In academic circles, debate is fruitful for better understanding of anything.
1 Corinthians waives that aside in verses 4 and 5 with a demonstration of Spirit and the power of God. Politics determines truth legitimately, when the politics rests on the power of God, Almighty. The problem with which the Faithful must contend is discerning what is Divine and what human. The Church and her representatives are useful as guides, but, as the recent sex-related scandals attest, not always as trustworthy guides. In other words, God gives the Faithful minds that God expects the Faithful to use.
Isaiah begins the readings by directing the Faithful to be good towards those they can reach. Isaiah promises Divine Justice, as does Psalm 112. Judging behavior in the light of the holy God is challenging, yet necessary.
1 Corinthians presents a further challenge for understanding the readings in the light of justice. Paul, who himself is very educated, tells the Faithful two things; to imitate him and not to value education. Matthew goes on to admonish the Faithful to be the salt of the earth, something relatively impossible without education, which leads to debate.
By saving and passing 1 Corinthians down from
generation to generation, the Christian community first accepts the uncertainty
and tension between honoring the education of Saint Paul and, second, accepting
the limited value of education toward understanding the Word of God. Courage in the face of this uncertainty is
required. All five readings for this
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time combine courage with uncertainty associated with human
knowledge. In 1990, the President of the
Catholic Biblical Association,
The Catholic Biblical Association devotes itself to knowledge of the Bible. Wcela spoke at the fifty-third general meeting of the Association. Wcela observed that, in the United States, college graduates do not know the Bible any better than non-graduates do. That notwithstanding, there was a difference. Non-graduates read the Bible more frequently than graduates did and nothing better predicted participation in parish life than such frequency. Frequency of Bible reading and belief in the inspired nature of the Bible decreased with education.
Involvement in Bible and prayer groups, however, increased
with education. In 1978 almost twenty
percent of the Faithful, whether Catholic or not, in the
Accepting courage in the midst of uncertainty is required, therefore, to make judgment of behavior possible in the light of the holy God. The readings today call for such judgment.
Where Isaiah writes of bestowing bread upon the hungry in
verses 7 and 10, Christians add the Eucharistic Bread of Life. Where Isaiah writes of your light breaking
forth like the dawn in verse 8 and 10, Christians add the death and
In verse 7, the Vulgate uses a question mark.
Lectionary (1998): do not turn your back on your own.
The Vulgate (circa 410): vagos inducere in domum?
Douay-Rheims (1582-1610): despise not thy own flesh
New American (1970): and not turning your back on your own.
New Jerusalem (1985): and not to turn away from your own kin?
Evidently, Isaiah is asking a rhetorical question that the Lectionary turns into a statement.
Psalm 112:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
This is the only place the Lectionary uses Psalm 112. Psalm 112 is one of the acrostic psalms, following a rhythm of two to five accents. Because it is acrostic, Psalm 112 is a wisdom psalm, not overly given to emotion. The Responsorial antiphon, the just man is a light is a call to think as well as emote. Facing the reality of death does require wisdom when emotion offers no rationale.
Verse 8b does not seem to jibe with the Vulgate.
Lectionary (1998): he shall not fear
The Vulgate (circa 410): donec despiciat inimicos suos.
Douay-Rheims (1582-1610): he shall not be moved until he look [sic] over his enemies
New American (1970): till at last they look down on their foes.
New Jerusalem (1985): till he can gloat over his enemies.
The Lectionary should refer to 8a, 9, rather than 8-9. The Lectionary omits the second half of verse 8, 8b. Sloppy scholarship. Judging the scholarly behavior exhibited in the Lectionary in the light of the holy God is challenging. The challenge affects how the Faithful are able to understand the Holy Word of God.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5
1 Corinthians 2:1 begins with a reference to the mystery of God, which is something not
to be understood by human learning. The
Elsewhere in 1 Corinthians
The readings stop before 1 Corinthians 2:6—But still, to those who have reached maturity, we do talk of a wisdom, not, it is true, a philosophy of this age or of the rulers of this age, who will not last long now. 1 Corinthians 2:6 is not sarcastic. Paul does present wisdom, the wisdom of the Cross. Judging behavior in the light of the holy God is challenging.
In verse 13,
In verse 15, the lamp…set on a lampstand can also be translated as they light a candle and set it on a candlestick. General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) indexes candles in eleven paragraphs. Some of the Latin translations appear unreasonable, for example in spiritu humilitatis for Lord God, we ask you to receive us. Even Et cum spiritu tuo for And also with you. GRIM lists neither an author nor a translator. Problems translating GIRM from contemporary Latin to American English reflect badly upon the problems translating ancient Sacred Scripture.
The following sentence makes me wonder whether the Deacon is supposed to incense the cross and altar. “Lastly, if incense is used, he [the Deacon] assists the priest in putting some into the thurible and in incensing the cross and the altar.” The lack of parallel construction around the conjunction, and, makes this professor wonder about the competency in written English of whoever wrote and proof read that sentence. More sloppy scholarship.
My concern for academic rigor in the Lectionary is expressed in the various comparisons between the Lectionary and other translations. The whole offers a level of uncertainty that does require courage both to face and to keep Faith in the Church. Judging behavior in the light of the holy God is challenging.
Verse 16, your light must shine before others does not seem to jibe with the Vulgate.
Lectionary (1998): Just so, your light must shine before others
The Vulgate (circa 410): Sic luceat lux vestra coram hominibus
Douay-Rheims (1582-1610): So let your light shine before men
New American (1970): Just so, your light must shine before others
New Jerusalem (1985): In the same way, your light must shine in people’s sight
The imperative associated with must seems more suited to less stable emotional evangelism than to more stable rational evangelism.
These 173A readings for the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
suggest the need for academic rigor, which is the same thing as humility. Isaiah 58, now returned from exile to
For more on sources see the Appendix file.
 Cathy Lynn Grossman, “Poll finds `growing uneasiness’ among Catholics over church finances,” USA Today, Tuesday, January 11, 2005, page 2 A, columns 1-6 and http://www.fadica.org/Donor Survey2004.htm January 13, 2005.
 Sue Gillingham, From Liturgy to Prophecy: The Use of Psalmody in Second Temple Judaism, the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 3 (July 2002) 474-475.
 Hanan Eshel and John Strugnell, "Alphabetical Acrostics in Pre-Tannaitic Hebrew,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 3 (July 2000) 441-443.
 Hendrikus Boers, "2 Corinthians 5:4—6:2: A Fragment of Pauline Christology,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 3 (July 2002) 537.
 Jeremy Corley, "The Pauline Authorship of 1 Corinthians 13,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 2 (April 2004) 261.
 Joseph Plevnik, S.J., "The Understanding of God at the Basis of Pauline Theology,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 65, No. 4 (October 2003) 561.
 Benjamin Fiore, S.J., "`Covert Allusion’ in 1 Corinthians 1—4,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 47, No. 1 (January 1985) 85-102, especially 96-100.
 Jeremy Corley, "The Pauline Authorship of 1 Corinthians 13,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 2 (April 2004) 272.
 Benjamin Fiore, S.J., "`Covert Allusion’ in 1 Corinthians 1—4,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 47, No. 1 (January 1985) 85-102, especially 87, 101.
 Warren Carter, "Recalling the Lord's Prayer: The Authorial Audience and Matthew's Prayer as Familiar Liturgical Experience,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 57, No. 3 (July 1995) 529.
 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) 153.
na, General Instruction of the
Roman Missal: Liturgy Documentary Series 2 (
na, General Instruction of the
Roman Missal: Liturgy Documentary Series 2 (