First Reading:                   Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24

Responsorial Psalm:          Psalm 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11, 12, 13 (2a)

Second Reading               2 Corinthians 8:7, 9, 13-15

Alleluia                              cf. 2 Timothy 1:10

Gospel:                             Mark 5:21-43



The Church is a messy institution, and we are part of the mess. That was the pitch of “The World Over,” by Raymond Arroyo on EWTN, the Encore, Sunday, May 3rd.[1] John L. Allen, Jr., made the same point in the National Catholic Reporter[2] when he wrote,


… there are at least two basic factors at work.

First, abortion has never been the overriding focus for conservative Catholic intellectuals and activists in Europe that it is in the United States. In Europe, the dominant issue tends to be the continent’s Christian identity, which is often expressed in anti-EU activism or concern about the social impact of immigration. As a result, it does not come naturally for many European Catholics, including many in the Vatican, to evaluate leaders primarily through the lens of their policies on life issues.

Second, the Holy See is a sovereign state with its own diplomatic corps and a wide range of international interests. On several matters of global concern—including the reconstruction of Iraq, the Israeli/Palestinian problem, multilateralism in foreign policy, and nuclear disarmament—Vatican diplomats generally believe the early signals from the Obama administration are encouraging. For that reason, some Vatican officials are reluctant to take a hard anti-Obama line, particularly on the eve of Pope Benedict XVI’s much-anticipated trip to the Holy Land, which the Vatican hopes will lend momentum to the peace process.


The readings follow the messy approach to reality. Wisdom is about the mess resulting from the “envy of the devil.” Psalm 30 is about God rescuing the faithful from the mess, “up from the netherworld.” 2 Corinthians about the mess “that others should have relief while you are burdened.” And the Gospel is about the mess Mark makes when he interrupts his story about Jairus  from the synagogue to tell about the street walker, possibly hemorrhaging from an abortion (according to me) and finally making a mess of things by giving “strict orders that no one should know this.”


Life, like the Church and these readings, is not cut and dried, but a myriad of problems and decisions bearing on Faith experience, science, society and instincts for survival—never perfect. It is refreshing to hear Raymond Arroyo admit the Church has its own imperfect struggles.



Annotated Bibliography

Material above the double line draws from material below the double line. Those uninterested in scholarly and tangential details should stop reading here. If they do, however, they may miss some interesting scholarly details.


Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24

Wis 1:15-16

Tim O’Donnell, “Complementary Eschatologies in John 5:19-30”[3]

The ancients had a different sense of time from the Faithful in the Twenty-first Century. For the ancients the distinction between the present and the future was less distinct than in the Twenty-first Century. This means that Biblical scholars have a place helping determine what Sacred Scripture means, particularly with regard to the last and lasting things.


Psalm 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11, 12, 13 (2a)

Codex Sinaiticus [4]

The continuing point of the exercise reaching into the original manuscripts is to accept that there are many original manuscripts from which the Church chose Sacred Scripture. Development of the words of Sacred Scripture is an historical reality. These Notes try to include this reality as an act of humility against the self-righteousness required to lead a Christian life and the unacceptable non-academic dictates which cause interior conflicts within Christianity [the mess] and the Catholic Church.

The Codex adds considerably to what the Lectionary labels verses 12 and 13.

The Codex translation into English:

You turned my mourning into joy for me; you tore my sackcloth and girded me with gladness//so that my glory may make music to you and I shall not be stunned, O Lord my God, I will acknowledge you for ever.


The Lectionary: You changed my mourning into dancing; O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.


The Lectionary is missing an opportunity to present a really joyous translation.


Psalm 30:4

Richard J. Bautch, “An Appraisal of Abraham’s Role in Postexilic Covenants”[5]

“You brought me up from the netherworld” convolutes the past, present, and future. Bautch writes, “… that God continually supports the existence of, and so is not absent from, the world that God has created. God is immanent. … in the context of God preserving God’s creatures (often humans) who face death and destruction (Gen 7:3; Pss 22:30; 30:4 [used here]; 33:19; 41:3; 138:7).”


Psalm 30:5

John T. Willis, review of Samantha Joo, Provocation and Punishment: The Anger of God in the Book of Jeremiah and Deuteronomistic Theology[6]

Singing praise to the LORD in the midst of difficulties is a messy prayer. As Willis comments, “… biblical texts typically connect God’s anger and mercy in the same pericope or context … Therefore, a study of God’s anger evokes a study of God’s mercy (and vice versa) for balance,” in other words, a mess.


2 Corinthians 8:7, 9, 13-15

2 Corinthians 8:9

“Sacred Scripture in the Life and Mission of the Church: Chapter VI from the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation: Dei Verbum: Solemnly Promulgated by His Holiness, Pope Paul VI on November 18, 1965” [7]

In a section, “The Word of God in the Life of the Believer” the Second Vatican Council commented, “… the Word of God is encountered by those who are poor in spirit, both interiorly and exteriorly, `for you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich” (II Cor 8:9). [used here].” A careful listener may note the Lectionary translation is different. For grace, the Lectionary has the gracious act. The Lectionary omits yet.

To me, this means that the Church herself needs to be “poor in spirit.”


2 Cor 8:9

David L. Balch, review of Dieter Georgi, The City in the Valley: Biblical Interpretation and Urban Theology[8]

Jesus worked in the countryside, but the Christians moved into the cities. The transition was messy. Balch writes, “… G. emphasizes Paul’s christology of the rich one who became poor, thus beginning the unification of humanity (pp. 297, 299 citing 2 Cor 8:9).”


2 Cor 8:9

Dino Dozzi, "`Thus Says the Lord' The Gospel in the Writings of Saint Francis"[9]

For all of the ballyhoo about poverty, Saint Francis was more about humility. That is what “though he was rich, for your sake he became poor” means.


2 Cor 8:10-11         

Jeffrey R. Asher, review of Gregory Tatum, O.P., New Chapters in the Life of Paul: The Relative Chronology of His Career[10]

Tatum makes assumptions that not everyone accepts. Tatum, therefore, is not entirely convincing. In response to the book, Asher asks the question, “Why would one be compelled to view this [chronology] as a typology that evolved in a linear fashion rather than a malleable analogy that was adapted to different circumstances?”


cf. 2 Timothy 1:10


Mark 5:21-43

Mark 5:22

When I translated this passage from the Latin in 2006, I left an examination of the Greek for now. The Greek for the Lectionary one of the synagogue officials is  found both in William D. Mounce and Max Zerwick, S.J. Zerwick writes, “head or president of the synagogue; courtesy title of other worshippers in positions of authority and influence.”[11] Mounce is clearer. “a president or moderating elder of a synagogue.” The term is used at Mark 5:22 [here], 35 [here], 36 [here], and Luke 8:49. John Groves has “a ruler, governor, or warden of a synagogue.”[12]


The Codex uses the same Greek word as the eclectic Greek.[13]


Mark 5:22

Lectionary (1998)                         One of the synagogue officials

The Vulgate (circa 410)                de archisynagogis

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610)          one of the rulers of the synagogue

King James (1611)                       one of the rulers of the synagogue

Catholic RSV (1969)                    one of the rulers of the synagogue

New American (NAB) (1970)         One of the synagogue officials

New Jerusalem (1985)                 the president of the synagogue


One would think the translation would not cause so much difference.


Mark 5:21-43

Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland, The Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism, 2nd ed., Erroll F. Rhodes, tr. [14]

Christ Church College at Oxford and the British Library in London each has a palimpsest (parchment, erased and reused) copy dating from the Ninth Century.

The Staatliche Museen in Berlin has a Sixth Century copy of Mark 5:26-27, 31, which is too brief to classify.

The Sinaitic Syriac (not the Codex Sinaiticus) preserves the text of the Gospels, but Mark 5:26-6:5 is missing.


The Alands have a lengthy explanation.


In Luke 8:43 the detail that the woman with a hemorrhage “had spent all her living (in vain) on physicians” is single bracketed in the Greek text (and correspondingly in modern versions). The witnesses for the omission—B (and D, with a slight variation) sys and sa—are now joined by p75, which makes their combined weight definitely stronger. And yet the motif of wasting money on doctors is already a part of the Marcan account, where it is stated even more emphatically in 5:26 [used here]. But Luke 8:43 can hardly be explained (as so frequently) by the influence of parallel texts, especially when the phrase is so freely and freshly expressed, even including a hapax legomenon [something unique]. It has a genuinely Lucan ring about it, so that it is an open question whether in the second century, to borrow a modern analogy, the medical profession had the phrase deleted or, to echo another modern complaint, the phrase was inserted as a protest against the rising costs of ineffective medical services (is this the reason for the hapax legomenon prosavalwsasa?). The single brackets reflect the indecision of the editors of the new text at this point.


Some of this interesting explanation, I do not understand either. That is why I quote it fully.


Mark 5:25-34

Richard A. McCormick, S.J., The Critical Calling: Reflections on Moral Dilemmas Since Vatican II[15]

McCormick reminds the Faithful, “It is this multidimensional aspect of the person that makes touch the classic symbol of human healing, and Mark, the classic locus. For touch is interpersonal contact.” McCormick concludes:


In verbal shorthand, medical ethics is corrective vision, an opening of our eyes to easily missed dimensions of persons and the claims they make upon us in the medical context. Far from importing a set of extraneous rules-makers and rules that are “added to” the situation, medical ethics is seeing more accurately and deeply the dimensions and realities that are already there. That is a threat only to those who have collapsed all reality into their present ability to perceive it.


Mark 5:34-36

C. Clifton Black, “Mark as Historian of God’s Kingdom”[16]

Mark believed and put his belief into his Gospel. As Black words it, “If Mark is right, it is Jesus, the agent of God’s apocalyptic sovereignty, who reveals to us who we really are and whether our motives are misguidedly religious (3:4-5), timorous (5:34-36 [used here]), disbelieving (8:11-13), or self-delusional bluster (14:30-31).”



 For more on sources see the Appendix file. Personal Notes are on the web site at


[1] Raymond Arroyo, the Encore Presentation on ETWN, “The World Over,” Sunday, May 3, 2009. I do not own the technology required to record this program, and accept the risk associated therewith.


[3] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 4 (October 2008) 761.


[4]  090505 Psalm 30 in the Lectionary is Psalm 29 in the Codex Sinaiticus.



[5] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 1 (January 2009) 56.


[6] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 3 (July 2007) 552.


[7] Adoremus Bulletin, Vol. XIV, No 7 (October 2008) 7.


[8] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 1 (January 2007) 146.


[9] Greyfriars Review, Vol. 18, Supplement (2004) 41.


[10] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 4 (October 2007) 836.


[11] Max Zerwick, S.J. and Mary Grosvenor, A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament unabridged, 5th, revised edition (Roma: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico 1996) 117.


[12] The Rev. John Groves, Greek and English Dictionary Comprising All the Words in the Writings of the Most Popular Greek Authors; With the Difficult Inflections in them and in the Septuagint and New Testament: Designed for the Use of Schools and the Undergraduate Course of a Collegiate Education (Boston: J. H. Wilkins & R. B. Carter, 1842); as found at,M1 090505.


[13] 090505 and Nestle-Aland, Novum Testamentum: Graece et Latine: Textum Graecum post Eberhard et Erwin Nestle communiter ediderunt Barbara et Kurt Aland, Johannes Karavidopoulos, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger: Textus Latinus Novae Vulgatae Bibliorum Sacrorum Editioni debetur: Utriusque textus apparatum criticum recensuerent et editionem novis curis elaboraverunt Barbara et Kurt Aland una cum Instituto Studiorum Textus Novi Testamenti Monasterii Westphaliae (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft 1999) Editio XXVII page 103.



[14] Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989, 122, 127, 250, 309.

[15] Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 1989, 2006, 356, 367.


[16] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 1 (January 2009) 79.