Matthew 11:27, No one knows the Son …, which the Lectionary uses in the Gospel here, is also used for the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi (1181-1226).[1]  At issue is the relationship between scholarly study and a saintly life.  These Notes develop that dichotomy.

Saint Francis took less than a scholarly approach to Sacred Scripture.  He questioned the importance of higher education.  Saint Francis used Sacred Scripture to live his life, without scholarly apparatus.

While these Personal Notes follow Saint Francis in using Sacred Scripture for how to live in the light of the Gospel, they do not denigrate higher education.  Saint Francis composed a Canticle of Creatures in which he realized that just as God reached humans through creatures, so do humans reach back to God through the same creatures.  Higher education is but one more way to approach God through creation.  That gets the Faithful into the dangers of higher education and questioning modernism and the authority of the Magisterium.

Modernism is an attempt to both question the Magisterium and adapt Sacred Scripture to life as it is lived today, in the Twenty-first century.  Such adaptation has caused the problem of Modernism in the present Church.  The Frenchman, Alfred F. Loisy (1857-1940), was the principal leader of the Modernist Movement in the Catholic Church.

Loisy most famously expressed his views in his 1903 book, The Gospel and the Church.  The most famous aphorism (saying) of Loisy was that “Jesus came preaching the Kingdom, and what arrived was the Church.”[2]  In 1908, the papacy excommunicated Loisy, who died outside the Church.  Loisy had a major problem with the abuse of power by the hierarchy, a problem Saint Francis was able to avoid, but a problem that remains for the thoughtful Faithful confronting the recent sexual cover-up.

The readings for this Sunday are special because they address the issue of how to accept authority.  In the history of Judaism, power seemed to move from King David, to the priests, and finally, to the people.  When Jesus arrived, riding on a donkey, he came as a member of the people, rather than as a king or as a priest.

Jeremiah had promised that God would reach his people directly and Jesus arrived to make that association a reality.  Historically there is a problem in that, for the past several centuries, the papacy has increasingly centralized power around itself, rather than God.  That centralization and lack of accountability is responsible for thirty years it is continuing to take for the sexual cover-up to unravel.  Insofar as the lives of the Faithful are concerned, the more the behavior of the hierarchy appears immoral (in such matters as the silencing of Galileo and lack of discussion of social science and hard science research), the less is the hierarchy able to command respect and authority.  Authority and respect are shifting to the people themselves.

The Canticle of Francis, the canticle of Daniel, and Psalm 145 are of a piece, enabling the Faithful to reach God directly through creation, without the benefit of institutional religion.  This is different from saying that institutional religion is of no benefit for reaching God.  No, I think that institutional religion is the ordinary way in which humans reach God.  Saint Francis, however, was special.

Some argue whether his role in the Church included membership in the diaconate.  Saint Francis may not have been a Deacon.  While he respected and lived with the hierarchy and institutional Church, he also remains a challenge for how to adapt the living Gospel to contemporary concerns.



Annotated Bibliography

Material above the double line draws from and is based upon material below the double line.  Those uninterested in scholarly and tangential details should stop reading here.  If they do, however, they may miss some of the interesting details scholars and others are presenting.


I seem to have translated all of the New Testament Greek that the Lectionary uses in the three-year cycle.  My interest is now shifting to the apparatus described in the Introduction to the Greek New Testament[3] and to various snippets of the Greek, with a less systematic approach than before.

Zechariah 9:9-10

Zech 9:9

Adrian M. Leske, review of Clay Alan Ham, The Coming King and the Rejected Shepherd: Matthew’s Reading of Zechariah’s Messianic Hope[4]

Leske writes, “While many may agree with H.’s traditional interpretation of Zech 9:9 as referring to a Davidic king …” others argue “that the everlasting covenant with David has been transferred to the Faithful …”


Psalm 145: 1-2, 8-9, 10-11, 13-14

Psalm 145

Aelred Cody, O.S.B., review of Markus Witte (ed.), Gott und Mensch im  Dialog: Festschrift fur Otto Kaiser zum 80. Geburtstag, Volumes 1-2[5]

In this collection of essays, Reinhard G. Kratz argues that Psalm 145 portrays God as king not only of Israel, but also of the whole world.


Psalm 145:13a

Karl A. Kuhn, “The `One like a son of Man’ Becomes the `Son of God’”[6]

Kuhn observes Psalm 145 is the only place outside of Daniel to read, “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and your dominion endures throughout all generations.”  Although not mentioned in this article, Loisy was concerned about the relationship between this kingdom and the church.


Romans 8:9, 11-13

Rom 8:9

Clint Tibbs, "The Spirit (World) and the (Holy) Spirits among the Earliest Christians: 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 as a Test Case."[7]

Tibbs includes Romans 8:9 among other verses to argue that the earliest Christians believed the Holy Spirit was only one among many other spirits.


cf. Matthew 11:25

Matt 11:25

Daniel W. Ulrich, “The Missional Audience of the Gospel of Matthew”[8]

What the Lectionary translates little ones, Ulrich translates infants.  The Greek carries the sense as so young as to be unable to talk.  William D. Mounce sees a metaphor for a babe in knowledge, in other words unlearned or simple.[9]


Matt 11:25

Dino Dozzi, "`Thus Says the Lord' The Gospel in the Writings of Saint Francis"[10]

This is the source for the comments on Saint Francis above the double line.


Matthew 11:25-30

Matt 11:25-30

Boris Repschinski, "`For He Will Save His People from Their Sins’ (Matthew 1:21): A Christology for Christian Jews”[11]

Repschinski links the words of Jesus in Matt 11:25-30 with the baptism of Jesus and the Transfiguration to reveal “the intimate relationship between Jesus and God.”


Matt 11:25b-30

Tony Chartrand-Burke, review of Thomas L. Brodie, The Birthing of the New Testament: The Intertextual Development of the New Testament Writings[12]

Brodie stretches credibility to argue that Matt 11:25b-30 comes from a Pre-Lucan source.


Matt 11:27

Harvey Hill, “Loisy’s L’Évangile et L’Église in light of the `Essais’”[13]

This article is the source for the comments about Loisy above the double line.  The verse Hill uses for the tie-in is “No one knows the Son except the Father and no one knows the father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”  Loisy argued that this verse could not be used as convincing evidence for the views of the historical Jesus, because this verse was mediated, or passed down, through disciples.  Loisy argued that doctrine was not immutable over time, but, rather developed.


Matt 11:27

Mark F. Whitters, "Jesus in the Footsteps of Jeremiah"[14]

This is the source for the comment about Jeremiah above the double line.


[3] 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.


[4] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 1 (January 2006) 145, 146.


[5] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 3 (July 2006) 578.


[6] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 1 (January 20072007 28.


[7] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 2 (April 2008) 321.


[8] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 1 (January 2007) 75.


[9] William D. Mounce, Zondervan Greek Reference Series: The Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House: A Division of HarperCollins Publishers, 1993) 328.


[10] Greyfriars Review, Vol. 18, Supplement (2004) 2, 81, 89.


[11] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 2 (April 2006) 260.


[12] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 4 (October 2006) 757.


[13] Theological Studies, Vol. 67, No. 1 (March 2006) 83, 89, 73-98.


[14] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 2 (April 2006) 244, 245.