Church and Earth are similar. Both Earth and Church appear to be quite stable and unchanging.  The history of the tectonic plates and the church, however, reveal significant changes over time.  In reality, both Church and Earth are dynamic entities.  Tectonic plates illustrate the dynamism of Earth as patriarchal sexism illustrates the dynamism of Church.

Patriarchal sexism furnished a theme for the last time through these readings, July 4, 2004.  Sexism remains an issue, along with racism.  Another problem fitting the readings is economic injustice, associated with sexism and racism.


First Reading: Isaiah 66:10-14c

          Isaiah 66:12

          Charles H. Cosgrove, "Did Paul Value Ethnicity?"[1]

          Paul associates prophecies about nations making a pilgrimage to Zion with Paul’s conception of his mission to the nations.  Paul valued ethnicity only to the point where it enabled Paul to be an Apostle to the Gentiles.


Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20

          Carroll Stuhlmueller, C.P. offers seven principles for reading the Psalms. The First Principle is presented September 22, 2002, the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Lectionary Reading 133A.  The Second and Seventh Principles are presented September 8, 2002, the Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Lectionary reading 127A.  The Third Principle is presented January 21, 2007, the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Lectionary reading 69C.  The Fourth Principle is presented December 1, 2002, the First Sunday in Advent, Lectionary reading 2B.  The Fifth Principle is presented January 28, 2007, the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Lectionary reading 72C.  The Sixth [and last] Principle is presented this Sunday, July 8, 2007, Lectionary reading 102C.


Chapter Two


Methods for Studying and Praying the Psalms

First Principle “Today” Has Its Own Grace

Second Principle Read the Text of the Psalm

Third Principle: Read the Text with Imagination

Fourth Principle: Read the Psalms According to Its Key Words

Fifth Principle: Read the Psalm with Other Parallel Passages[2]

Sixth Principle: Read the Psalms according to the Liturgy and Classic Spiritual Writers[3]


First in Israel and then in the Christian community, certain psalms gravitated toward special feasts.  On these feasts, various psalms were clustered with readings, prayers, and short antiphons.  Preferences for some psalms over others and, similarly, for some books of the Bible over others, is noticeable among classic spiritual authors like the Fathers of the Church, the Helfta Mystics such as Gertrude the Great [1256-1301],[4]  influential monastic teachers of the Middle Ages, and well-known contemporary religious writers like Thomas Merton.  Major documents of ecumenical councils, particularly Vatican II, and of recent popes, as well as the pastoral letters of the U.S. bishops, each tend to highlight unique biblical sources.

A phrase was coined for these works: each favors its own canon within the canon.  “Canon” refers to the list of books within the Bible.  Almost all important documents and vigorous thinkers prefer some books to other ones.  [I prefer the Gospel of Matthew.]  Even New Testament writers and Jesus himself had their favorites.  Paul seemed to have liked the prophet Isaiah most of all, especially the second and third parts (chs. 40-55; 56-66), judging from the number and comparison of Old Testament quotations and references.  The Gospel writers depict Jesus turning to the book of Psalms, Deuteronomy, and Jeremiah.  Thus, one could say that they each had their own personal canon.  What constitutes this canon within the canon reveals major emphasis and main lines of spirituality.

To pursue this principle in studying the psalms, the first requirement is to read the document carefully.  At times biblical phrases are woven into the fabric of someone’s works, perhaps subconsciously, without explicit citations.  In contemporary works, authors are generally careful to mention their source, at least in footnotes.  Liturgical documents, prayers, readings, and antiphons normally, though by no means always, include in parenthesis the name of the biblical book, its chapter and verse.

Psalms supply most frequently the biblical quotations in the liturgy, whether for the Eucharist, for the Liturgy of the Hours (Prayer for Christians), or for administering the sacraments.

For feasts of Mary, one generally finds Psalms 8; 15; 19; 24; 46; 87; 113; 147.  (The Feast of the Visitation, May 31, uses Isaiah 12:2-6, but no Psalm.)  These psalms, for the most part, fall into two categories.  They are hymns of praise glorifying God, either for the wonders of creation or for the divine presence in the Jerusalem Temple.  Creation stretches out before us in translucent majesty, pure and clean as on the first day of its existence.  Sin or chaos are mentioned, only to have them overcome and driven away by babes and suckling’s in Psalm 8.  Jerusalem stands firm and undisturbed according to Psalm 46, with God enthroned in its holy Temple.  From the association of these psalms with the feasts of Mary in the earliest church, several Catholic doctrines gradually evolved ever more clearly in the piety of the faithful.  These psalms of Jerusalem, all pure, and creation, brilliant in its splendor, drew out of tradition an appreciation of Mary as one who is holy, even from the moment of her conception.  Jerusalem, unshakable and permanently in place, never subject to destruction, provided the setting in which the Church celebrated the glorious “sleep” or assumption into heavenly glory.  Her body, like Jerusalem, was never to be destroyed.

With liturgical books, or the Fathers of the church, or the great spiritual classics at one’s elbow, a person can spend many hours, for great religious benefit, studying the major psalms and their relation to our readings and antiphons.  Toward the beginning of this section presenting the sixth principle for studying the psalms, the maximum of a “canon within a canon” was cited, that is, one’s favorite books or prized psalms.  At the end there is a reference to still another maxim, lex orandi, lex credendi the law or practice of praying becomes the law or practice of professing one’s faith.  Within the Christian community at prayer with the psalms, there developed the main lines of the community’s theology and spirituality.


Seventh Principle: Consult Commentaries


Second Reading: Galatians 6:14-18

          Galatians 6:15

          Pamela Thimmes, O.S.F., review of Sandra Hack Polaski, A Feminist Introduction to Paul[5]

          Polaski makes more sense out of Paul than anything else that I have seen.  In reviewing Polaski, Thimmes uses the words new creation at least nine times, on one page.  New creation is the core of Pauline theology.  Paul is not a systematic theologian, but a developing theologian, as he works through how he should respond to his insights about what God is doing.  To quote Thimmes quoting Polaski, “Polaski’s goal is to explore `the possibility that the `seams’ or inconsistencies in Paul’s arguments are clues to the growing edges of his theology’ (p. 83).  For example, Paul’s letters contain numerous inconsistencies and tensions about his own practices of division, exclusion, curses, silencing, and ridicule of those with whom he disagrees, and even as Paul claims authority he recognizes that he is an unlikely locus of authority.”


          Galatians 6:16

          Peace be to all who follow this rule and to the Israel of God.  Max Zerwick, S.J., shows that the Greek is more like an apposition, so that all who follow this rule and Israel are the same.[6]  In English the and can easily be read as a conjunction, so that all who follow this rule and Israel are different.


          Galatians 6:16

          Bogdan G. Bucur, “Exegesis of Biblical Theophanies in Byzantine Hymnography: Rewritten Bible?”[7]

          “… implicitly defining the Church of Christ as `the Israel of God’ (Gal 6:16) …”


          Galatians 6:17

          Zewerk does not think marks, in the Greek, refers to a stigmata, but to scars left from scourging.[8]


Alleluia: Colossians 3:15a, 16a



Gospel: Luke 10:1-12, 17-20

          Luke 10:1-20

          Warren Carter, “Getting Martha out of the Kitchen: Luke 10:38-42 Again”[9]

          Compares the disciples here, in Luke 10:1-20, with Martha and Mary to get Martha and Mary out of the kitchen and into discipleship.


          Luke 10:1-17

          Terence W. Tilley, “Remembering the Historic Jesus—A New Research Program?”[10]

          “Oral transmission does not produce a series of literary layers, but is a set of distinct performances.  The significance of this point is crucial, for scholars have usually used tools of literary criticism rather than analyses of performance practice to explore the development of the tradition.  Undoubtedly, these performances began while Jesus was alive (see Lk 9:1-10; 10:1-17 [used this Sunday]) the notion that `tradition’ only began after the resurrection is untenable.”


          Luke 10:1-12

          Daniel W. Ulrich, “The Missional Audience of the Gospel of Matthew[11]

          “Rather than being troubled by the differences between Jesus’ missionary instructions and Paul’s practice, the audience was expected to view Paul as fulfilling the essence of the instructions (cf. Luke 9:1-6; 10:1-12 [used this Sunday]; Acts 13:51; 20:33-35).”


          Luke 10:7

          Harry P. Nasuti, “The Woes of the Prophets and the Rights of the Apostle: The Internal Dynamics of 1 Corinthians 9”[12]

          Some scholars use Luke 10:7, the laborer deserves his payment, as a rare Pauline citation from the historical Jesus.  Luke refers to actual eating and drinking, rather than some spiritual folderol.  The point is to be careful about attributing the power to tax to the Magisterium.



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

[1] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 2 (April 2006) 284.


[2] Carroll Stuhlmueller, C.P., The Spirituality of the Psalms (Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 2002) ISBN 0-8146-2599, 18-20.


[3] Carroll Stuhlmueller, C.P., The Spirituality of the Psalms (Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 2002) ISBN 0-8146-2599 21-22.


[5] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 2 (October 2006) 345.


[6] 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) 577.


[7] Theological Studies, Vol. 68, No. 1 (January 2007) 108.


[8] 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) 577.


[9] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 58, No. 2 (April 2006) 267, 276, 278, 279.


[10] Theological Studies, Vol. 68, No. 1 (March 2007) 21.


[11] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 1 (January 2007) 82.


[12] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 50, No. 2 (April 1988) 252, 259.