Luke uses chronology to frame his ideas, in this case ideas associated with the Transfiguration.  Within that framework, Luke organizes his material according to logic of ideas, rather than logic of chronology.[1]  In these readings, Luke draws Jesus into the history of Moses and Elijah (Elias) as the fulfillment of the law.

 

In the Transfiguration, Jesus exults in his own realization of who he is.  Through grace, the People of God share in the life of Jesus.  Rejoicing in a sense of exaltation, therefore, is appropriate for the People of God.

 

1 Kings 19:16b, 19-21

These readings look to the Transfiguration, scheduled for liturgical celebration Friday, August 6, 2004.  During the Transfiguration, Jesus engages Elijah in conversation about the Exodus.  Since Elijah permits Elisha to kiss my father and mother good bye, the liturgical point is that Jesus supersedes Elijah in vocational demands.

 

This passage about Elijah is patterned after what was written about Moses, in the tradition of a new Moses.[2]  The pattern consists of both active revelation and concealment, which is also revelation.  Concealment comes when the People of God turn their backs.  The passage from Luke below also includes elements of direct revelation that Jesus is headed for Jerusalem and concealment[3] from would-be disciples for their lack of commitment.  The Transfiguration also includes concealment because Jesus directs Peter, James, and John to tell the vision to no one until after the passion, death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven.

 


Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11 (cf. 5a)

The Lectionary uses this Psalm at four Sunday liturgies.

 

Readings      Page in         Verses used

                     Lectionary

 

   41B            323                      5,    8, 9-10, 11 (1)                Easter

   46A            369-370        1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11 (11a)            Easter 3

   99C            675               1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11 (cf. 5a)          Readings for today.

 158B            966                      5,    8, 1-10, 11 (1)                Ordinary 33

 

November 16, 2003 also uses these readings in 158B.  The Responsorial causes a problem in that the Responsorial for Readings 158B, 41B, and these 99C Readings are identical, You are my inheritance, O Lord.  The problem is that these 99C Readings identify the Responsorial with verse cf. 5a, whereas Readings 41B and 158B identify the same Responsorial with verse 1.  As stated in Readings 158B, where the Lectionary finds verse 1 is beyond me.  The only other difference between Readings 41B and 158B is that the 41B and 99C Responsorial ends with a period and 158B with an exclamation point.

 

The following section is now deleted from the Appendix.

 

The Sunday words are developed out of Carroll Stuhlmueller, C.P.[4]  Stuhlmueller advises praying the psalms with a word-focus.  A single word is somewhat easier than the Responsorial Antiphon that I use personally.

 

Lack of usage is the reason for the deletion.  The current Appendix will be included with this rendition.

 

Verse 7 blesses the LORD who counsels me, as Jesus must have blessed Moses and Elijah at the Transfiguration.  Such counsel leads from right paths to glory and exaltation, because God is the lord of history itself.[5]

 

Verse 9 brings out the exaltation of the Transfiguration: my heart is glad and my soul rejoices.

 

Galatians 5:1, 13-18

Under the law in verse 18 is a key phrase.[6]  From Deuteronomy and Exodus translators from the Hebrew are able to write not that the Israelites drew near to the mountain on which the law was given, but under said mountain.  In this way, with the mountain over their heads, about to crush them, under the law took on a compelling meaning.  Paul is writing that the law of love of Jesus goes beyond the picayune details of such things as circumcision.[7]  Paul writes of a new freedom for humanity,[8] a freedom seen in the Transfiguration.

 

The more I read Paul, the more I see that Paul likes to lay down the law.  However, the law Paul lays down is a law of love and freedom, not a law of compulsion and circumspection.  In the Transfiguration, Jesus, Elijah, and Moses talk about the Exodus in the Spirit of love and transformation.

 

1 Samuel 3:9; John 6:68c

Jesus, Moses, and Elijah had to listen to one another in order to hold a conversation.  Listening to the Spirit, then, is a prerequisite for rejoicing in the same Spirit.  The Spirit is a Spirit of Truth in somewhat of a conflict with the spirit of human politics and political correctness.

 

Luke 9:51-62

Verse 51, Jesus’ being taken up includes his death, resurrection, and ascension in the sense of the original Greek.  In verse 54, the disciples asking Jesus whether Jesus wanted the disciples to call down fire from heaven is parallel to Elijah exacting the same sort of retribution on those disrespecting him.  Jesus fulfills the law in a different way, however, by rebuking the disciples.  Jesus is too full of his own exaltation to worry about Samaritans hindering his journey to Jerusalem.

 

Some manuscripts include the following in verse 55: “And he said, `You do not know what manner of spirit you are of; for the Son of man came not to destroy men’s lives but to save them.’”[9]

 

Jesus then engages those who wish to follow him to Jerusalem.  Implicitly referring to the Exodus, Jesus tells the first that Jesus has nowhere to lay his head.  Jesus means that his rest will only come after his Exodus from this life.  Jesus tells the second not to worry about his sacred duty to bury his father, instead, to proclaim the kingdom of God.  To the third, Jesus says that thinking of family before preaching the Gospel is inappropriate.

 

As part of thinking about family, the Greek includes the sense of continually looking back over the furrows the plow makes.  Put within the context of family life, such looking back seems to include psychological problems rooted in family life.  The Transfiguration brings with it a sense of exaltation, looking forward, without being hung up on past family problems.

 

What does this passage mean for family values?  Is Jesus commenting on patriarchy?  How does this passage relate to material culture?  Such questions merit consideration, a consideration scholars have yet to engage.[10]

 

In conclusion, these readings look forward to Feast of the Transfiguration scheduled in little over a month.  These readings are laying groundwork for rejoicing in the exaltation of Jesus in conversation about the Exodus with Moses and Elijah.  1 Kings brings to mind the marvels of Elijah.  The Psalm is about rejoicing itself.  Galatians indirectly brings to mind the Sinai covenant of Moses as the Gospel of Luke connects the knowledgeable reader with Elijah and Jesus.  The ultimate exaltation and rejoicing is with the coming Transfiguration.

 

 

For more on sources and their availability, besides the footnotes, see the Appendix file.  At this time, a change occurs in the Appendix.

 



[1] Richard J. Dillon, “Previewing Luke’s Project from His Prologue (Luke 1:1-4)," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 43, No. 2 (April 1981) 221.

 

[2] Kathryn L. Roberts, “God, Prophet, and King: Eating and Drinking on the Mountain in First Kings 18:41,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 4 (October 2000) 634.

 

[3] Brian Britt, “Prophetic Concealment in a Biblical Type Scent,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 1 (January 2002) 44-45, 58.

 

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

 

[5] Joseph Jensen, O.S.B., “Yahweh’s Plan in Isaiah and the Rest of the Old Testament," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 48, No. 3 (July 1986), 453.

 

[6] Joel Marcus, “`Under the Law’: The Background of a Pauline Expression," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 63, No. 1 (January 2001) 72-83.

 

[7] Charles H. Talbert, “Paul, Judaism, and the Revisionists," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 63, No. 1 (January 2001) 11.

 

[8] Vincent M. Smiles, “The Concept of `Zeal’ in Second-Temple Judaism and Paul’s Critique of It in Romans 10:2,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 2 (April 2002) 299.

[9] 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) 217.

 

[10] F. Gerald Downing, “In Quest of First-Century C.E. Galilee," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 1 (January 2004) 78-97, especially 91 and 97.