helper like the Rock of Gibraltar, steady, steadfast, and able.


1 Corinthians 12:12-30


The Lectionary avoids those Corinthian passages, Rom 15:14, 2 Cor 7:4, 2 Cor 7:16, 2 Cor 9:1-2, Gal 5:10, 2 Thess 3:4, and Phlm 21, whereby Saint Paul expresses his own self-confidence.[4]  There is confidence in the Gospel passage for these readings whereby Saint Luke assures Theophilus that the Gospel is correct.  Jesus determines what it means to be the Messiah.  Messiahship does not determine who Jesus is.  The crucifixion of Jesus was an injustice and a misrepresentation of how Jesus loved.[5]  The assembly of the People of God is privileged to understand this means of coping with the vicissititudes of life.


Rosarium Virginia Mariae, the October 16, 2002 Apostolic Letter by Pope John Paul II, refers to these readings in 1 Corinthians that are spelled out for the Fifth Sunday of Easter May 18, 2003 and here.  In his enthusiasm, the Pope writes as if Mary were not conducting her school that Jesus attended.  The risk is that parents kowtow too much to their children, thereby surrendering the prudence parents acquire because of age.  The idea of a parent conforming to a child requires careful understanding in practical day-to-day family life.  The Assembly of God is precious for its innocence, not for its naivety.


Bishop Serratelli: note verse 21, where the Nova Vulgata uses the exclamation point, but the Lectionary does not.



Verse 21

Lectionary (1998):                        “I do not need you.” … “I do not need you.”

The Vulgate (circa 410):               “Non es mihi necessaria!” … “Non estis mihi necessarii!”

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):         I need not thy help. … I have no need of you.

King James (1611):                      I have no need of thee:…I have no need of you.

Jerusalem (1966):                        “I do not need you,”…”I do not need you.”

New American  (1970):                 “I do not need you,”…”I do not need you.”

New Jerusalem  (1985):               `I have no need of you,’…`I have no need of you.’


Verses 23-24

Lectionary (1998):                        propriety…presentable

The Vulgate (circa 410):               honestatem…honesta

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):         comeliness…comely

King James (1611):                      comeliness…comely

Jerusalem (1966):                        proper…proper

New American (1970):                  propriety…presentable

New Jerusalem (1985):                presentable…presentable


As precious as the Assembly of the People of God is, the People of God need one another to work out their salvation. Tensions within the Assembly suit the Divine purposes.  Like Jesus, everyone is to look to the Father for solicitude, comfort, and direction.


cf. Luke 4:18


Joanna appears in the New Testament at Luke 8:3 and 24:10 implicitly as an apostle. Luke 8:3 reads, “With him went the Twelve, as well as certain women . . . Joanna the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza . . . ”  Bringing good news to the poor and liberation to the oppressed was something new for an aristocratic woman like Joanna and not like the last 60s Galilean popular revolt against Rome.  In giving a priority toward the poor, Joanna was not revolting against Roman authority.[6]  Contemporary Faithful have different insights, insights analogous to those of Joanna, insights misunderstood, but held to in the name of God Almighty.


Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21


The first four verses of Luke apply to the whole Gospel, not just the snippet that follows in the reading, Luke 4:14-21.  Luke is more the historian than the other Evangelists are.  Luke was probably open to how women passed down and necessarily interpreted the traditions.  Women were commissioned by the risen Christ himself to spread the word and as such were authoritative apostolic witnesses.  Androcentrism need not be assumed in the Gospel narratives.[7]  The assembly includes everyone.


Luke refers to what many had written on the topic of Jesus, just as his contemporary writers wrote that many had written on other topics.  Filling out the context helps improve the enormity of the Good News.  Hebrews 1:1-2 makes a shift whereby something unheard of happens, God talks through a Son.[8]  The Lectionary uses Hebrews 1:1-2 on Christmas, Mass During the Day.


Verses 1:2 and 4:20

For minister the Greek uses a word that means helping to row a boat.


Lectionary (1998):                        ministers…attendant

The Vulgate (circa 410):               ministri…ministro

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):         ministers…minister

King James (1611):                      ministers…minister

Jerusalem (1966):                        ministers…assistant

New American (1970):                  ministers…attendant

New Jerusalem  (1985):               ministers…assistant


Another translation from verse 2, “as those handed them on to us who were eye-witnesses from the beginning and became servants of the word.”[9]


Verse 1 may be translated, “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compose a narrative concerning the events which have been brought to their fruition among us.”[10]


Verse 4 may come across as, “so that you might come to appreciate the certainty of the instruction you have received.”


These readings are part of the wonderment of God sharing his insights with the Faithful Assembly.  In Nehemiah, God, after hiding his law for a while, has it read by the prophets to the Faithful.  The Psalm sings the praise of the Father, whose words are spirit and life and whose words the Father privileges the Faithful to hear.  Paul, who has the cross in the background, fits the cross of getting along together into the Divine Plan. In the Gospel, Jesus himself announces that in these readings the messianic prophecy prioritizing the poor is fulfilled.



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

[1] David Janzen, Politics, “Settlement, and Temple Community in Persian-Period Yehud,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 3 (July 2002) 492.


[2] Carroll Stuhlmueller, C.P., The Spirituality of the Psalms (Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 2002) ISBN 0-8146-2599 15.


[3] 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) 254.

[4] Stanley N. Olson, “Pauline Expressions of confidence in His Addresses," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 47, No. 2 (April 1985) 283.


[5] Brendan Byrne, S.J., “Jesus as Messiah in the Gospel of Luke: Discerning a Pattern of Correction,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 65, No. 1 (January 2003), 82, 95.

[6] Richard Bauckham, Gospel Women: Studies of the Named Women in the Gospels (Grand Rapids, Michigan/ Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002) 150.


[7] Richard Bauckham, Gospel Women: Studies of the Named Women in the Gospels (Grand Rapids, Michigan/ Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002) 302-303.


[8] Craig R. Koester, “Hebrews, Rhetoric, and the Future of Humanity,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 1 (January 2002) 108.


[9] Translation by Richard J. Dillon,” Previewing Luke’s Project from His Prologue (Luke 1:1-4)," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 43, No. 2 (April 1981) 214.


[10] Translation by Richard J. Dillon, Previewing Luke’s Project from His Prologue (Luke 1:1-4)," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 43, No. 2 (April 1981) 206.

 [RJJ1]Add Stuhlmueller, the Third Principle, cf. 127A 020909