I use the Weather Channel to counteract the Pollyanna version of a sweet, all-loving God.  When the Jews first discovered God, they understood their God as the Storm God.  Without mentioning the Storm God, in 2011 scholars argue that the first understanding of the Jewish God, meant a weather god.  Eventually the Faithful realize that, despite the destructiveness of some weather, such as droughts and floods, to say nothing of tsunamis, earthquakes, and tornadoes, ultimately God is uncontrollable.  The Lectionary reading from the Prophet Isaiah and the 65th Psalm may be reminding God to be like a sweet and loving Divine Father, rather than like a difficult dysfunctional human father. 

Romans 8:18 gets more serious, referring to the sufferings of this present time.  The Gospel develops a panoply of reactions to hearing the Word of God.  Of the four choices—the path, rocky ground, thorns, and rich soil—only one allows seeds to develop properly.  Even with rich soil in actual time, only about three in ten years have good enough weather for bumper crops.  The Faithful can understand God as God of the weather of souls in these difficult times with the Roman Catholic hierarchy, hoping for a .300 batting average, a little less than the .333 weather for farmers and a little more than the .250 choices for seed in the parable.  J

The full context of the weather requires a look into outer space.  Space gives a new context for the physical universe, the context of time, about four billion years for earth and about 16 billion years for the universe.  The special theory of relativity of Einstein punctures the intellectual life with the unsettling discoveries that I characterize as Modernism. 

While weather is relative to time and space, is God also relative to time and space?  If so, what might that mean?  If not, does the theory of relativity change anything?[1]  The theory of relativity challenges one of the first principles of physics, namely the principle of causality.  From this, it may follow that there are problems with the concept of natural law. 

With the whole universe relative to time and space, what else is relative to insistence on the natural law?  What other, similar, undiscovered truths are about to be discovered?  The prayer is to let nature take its course and to be humble before the facts as they are discovered; rather than ignored because of tradition, as was the sad case with Galileo.

The relativity of Einstein, then, has repercussions for such human activities as artificial means of birth control and abortion, so prominent in current political health care decisions.  The prayer of the Faithful has to be to work its way through the morass of confusion resulting from thinking about the full context of human existence in this new age of communications.  It takes Faith to accept the Responsorial Antiphon, the seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest (Luke 8:8). … but only if the intellectual weather of the soul is just right.  Good ground includes those with Faith either to accept or reject the challenges of thinking about truth and pious pabulum. 

The Catholic Historical Review reviews A History of Catholic Moral Theology in the Twentieth Century:  From Confessing Sins to Liberating Consciences by James F. Keenan, S.J.  The reviewer, John A. Gallagher of Catholic Health Partners, Cincinnati, reports that Keenan “concludes by proposing that virtue ethics has emerged as a new foundation for moral theology:  `Virtue ethics is rooted in the priority of being over action and argues that the cultivation of normative dispositions and attendant practices is the stuff of ethics’  (p. 217).”  This new approach to moral theology seems to me to resonate with the seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest (Luke 8:8).  Good ground means an intellectual life grounded in truth and open to truth, wherever it may lead.



First Reading:                    Isaiah 55:10-11

Responsorial Psalm:          Psalm 65:10, 11, 12-13, 14 (Luke 8:8)

Second Reading:               Romans 8:18-23


Gospel:                             Matthew 13:1-23



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 details.


Isaiah 55:10-11

Isa 55:10-11

Michael L. Cook, .S.J., “The African Experience of Jesus”[2]

Cook argues from the creative power of God expressed in Isaiah to the creative power of God as understood in the various African traditions.  The African traditions do not regard understanding the creative power of God as developing in an evolutionary manner.  African traditions understand the creative power of God as always present.

Since the African traditions understand the creative power of God as always present, what Jesus does is recreate the original creation; celebrate the new life with God; and look to the Church for a community of that life.

Michael J. Cooke, S.J., seems to treat Africa as a country, with a single African tradition, rather than as a complex continent with a multiplicity of traditions.  Cook refers to himself “as an outside observer.”  That notwithstanding, his call for dialogue with non-Christian, non-Jewish, and non-Muslim African traditions has merit.


Psalm 65:10, 11, 12-13, 14 (Luke 8:8)

Psalm 65:7-14

Dirk J. Human, review of Reinhard Muller, Jahwe als Wettergott:  Studien sur althebraischen Kultlyrik anhand ausgewahlter Psalmen[3]

Dirk J. Human has high regard for the argument Muller makes that God is the weather God.  Dirk J. Human uses weather god fifteen times in his review.  Later developments expand God as the Weather God to God, as the Faithful know God today.


Romans 8:18-23

Rom 8:12-25

Michael Peppard, “Adopted and Begotten Sons of God:  Paul and John on Divine Sonship”[4]

In the reading for this Sunday, Romans 8:19 and 21, refers to children of God.  Peppard argues that Paul uses Roman adoptive practices to regard the Faithful as adopted children of God.  Paul wrote first, John is more direct, stating that Jesus is begotten of God and that the Faithful participate in this begetting through grace.


Rom 8:15-25

John D. Dadosky, “Woman without Envy:  Toward Reconceiving the Immaculate Conception”[5]

Dadosky misses the significance of his study relative to abortion.  Dadosky uses Romans 8:15-25 as the “Pauline teaching on sin” that Pius IX (Pope 1846-1869) used to develop his dogma of the Immaculate Conception.  The problem about abortion is the time at which Mary had her fullness of grace, when the sperm met the egg or at a later point of development.

I have long known of the philosophic contest between Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) and Duns Scotus (c. 1266-1308): between the Dominicans and the Franciscans.  With Aristotle, Aquinas thought, “human animation (fusion and body and soul) occurred after conception.” 

Dadosky approaches the subject obliquely, quoting Denis Wiseman that,


“Thomas maintains:  `The Blessed Virgin did indeed contract original sin, but was cleansed from it before her birth from the womb’ (Summa theologiae (hereafter ST) III, 27, 2, ad 2).)”

Duns Scotus (d. ca. 1380) by contrast championed the cause of the Immaculate Conception.  Following his teacher William of Ware (d. ca. 1350), Scotus found it better to err on the side of honoring Mary than to risk falling short by positing that she was tainted by original sin.  Both Aquinas and Scotus saw it as fitting that Mary was conceived without original sin.  [sic]  In response to Aquinas’s concern to preserve the doctrine of the redemption, Scotus maintained that, not only was Mary in need of the Mediator’s grace, but given her unique mission and status, she would be in even greater need of the grace of Christ.  Not only does God have the power to confer such grace, but it is also fitting that God would do so hence Mary was preserved from both actual sin and original sin.


Dadosky is associate professor of theology and philosophy at Regis College, Toronto.  Regis College is the Jesuit Graduate Faculty of Theology at the University of Toronto.  Dadosky has one undergraduate degree and four graduate degrees.  All four of his graduate degrees are from Catholic institutions.  As an associate professor wanting to become a full professor, I wonder about the willingness of Dadosky to approach the abortion matter head on.[6] 

Leo XIII (Pope 1878-1903) ordered the rivalry between Scotus and Aquinas to end and that the seminaries teach only Aquinas, known as Thomism.  Thomism only took hold in the seminaries following World War II and then only lasted until the end of Vatican II (1962-1965).  Dadosky goes nowhere near the relationship between teaching Thomism in the seminaries, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, and the current political controversies associated with abortion and federally funded health care.


Rom 8:18-23

Hyun-Chul Cho, S.J., “Interconnectedness and Intrinsic Value as Ecological Principles:  An Appropriation of Karl Rahner’s Evolutionary Christology”[7]

Cho argues from be set free from slavery to corruption to value interconnectedness as intrinsic to the new creation.  Cho relates the new creation with the ecology.



Rom 8:21-23

Wolfgang Vondey, “The Holy Spirit and the Physical Universe: The Impact of Scientific Paradigm Shifts on Contemporary Pneumatology”[8]

Vondey argues that the special theory of relativity of Einstein adds a fourth dimension to reality, namely time.  A recent article in Scientific American wants to include as many as ten dimensions.[9]  Such theories shake the traditional foundations of Western thought. 

Vondey juxtaposes Romans 8:21-23 about the original order of creation being symmetrical and Genesis 1:3; 21:7; 3:17-19 about God bringing order to the original asymmetrical order of creation.  In other words, for Romans, sin causes disorder; for Genesis God orders an otherwise chaotic universe.  Which is it?  How are the Faithful to understand the physical universe in light of the Holy Spirit?  Traditional three-dimensional thinking now has another component, time, with which to relate.


Rom 8:23-27

Ignatius Brady, O.F.M., “Saint Francis and the Holy Spirit”[10]

Saint Francis wants to let the firstfruits of the Holy Spirit take over the lives of the Faithful.  Brady encapsulates the thought.  “We must not be wise and prudent as men account these things, but rather be simple, humble and free of self, that the Spirit may rest upon us and act in us.”


Rom 8:23

Nijay K. Gupta, “Which `Body’ Is a Temple (1 Corinthians 6:19)?  Paul beyond the Individual/Communal Divide”[11]

The redemption of our bodies of the Lectionary does not fully reflect the Greek, which has a plural pronoun modifying a singular noun.  A more accurate translation might be the body of you all.  I find nothing about the Mystical Body of Christ in this article, which is how I like to think about the translation.

The Vulgate has corporis nostri, preserving the pronoun-noun relationship, the body of you all.  Daniel B. Wallace classifies the verse as making a contrast, meaning that the pronoun-noun relationship is deliberate and not just a colloquium.[12]  It seems to me that Romans is contrasting the physical body of Paul in the singular with the Mystical Body of Christ in the plural.

The point Gupta is making is that the communal understanding of our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit is legitimate.  The individual understanding of each of our bodies is already understood, I would observe, primarily in the context of human sexuality.  Ironically, all the while noting the convoluted discourses of Paul, Gupta offers his own convoluted discourse in the final sentence of his article.  “In the end, we must look to the details of Paul’s ostensibly convoluted discourses about how the person participates equally with the community in Christ and, in Paul’s theology, find meaning that goes beyond an individual/communal divide.”


Matthew 13:1-23

Matt 13:18-23         

Garwood P. Anderson, "Seeking and Saving What Might Have Been Lost: Luke's Restoration of an Enigmatic Parable Tradition"[13]

Anderson finds the parables originally ambiguous in an enigmatic parable tradition, except the one about the sower that the Lectionary uses this Sunday.  Here, Jesus explains his own parable. 




For recurring themes in Sacred Scripture, see the following.  The exclamation point (!) indicates where to find principal reference lists of passages related by a common theme or expression.  Italics of the same verse (I supply the book and chapter) indicates a special relevance; italics of a different verse or book, indicates a direct quote.  Commas separate verses within the same book and semi-colons separate books.  The abbreviation for following is f.  For more lengthy following, the abbreviation is ff.  The abbreviation for personal confusion is ??  For material based on the Greek Septuagint Greek, the abbreviation is LXX.  With this material, I am trying to lay a foundation for developing Biblical themes the next time through the Cycles.  I intend to add in which Lectionary readings to find the relevant passages.



Sacred Scripture develops themes for the following readings in Romans 8:18-23:


Verse 18       Mark 13:5 ff.; Luke 22:28-30; 2 Corinthians 4:10 17 ?? Apocalypse of Baruch 15:8, 32:6; Romans 5:2.

Verse 19       Philemon 1:20; Colossians 1:23; 4 Ezra 7:11, 25 ?? Galatians 5:5!

Verse 20       Romans 1:21; Ephesians 4:17; Ecclesiasticus 1, 2 etc.; Genesis 3:17-19.

Verse 21       1 John 3:2!  The Greek manuscripts are difficult at the words that creation itself would be set free or because creation itself would be set free.

Verse 22       2 Corinthians 5:2, 4 ??; 4 Ezra 10:9.

Verse 23       2 Corinthians 1:22! Romans 8:15! 3:24!


Sacred Scripture develops themes for the following readings in Matthew 13:1-23:


Verse 1         Matthew 1-9; Mark 4:1-9; Luke 8:4-8, 36.

Verse 2         Mark 2:13; Matthew 3:9.

Verse 3         Matthew 10:34 f. parallel.

Verse 4         4 Ezra 8:41; Matthew 9:31 ff.

Verse 5         Sirach 40:15.

Verse 6         James 1:11; John 15:6.

Verse 7         Job 31:40.  The Greek manuscripts are difficult at the word choked.

Verse 9         Matthew 11:15!

Verse 10       Matthew 13:10-17; Mark 4:10-12; Luke 8:9 f 3! ??

Verse 11       1 Corinthians 2:10.  The Greek manuscripts are difficult at the word he said to them in reply.

Verse 12       Romans 11:25; Matthew 25:29 parallel; Mark 4:25 parallel.

Verse 13       Mark 8:18; Luke 19:42; John 20:40; Jeremiah 5:21; Acts 13:40 f.; Matthew 28:26 f.

Verse 14       Isaiah 6:9 LXX

Verse 16       Matthew 16:17; Luke 10:23 f.; Isaiah 52:15; Psalms of Solomon 18:6 f.

Verse 17       Matthew 10:41! Hebrews 11:13; 1 Peter 1:10; John 8:56.

Verse 18       Matthew 13:18-23; Mark 4:13-20; Luke 8:11-15.

Verse 22       Matthew 6:19-34 parallel; Luke 14:18-20; Matthew 21:34; Mark 10:23 f.





Through Reading 70A, January 30, 2011, I designed these comments on the availability of manuscripts to make the point that uncertainty exists about exactly which Greek to use for the purposes of translation.  At that point, I began offering manuscript availability for background when examining Translating the New Testament:  Text, Translation, Theology, which I purchased based on the review in the Catholic Biblical Quarterly.[14]

On April 4, 2011, USA Today headlined “Planned high-tech museum to take scholarly look at Bible.”  The location, architecture, and name of the museum are currently under development.  The museum will include “the world’s largest collection of ancient biblical manuscripts and texts.”  The Steve Green family owns the manuscripts.  Green is sponsoring the museum.  The director of the collection is Professor Scott Carroll, research professor of manuscript studies at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.  As described below, what Carroll is developing, will add to what the Alands provide.[15]  (Without running more hard copies, I am placing the above paragraph in the Appendix.)


Romans 8:18-23

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.[16]

The Cambridge University Library has a Third Century papyrus with Romans 8:12-22.  The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor has a papyrus dating from about 200 with Romans 8:15—15:9.


Matthew 13:1-23

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.[17]

Writing about verses relegated to the apparatus, the Alands mention Matthew 13:9 (whoever has ears ought to hear).


4) Mark 7:16.  This saying is found repeatedly in the original text of the Gospels (cf. Matt 11:15; 13:9; 13:43; Mark 4:9; 4:23; Luke 8:8; 14:35), and it is only too easy to understand how a part of the manuscript tradition would add it in contexts where it seemed appropriate, as in the present passage (the evidence for the insertion is clearly inferior to that for the omission when internal criteria are considered).



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

[1] For some recent scholarship, see Gerald Holton, review of Richard Staley, Einstein’s Generation:  The Origins of the Relativity Revolution, The American Historical Review, Vol. 116, No. 2 (April 2011) 529-530.


[2] Theological Studies, Vol. 70, No. 3 (September 2009) 669, 684.


[3] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 72, No. 4 (October 2010) 809.


[4] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 73, No. 1 (January 2011) 95, 96, 100, 102.


[5] Theological Studies, Vol. 72, No. 1 (March 2011) 20, 22.


[6]  (Accessed April 26, 2011.)


[7] Theological Studies, Vol. 70, No. 3 (September 2009) 637.


[8] Theological Studies, Vol. 70, No. 1 (March 2009) 32.


[9] John C. Baez and John Huerta, “Mathematics:  The Strangest Numbers in String Theory:  A forgotten number system invented in the 19th century may provide the simplest explanation for why our universe could have 10 dimensions,” Scientific American, Vol. 304, No. 5 (May 2011) 60-65.


[10] Greyfriars Review Vol. 19, Issue 3 (2005) 202.


[11] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 72, No. 3 (July 2010) 522, 536.


[12] Daniel B. Wallace, With Scripture, Subject, and Greek Word Indexes: Greek Grammar:  Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Michigan: Zondervan, 1996) 322.


[13] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 4 (October 2008) 735.


[14] Robert Hodgson, Jr., review of Translating the New Testament:  Text, Translation, Theology, Stanley E. Porter and Mark J. Boda (eds.) (Grand Rapids, Michigan:  William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2009), the Catholic Quarterly, Vol. 72, No. 4 (October 2010) 877-878.


[15] Cathy Lynn Grossman, “Planned high-tech museum to take scholarly look at Bible:  Organizers say history, not ministry is aim,” USA Today, Nation, page 6A.  At the same place, also see “Collection boasts unrivaled rarities.”


[16] Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989, 97, 99.


[17] Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989, 302.