First Reading:                    Genesis 18:1-10a

Responsorial Psalm:          Psalm 15:2-3, 3-4, 5 (1a)

Second Reading:               Colossians 1:24-28

Alleluia:                             cf. Luke 8:15

Gospel:                             Luke 10:38-42



Social structures limit all human interactions.  Being human means being functionally limited.  Humans feel these limitations more in the pursuit of political power, politics, rather than truth. 

Truth is available in isolation and prayer; power is not available in isolation, at least in strictly human terms.  Prayer is the most powerful energy any human has, but prayer, a conversation with God, does not necessarily satisfy the prideful pursuits of ego.  These readings are about God keeping his Faithful ones for himself, hidden away from the blandishments of human power.

That recognized, who gets what in social relationships continues to unravel in the context of the Enlightenment, or the use of reason rather than faith, and the French Revolution.  From the French Revolution comes the worldwide phenomenon of representative democracy, something strange and foreign to Roman Catholic church politics.  At stake is whether politics should determine truth or truth should determine politics.  Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland, O.S.B. expresses why I regard Pope John Paul II as the worst Pope since the time of the Renaissance. 


… I was disappointed that the pope and the curia under him did not base their pastoral decisions on thorough research.  With his scholarly background, I had hoped he would see the need to be sure that his analysis of a situation was correct before proposing a pastoral solution.  I always had the impression that more credence was given to letters reaffirming preconceived notions than to valid sociological studies.  Over and over again I felt his decisions and those of his collaborators were made on the basis of anecdote, hearsay, complaint letters, and unverified press reports.


In other words, Pope John Paul II used the power of his papacy to determine truth; rather than use the power of truth to determine the power of his papacy.  In my opinion, on this Martha-Mary Sunday, the most grievous offense by the papacy is an unwillingness to place its infallibility on line against the Faithful putting their lives on line with the cockamamie ideas of the Teaching Magisterium about birth control.




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.


Genesis 18:1-10a

Gen 18:1-16

Andrew E. Arterbury, “Breaking the Betrothal Bonds:  Hospitality in John 4”[1]

Arterbury uses the hospitality of Abraham to argue that similar hospitality is on display between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well.


Gen 18:1-15

Wolfgang M. W. Roth, “The Wooing of Rebekah: A Tradition-Critical Study of Genesis 24”[2]

Roth identifies Genesis 18:1-15 as occurring at the cult legend of a holy place.


Gen 18:1-15

Daniel R. Miller, review of Esther J. Hamori, “When Gods Were Men":  The Embodied God in Biblical and Near Eastern Literature[3]

Hamori presents a solid scholarly work demonstrating that the God of Israel communicated with humans in a way no other religious god did.  Communicating with humans is essential to the God of Israel.  Miller reports, “… it is part of the essence of God to be communicative and relational with humankind.”


Gen 18:3

Leroy Andrew Huizenga, “Obedience unto Death: The Matthean Gethsemane and Arrest Sequence and the Aqedah”[4]

Huizenga parallels the obedience of Isaac and Abraham with the obedience of Jesus, even to death.  I see accepting the social strictures of human existence as a similar oblation.  Such acceptance does not mean that a “pay-pray-and-obey” mentality is ever appropriate within the context of the sexual-abuse cover-up scandal.  Nor does it mean, sooner than appropriate, accepting the pain of dissolution associated with old age.


Gen 18:4

Lance Byron Richey, review of Mary L. Coloe, Dwelling in the Household of God:  Johannine Ecclesiology and Spirituality[5]

Coloe argues that the household of God is the household of Christians.  I am struck with the often used antiphon, “Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord,” used at reading 162C [later this year] the Thirty-Fourth or Last Sunday in Ordinary Time: The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King and at reading 1A, the First Sunday of Advent.  I have seen this antiphon often used at the Bethlehem Monastery of Poor Clares in Barhamsville, Virginia.


Psalm 15:2-3, 3-4, 5 (1a)


Colossians 1:24-28

The Greek manuscripts are uncertain at Colossians 1:27, the question seems to be whether, the Christ or it is Christ, as in the Lectionary.


Different languages perceive reality differently.  The ancient Greeks used pronouns for emphasis.  Translating this emphasis from the original Greek into English is an object of the highlighting on the last page of the hard copy, not found on the web site.  The purpose of the highlighting is to transfer the Greek emphasis on personal pronouns into the English translation.  Pronouns highlighted in blue have greater emphasis than in English, and are not as intense as the words marked in red.  Words marked with a vertical line, rather than fully highlighted, indicate places where the English translation lacks a pronoun corresponding to a pronoun in the Greek.  Words underlined with a horizontal line, indicate places where the English translation uses a noun, corresponding to a pronoun in the Greek.

Anyone wanting a copy of the highlighted verses, please ask me at  Thank you.


Colossians is intense at 1:28, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.  See Julia A. J. Foote below.



Colossians 1:24-28

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.[6]

The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, has a papyrus manuscript with Colossians 1:1—4:18 dating from about 200; as does P. Chester Beatty II in Dublin.


Col 1:28

Bettye Collier-Thomas, Daughters of Thunder: Black Women Preachers and Their Sermons, 1850-1979[7]

Julia A. J. Foote (1823-1901) began preaching before the Civil War.  In 1894, Star of Zion published her sermon, “Christian Perfection.”  Hers is a call to perfection, “to present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.”  The Greek only has Christ, in line with the Lectionary.  Foote thinks that the Roman Catholic Church overdoes the call to perfection with its vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience to superiors. 

Foote is the one inspiring my efforts to highlight Greek emphasis on pronouns.  Foote writes, “… every Greek scholar knows that [the pronoun] is the emphatic word, for where the pronouns are used emphasis is always meant.”


Col 1:24

Camille Bérubé, "The Early Spirit of Saint Francis by Bernardine of Paris"[8]

Bérubé posits that Saint Francis obtained the stigmata two years before his death, something Francis greatly desired.  My problem with desiring anything like that is the imposition it imposes.  I am less easy to live with when I am suffering.


cf. Luke 8:15


Luke 10:38-42

Luke 10:38-42

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.[9]

The Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek in Vienna has a Sixth/Seventh Century papyrus manuscript with Luke 10:38-42.  The Bibliothèque National has a Sixth Century papyrus manuscript with Luke 10:40—11:6.


Luke 10:42b

Bettye Collier-Thomas, Daughters of Thunder: Black Women Preachers and Their Sermons, 1850-1979[10]

When the Protestant Episcopal Church ordained Pauli Murray (1910-1985), at the age of sixty-seven, January 8, 1977, she was the first Black female, and the second African American ordained.  A few months after her ordination, Murray delivered “Mary Has Chosen the Best Part,” July 14, 1977.  She emphasized that a woman might reject the gender conventions of the day and still receive the blessings of Jesus.  Murray compared Mary to divinity students seeking ordination.


Luke 10:38-72

Nicholas E. Denysenko, "The Soteriological Significance of the Feast of Mary's Birth"[11]

The Byzantines shifted from the use of icons to the use of hymns.  The Byzantine church likes to use Martha and Mary to honor the Blessed Virgin on her birthday, September 8.


Luke 10:38-42

F. Scott Spencer, review of Philip F. Esler and Ronald A. Piper, Lazarus, Mary and Martha: Social-Scientific Approaches to the Gospel of John[12]

Esler is an outstanding social-scientific scholar concerned with society at the time of Jesus.  Esler sees the friendship of Jesus for Martha, Mary, and Lazarus as friendship for Christian family life, looking inward, rather than outward, with missionary zeal.


Luke 10:25-42

Martin C. Albl, review of William Loader, The New Testament with Imagination: A Fresh Approach to Its Writings and Themes[13]

Albl reports, that Loader “… notes the tension between contemporary hierarchical social order and more egalitarian Christian values.”



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

[1] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 72, No. 1 (April 2010) 66, 76, 77.


[2] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 34, No. 2 (April 1972) 180.


[3] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 4 (April 2009) 860-861.


[4] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 3 (April 2009) 510, 512, 514.


[5] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 72, No. 1 (April 2010) 139.


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


[7] San Francisco, CA 94103-1741:  A Wiley Imprint: 1998, 63, 66.


[8] Greyfriars Review, Vol. 18, No. 3 (2004) 251.


[9] Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989, 96, 119.


[10] San Francisco, CA 94103-1741:  A Wiley Imprint: 1998, 245.


[11] Theological Studies, Vol. 68, No. 4 (December 2007) 751.


[12] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 2 (April 2008) 364.


[13] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 2 (April 2008) 380.