First Reading:                   2 Kings 4:42-44

Responsorial Psalm:          Psalm 145:10-11, 15-16, 17-18 (cf. 16)

Second Reading               Ephesians 4:1-6

Alleluia                              Luke 7:16 

Gospel:                             John 6:1-15



The antiphon for this Sunday is “The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.”  One of our needs is getting over racism, even as a concept.  Racism is negative.  The positive side of racism is inclusiveness, love, walking in the moccasins of others as much as possible.

We need not be too literal.  In Galilee, at the time of Jesus, there were sandals, but no moccasins in which to walk.[1]  Present day scholarship is looking at the human historical Jesus (sometimes neglecting the Divine historical Jesus).  Current scholarship is interested in such aspects of material culture as sandals.

The prayer for this Sunday is to take current scholarship and apply it to the spiritual life.  As we wrote for these readings in 2003,


Several comments in the July 2003 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly seem germane: The quotations and their references are from the Pontifical Biblical Commission’s The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church published in 1993 and approved by Pope John Paul II in at least a quasi-magisterial manner.


  The Scriptures belong to the entire church (III.B.3.i) and all of the members of the church have a role in the interpretation of Scripture (III.B.3.b).  People of lowly status, according to scripture itself, are privileged hearers of the word of God (III.B.3.f).    The magisterium’s function is not to set itself between Scripture and the people of God, but rather to render authoritative judgments as the need arises.    All Christians are called to actualize Scripture for themselves.  While pastoral actualization—applying Scripture to contemporary circumstances—belongs to preachers and catechists rather than exegetes, good exegesis is oriented toward and prepares the way for actualization .…  Principles of interpretation can serve not only exegetes but also theologians, clergy, and lay people.[2]


These Personal Notes, then, are not preaching, but are a sharing of my nonprofessional sense of Scripture.


Those 2003 Notes bring us to these 2009 Notes that are not about Raymond Arroyo, but finds help for praying, in his program.  The spirituality contained in the readings does seem applicable to what is happening on his EWTN television show.  Last week we faulted Arroyo for hiding love.  Now, these Notes want to recognize a change, for the very sake of recognizing the change.

On Friday, May 29, Arroyo, showed love for Father Alberto Cutie, who gave up his priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church to join the Episcopal Church.  Father Cutie had been photographed with his lover on a beach in Miami.  Arroyo said he knew and admired Cutie.  Arroyo had difficulty accepting what had happened.  That was love.[3]  But not everything changed.

What has this to do with racism?  Racism is lack of love, lack of inclusiveness, a lack that we find in the unchallenged approach asserted by the Republican woman, Mary Ann Glyndon, who refused the Laetare Medal from the University of Notre Dame because Notre Dame honored the Democratic President.  Glyndon disapproves the political approach President Obama takes toward abortion.  In this context, the Faithful will watch how Arroyo treats the news of the murder of Dr. George Tiller, who performed late term abortions, and the silence of the hierarchy about the crime of his murder.[4] 

Arroyo spent the first half of his program interviewing Glyndon, the United States Ambassador to the Vatican.  At the same time, Glyndon excoriated the Supreme Court of Earl Warren that handed down the school desegregation decision; she proclaimed that the United States had put its racism behind it.  At best, such an assertion is ignorant; at worst, such an assertion is lack of love.[5]

This is not just “feel good” spirituality.”  Scholars are pointing out that Jesus, the Galilean, reached across his Galilean biases.  What does it mean that Jesus was a Galilean?  When the Greek Syro-Phoenician woman had to say to Jesus that even dogs ate scraps from the table, did she alert him to his lack of inclusiveness?  Just how isolated were the Galileans?  Scholars are asking.

Part of the answer to the isolation of the Galileans only arose in 1997, when archeologists published their findings.  The ancient material culture of Galilee included material from non-Israelites.  As a Galilean, Jesus got along with others with whom he would not have agreed.  As a member of the Chosen People, Jesus lived with a racist bias against others.

To shift political attention, even as a Chosen People, the Israelites were a migrant people.  Migrants need to hold on to their own identity, as they merge into new groups.  While such merging was necessary for the Israelites, such merging also became a Christian tradition.  There is an immediate political relevance.  We turn our attention from Raymond Arroyo to Miguel H. Diaz.

Diaz is the new nominee as Ambassador to the Holy See.  He has a professional theological interest in the human rights of migrants.  For example, as part of his scholarly work, he reviewed A Promised Land, A Perilous Journey: Theological Perspectives on Migration, edited by Daniel G. Groody and Gioacchino Campese in the current edition of Theological Studies.[6]  Though born in Cuba, Diaz has paid special attention to Mexicans.

According to the Catholic News Agency, Diaz is “inspired in the Latino and Black liberation theology, such as the forthcoming `The Life-giving Reality of God from Black, Latin-American, and U.S. Hispanic Theological Perspectives,’ `Otherness in Black Catholic and Latino/a Catholic Theologies and the Otherness of God … .’”[7]  We can watch whether Arroyo has this Democratic nominee on his program.  Interest now turns from Arroyo and Diaz to what secular scholars are thinking about what it means to love.

Love is about identity, basically, the ability to treat one’s neighbor as oneself.  A change is taking place in the secular world about linking identity with a particular place, for example Galilee or Cleveland, Ohio.

Historians, still tend to associate place only with geographic space.  This historian is an exception who does not and never has associated the place called Cleveland, Ohio, only with geographic space.  Sociologists and anthropologists include place in a broader aspect of an identity.  Other relationships, besides the relationship to a particular space, are important, for but one example, kinship relationships for those left behind, over long migrant distances.[8]

The overriding prayer for this Sunday, “The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs” is about inclusiveness toward those whom the Faithful reach out in love.  That inclusiveness extends to those politicians and legislators who both do and do not share values of the Faithful.  The sense is that of a Galilean reaching out.  That outreach extends to the James of the Chosen People of Jerusalem and the Paul of the Diaspora and Gentiles.

On the one hand, the Gospel of Mark hides the Divine nature of Jesus.  The Gospels of Matthew and Luke, on the other hand, proclaim the Divinity of Jesus from the beginning.  The Gospel of John, used this Sunday, also extols the Divinity of Jesus and links his deeds with his person.  When Jesus feeds the five thousand, he does not make any exceptions.

The Faithful want to extend their love to the Galilean aspect of Christian identity that in one way is open to others and in another way is not so open.  Realizing that Jesus is the Christ tends to make the Faithful withdraw from the world.  Realizing that Jesus expects the Faithful to spread the Gospel opens the Faithful to find common ground to love those with whom they disagree.



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 scholarly details.


2 Kings 4:42-44

2 Kgs 4:38-44

Paul Lawrence, The IVP Atlas of Bible History[9]

The map shows where Elijah ministered, particularly on Mount Carmel, which boarders Galilee.


Psalm 145:10-11, 15-16, 17-18 (cf. 16)

Codex Sinaiticus[10]

The continuing point of the exercise reaching into the original manuscripts is to accept some doubt and the resulting search for truth as part of Christian life.  The Church chose Sacred Scripture from many competing original manuscripts.  Development of the words of Sacred Scripture is an historical reality.  These Notes try to include this reality as an act of humility against the self-righteous pride required to lead a Christian life and the unacceptable non-academic dictates which cause interior conflicts within Christianity and the Catholic Church.

I can make out enough of the Greek to be satisfied that Psalm 145 in the Lectionary is Psalm 144 in the Codex.


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[11]

Richard G. Kratz regards Psalm 145 “the concept of God as king not only of Israel but of all the world … not evident elsewhere in the Psalter.”


Psalm 145:15

Stephen L. Cook, review of Roger Tomes, "I Have Written to the King, My Lord": Secular Analogies for the Psalms[12]

Tomes explores the relationship between the Psalms and God to the relationship between ancient vassals and their lords.  Tomes does well with their similarities, but does not do well with their dissimilarities.


Ephesians 4:1-6

Eph 4:2

The Greek for they saw the signs may also be they saw the works.  This is like the hymn “How Great Thou Art,” in which redactors changed the original words from “consider all the worlds thy hands have made,” to all the works …”  Another change was from rolling to mighty thunder.[13]


Eph 4:5

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, United States Catholic Catechism for Adults[14]

The bishops use this verse as a doctrinal statement, as follows, “The Church is one.  She professes `one Lord, one faith, one baptism’ (Eph 4:5).  This unity, sustained by the Holy Spirit, includes a diversity of gifts, talents, cultures, and rites.”  It seems to me that Church history is about finding, rather than assuming, unity.  That, perhaps, is what the Bishops mean.


Luke 7:16


John 6:1-15

John 6:8-12

A papyrus manuscript; dating from the Third Century is in the Pacific School of Religion, Palestine Institute Museum, in Berkeley.[15]


John 6:13-14

A Sixth century manuscript with these verses is in the Public Library in Leningrad.[16]


John 6:1-2

A Seventh Century manuscript with these verses is in the Staatliche Museen in Berlin.[17]


John 6:4.  10

Paul Lawrence, The IVP Atlas of Bible History[18]

The map depicts Galilee, where Jesus spent most of his time in his ministry.  Lawrence points out that John 6:4 is one of three Passovers mentioned in the Gospel of John, including the one at the death of Jesus.  Lawrence calculates that at this point, Jesus had another year to live.


John 6:7-10

Jerome H. Neyrey, S.J., "`I Am the Door' (John 10:7, 9): Jesus the Broker in the Fourth Gospel"[19]

As a broker, Jesus is wealthy, inducing others to accept him.


John 6:14-15

Sean Freyne, “The Galilean Jesus and a Contemporary Christology”[20]

The material above the double line leans heavily upon this article.



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


[2] Peter S. Williamson, “Catholic Principles for Interpreting Scripture,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 65, No. 3 (July 2003), 337, 338, 346, 348.


[3] Raymond Arroyo, the ETWN program, “The World Over,” Friday, May 29, 2009.  I do not own the technology required to record this program, and accept the risk associated therewith.



[5] For a recent explanation, with statistics, see V. P. Franklin, “Commentary: The Election of Barack Obama: The Debt has Not Been Paid,” The Journal of African American History, Vol. 94, No 1 (Winter 2009) 1-4.


[6] Miguel H. Diaz, review of A Promised Land, A Perilous Journey: Theological Perspectives on Migration, edited by Daniel G. Groody and Gioacchino Campese in Theological Studies, Vol. 70, No. 2 (June 2009) 490-491.


[7]  page 2/11  (accessed  May 31, 2009).


[8] Robert Self, “Review Essay: Writing Landscapes of Class, Power, and Racial Division: The Problem of (Sub)Urban Space and Place in Postwar America,” Journal of Urban History, Vol.  27, No. 2 (2001) 237-250.


[9] Downers Grove, Illinois, InterVarsity Press, 2006, 84-85.


[10]  (accessed  May 31, 2009).  Psalm 145 in the Lectionary is Psalm 144 in the Codex Sinaiticus.


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


[12] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 3 (July 2006) 532.


[13] Breaking Bread 2006, (Portland: Oregon Catholic Press, 2009), #413, explains the difference with an asterisk.  (accessed  June 4, 2009) gives a detailed explanation.  See especially age 9/15.


[14] Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2006, 138


[15] 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. (Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989) 97.


[16] 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. (Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989) 120.


[17] 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. (Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989) 125.


[18] Downers Grove, Illinois, InterVarsity Press, 2006, 138, 140.


[19] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 2 (April 2007) 287.


[20] Theological Studies, Vol. 70, No. 2 (June 2009) 288.