The Church makes the Psalm and Gospel Lectionary readings for today available for Funerals. The Gospel is also available for Pastoral Care of the Sick. Zephaniah is about choosing to live in obscurity with God, rather than human adulation, without God. Corinthians takes the same tack. What matters is the decisions the Faithful make in order to keep God the focus of their lives.
In his Christmas letter this year, Father Robert DeGrandis, S.S.J., writes,
I have noticed many friends and relatives going to the Lord in death, and it has made an impression on me. Since Christmas is the celebration of new life, I thought it appropriate to focus on our eternal destiny of a new life in heaven. A recent newspaper article states that people are getting away from religious funerals and have celebration of the person’s life without any reference to their spiritual life. We need to be rooted in our spiritual journey to eternal life. I trust this will be helpful to see Christmas in a Spiritual perspective.
Material above the double line draws from material below the double line. Those uninterested in scholarly details should stop reading here. If they do, however, they may miss some of the fun stuff scholars are digging up.
Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12-13
Psalm 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10 (
1 Corinthians 1:26-31
1 Cor 1:20-28
1 Cor 1:28
Jeremy Corley, “The
Corley translates to
reduce to nothing as to be made
ineffective. Corley then observes that this verb occurs twenty-two times in
the undisputed letters of
1 Cor 1:30
Robert H. Gundry, review of Jung Hoon Kim, The
Significance of Clothing Imagery in the
Gundry has an interesting sidelight. “The interpretation
of putting on Christ as being clothed with his righteousness labors under the
1 Cor 1:30
This is where the Beatitudes are found, the first one of which is Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they shall see God.
Jack Dean Kingsbury, “Observations on the `Miracle Chapters’ of Matthew 8-9”
Kingsbury writes, “… it is in his capacity as the Son of God that Jesus Messiah both delivers the Sermon on the Mount in chapters 5—7 and undertakes in Chapters 8—9 his ministry of healing.” JustFaith and other parish ministries, thereby help the Faithful make decisions designed to please God.
Are the Beatitudes entrance requirements, or are they promises of eschatological blessings? Are they to be understood in terms of a Marxist social analysis (political language) or in terms of the formation of character (virtue ethics)? … “Matthew is a theological, not a political, document,” Talbert asserts (p. 48), thus eliminating some of the most challenging and arresting commentary on the Beatitudes from the perspectives of liberation theology and the peace movement …”
In other words, Talbert skips over and obfuscates the most important modern issues of today.
Daniel J. Harrington, S.J., review of Robert L. Brawley (ed.), Character Ethics and the New Testament: Moral Dimensions of Scripture
Some scholars in this book maintain that the Beatitudes express “the values and virtues that should be most prominent in Christian character ethics.” Other scholars look elsewhere than the Beatitudes for moral guidance. For example, some postulate that the New Testament shows the way for moral guidance in the very search for wisdom.
Navarro describes the Beatitudes as “the divine promise.” The Beatitudes are a matter of the hearts of the Faithful joined to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, rather than any singularly materialistic endeavor.
Quarles argues that the first Beatitude, blessed are the poor … is an unconvincing tool used to determine the independence of the Gospel of Thomas from the Synoptics.
Margaret Barker, The Great High Priest: The
Barker associated inheriting the land with the promised Jewish Jubilee.
Brodie is looking for an unknown document upon which Matthew relies. Brodie stretches his argument beyond where scholars will engage him.
The Bishops summon Matthew 5:7, Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy in Chapter 36, “Jesus Taught Us to Pray,” in the section “Forgive Us Our Trespasses as We Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us.”
Khaled Anatolios, "Oppositional Pairs and Christological Synthesis: Rereading Augustine's De Trinitate”
Anatolios writes, “Faith and hope are consistenly [sic] aligned with purification, which is also differentiated from sight, with reference to the evangelical beatitude: “Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God” (Mt 5:8).” I do not know what Anatolios means.
Margaret Barker, The Great High Priest: The
To say that … contemplation of the face of God is an element drawn from `the vision of the mysteries, a Hellenistic literary touch’ or that `certain elements of (Clement’s gnosis) undoubtedly derived from Hellenism, notably those of vision, contemplation and archetypes,’ is known to have been associated with Jesus, who had himself said: `Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God’ (Matt. 5:8).
Barker is making a case that Christian virtue emanates from Jesus, rather than Aristotle.
Barker also points out what purity meant.
The question of ritual purity and the presence of the angels was a problem. None of Aaron’s descendants who was in any way blemished could `approach to offer the bread of his God’ (Lev. 21:16-23). In the Mishnah these restrictions were defined even more closely and applied to all who served in the temple. A man afflicted with a turnip-shaped head, for example, was excluded, as were the bald, those with little eyes like a goose, and the knock-kneed. There was an extensive list of physical blemished that rendered a man unfit for the company of the angels (m. Bekhoroth 7:1-7). It must have been this emphasis on the externals of purity which prompted Jesus’ teaching about the purity required for his priests, those who would look on the Face: `Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God’ (Matt. 5:8).
Ulrich uses Matthew 5:11-12 to write that “Jesus describes future emissaries as `prophets’ and emphasizes their continuity with the righteous prophets of the past.”
The Bishops diverge, presenting verse 11 one way in their Lectionary and another way in their Catechism. The Lectionary lacks parentheses, utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me, where the Catechism uses parentheses, utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me. Such unexplained inconsistency damages the credibility of the hierarchy.
Verse 8 is also inconsistent. The Lectionary has Blessed are the clean of heart, where the Catechism has Blessed are the clean of heart (or pure of heart). Ignoring the difference shakes the credibility of the hierarchy, again. When the Catechism again quotes verse 8, the parentheses are omitted.
For more on sources see the Appendix file.
For an after-action report on these Readings, see the After-action Report for Readings 28A for the Third Sunday in Lent, February 24, 2008.
N.a., International Commission on English in the Liturgy: A Joint Commission
of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences, The Roman Ritual: Revised by Decree of the Second Vatican Ecumenical
Council and published by Authority of Pope
Roman Ritual: Revised by Decree of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and
Published by Authority of Pope
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 1 (January 2007) 85.
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 1 (January 2004) 260.
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 1 (January 2006) 148.
 Theological Studies, Vol. 67, No. 2 (June 2006) 244.
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 4 (October 1978) 565 ff.
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 2 (April 2007) 376.
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 4 (October 2007) 857.
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 2 (April 2006) 347.
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 3 (July 2007) 519, 523.
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 4 (October 2006) 757.
 Theological Studies, Vol. 68, No. 2 (April 2006) 241.
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 1 (January 2007) 79.