God reaches the Faithful in many ways: a sunset (if God wanted us to see the sunrise, he would have made it later in the day), birds chirping in the woods, life itself being able to know one another and God.  That contact with God is relatively direct.

God also reaches out to the Faithful by entering history.  That is why we study Sacred Scripture.  Human politics does get involved, requiring the truth to peel away the clerical trappings of the Good News, including the Good News of Jesus Christ.

God also reaches the souls of the Faithful directly through the Holy Eucharist.  Not only is the Holy Eucharist difficult to understand, but Jesus insists that he is leaving us his body and blood in the form of the Eucharist.  Our main seminary philosophy professor, Reverend Robert E. McCall, S.S.J., wrote his doctoral dissertation on the Reality of Substance.  That means I have a special philosophical background for understanding the Eucharist.

Basically, the Eucharist looks like bread and wine but is really the body and blood of Jesus.  Father McCall said that without the Eucharist, we would never know that substance existed, because in transubstantiation it is substance that changes, while the accidents (appearances) remain.  The Catholic experience of receiving the Holy Eucharist explains the direct, personal presence of God, better than any prattling on paper can ever do.

The readings for this Sunday have a Eucharistic nature, as found in feeding the five thousand.  In the readings, Isaiah transfers the covenant with David to the people of the First Testament.  The Psalmist promises that the people will eat and enjoy their food, without having to pay for it.  In the New Testament, Romans proclaims that none of the circumstances of life will separate the Faithful from the love of God, made manifest through Jesus.  By reason of its physical contact, the Catholic Eucharist best manifests the love of God.


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 of the interesting details scholars and others are presenting.

I seem to have translated all of the last two New Testament Greek Readings 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[1] and to various snippets of the Greek, with a less systematic approach than before.


Isaiah 55:1-3

Isa 55:3

Léo Laberge, O.M.I., review of Angelo Borghino, La “Nuova Alleanza” in Is 54: Analist esegetico-teologica[2]

Borghino writes about a new covenant.  Isaiah mentions condemnation and punishment.  Isaiah also promises a new covenant that “is not simply a copy of what was at the beginning, but a transformation that brings with it rich fulfillment: a superabundance of peace and of sons …”


Isa 55:3

Richard J. Dillon, "The Benedictus in Micro- and Macrocontext"[3]

Dillon asserts, “no particularly strong connection is forged in the OT or in early Judaism between God’s covenant with Abraham and the destiny of the house of David.”  Dillon further asserts that “God’s promise to David has been fulfilled in the resurrection and heavenly enthronement of Jesus, a distinctly Lucan argument.


Isa 55:3

Stephen J. Paterson, review of Christine Helmer (ed.), Biblical Interpretation: History, Context, and Reality[4]

An essay by Marvin Sweeney uses Isaiah 55:3 to argue, “modern Judaism’s democratized understanding of messianism are heirs to the democratizing messianic concept of Isaiah, especially Isa 55:3.”


Isa 55:3-5

Adrian M. Leske, review of Clay Alan Ham, The Coming King and the Rejected Shepherd: Matthew’s Reading of Zechariah’s Messianic Hope[5]

Against Ham, Leske argues that God transferred the everlasting covenant with David to the Faithful.  I will renew with you the everlasting covenant, the benefits assured to David.


Psalm 145:8-9, 15-16, 17-18

Psalm 145 is available for the sick.[6]


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[7]

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


Psalm 145:15

Stephen L. Cook, review of Roger Tomes, "I Have Written to the King, My Lord": [sic] Secular Analogies for the Psalms[8]

The eyes of all look hopefully to you [the Lord] is analogous to relationships to human lords.  Tomes argues for that analogy.  At the point of how God responds, Cook argues that God responds far more magnanimously than human lords do.  Cook also argues that the psalms ask for things, such as “create in me a clean heart” (Psalm 51:7) that no earthly lord could do.


Romans 8:35, 37-39

These verses are available for both visits to the sick and funerals.[9]


Rom 8:31-39

Patricia M. McDonald, review of Hendrikus Boers, Christ in the Letters of Paul: In Place of a Christology[10]

Boers makes some interesting assertions, “Paul has no christology because he is not a Christian but `a Jew who believed in Christ’ (p. 310), struggling to be faithful to his heritage, which culminated in God’s action in Christ …” Paul does not focus on Jesus, but on “the many and varied situations in which his readers were finding themselves.”  Nothing is able to separate us from the love of God.  Boers assumes that the reader is proficient in Greek and modern languages, which he does not translate.


Rom 8:38-39

Lisa Sowle Cahill, "Quaestio Disputata: The Atonement Paradigm: Does it Still Have Explanatory Value?"[11]

Lisa Cahill uses Romans 8:38-39, about God’s uniting and healing love, to assert, “God herself enters unfailingly into the very place and heart of her child.  Her child is being raped, is committing rape … God loves in tender vulnerability and in sustaining power.”  Lisa Cahill argues, “Nowhere in the New Testament does forgiveness depend on punishment or retribution.”


Rom 8:38

Stanley E. Porter, review of John D. Morres, Wrestling with Rationality in Paul: Romans 1—8 in a New Perspective[12]

Morres uses semiology or the study of signs and so-called “fuzzy logic” in his search for meaning Romans 8:38, where Morres has a focus.  In this verse, Paul is listing things that will not separate him from the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord.  It seems to me a stretch to find signs in such realities as angels.  The reviewer, Porter, also has some problems with the book, though Porter likes the book for the potential “to spur further attention to the details of the text of Romans.”


Matthew 4:4b


Matthew 14:13-21

 There is a difficult passage in the Greek, marked with a dagger at Matthew 14:15, so that they can go to the villages.  As I understand the difficult text, some manuscripts add the Greek word for accordingly or therefore.  The disciples are granting the crowds the use of reason to do what is reasonable.


Matt 14:14

John Paul Heil, “Ezekiel 34 and the Narrative Strategy of the Shepherd and Sheep Metaphor in Matthew[13]

Heil argues, “The use of the metaphor of shepherd and sheep for the leaders and their people embraces the entire gospel of Matthew,” Heil goes on, “… even though the words `shepherd’ and `sheep’ do not occur, for he [Jesus] has looked upon them with compassion (esplagcnisqh) and has healed (eqerapeusen) their sick.”


Matt 14:17-19

Clemente Ciammaruconi, "The Last Supper of Francis of Assisi: A Passage from `We Who Were With Him'"[14]

 From existing documents made by those present at the deathbed of Saint Francis, and citing Matthew 14:17-19, about eating the five loaves and two fish, it seems that Francis blessed bread and gave it to his own disciples in imitation of Christ.

Francis never was a priest.  In other words, Francis never changed bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus.  Francis preferred to lead the Faithful to the Eucharist, without involving himself in clericalism.  That is why the Protestants continue to love Saint Francis of Assisi and why liberation theology continues to offer a preference for the poor.


          After Francis died, Saint Bonaventure opened up the Franciscans to ordination and the clerical state.  The history of the struggle to keep the spirit of Saint Francis alive is intriguing.  That spirit is part of the spirit of the Poor Clare Sisters.  Saint Clare is the leading feminine soul enhancing the spirit of Saint Francis.

After-Action Report

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Reading 91A, June 15, 2008


My problem with the Bishops runs parallel to the Deuteronomic Reform and Revision of Sacred Scripture, during the reign of Josiah (640-609 BC).  Reformers emphasized laws over prophetic utterances, as does the contemporary Roman Catholic hierarchy.  The contemporary Catholic hierarchy pontificates on the meaning of the natural law, something known by reason and, therefore, is debatable.  My main concern is the relationship between natural and unnatural methods of birth control and abortion as set forth in modern political civil struggles.  Implicit in what appears above the double line is questioning how the Bishops are silencing theologians who bring reason to bear on the natural law differently from the Bishops.

Also involved in calling the Catholic hierarchy to account is the structure of accountability within the hierarchy.  There is no such thing as a written constitution, in the sense of the United States Constitution, for the Roman Catholic Church.  The ecclesiastical structure of Church authority is Roman and Medieval.

In Medieval Europe, the King might rule from Paris, but the Baron would be in Languedoc.  Theoretically, the king had all the power, but in practice, the Baron could do what he wanted, unless the king happened to be present.  In other words, the Baron was a king unto himself, much as the local ordinary of a diocese.  With modern means of communication, Medieval authority structures have become outmoded.

Medieval law, of which Church Canon Law is a part, applied principles to cases, with different bishops applying the law differently.  Even in modern case law, in which judges apply principles according to case precedent, judges make a difference.  Sometimes, even in modern case law, it is still more important to know who the judge is than what the law says.  In Church law, it is exponentially more important to know the bishop applying the law.

My intention is to include After-Action Reports twice in these Personal Notes.  For those following along, from week to week, I intend to insert the Report for the Sunday being prepared when the Report is made.  At that time, I also intend to add the Report to the Sunday in question, in this case the Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Reading 91A, June 15, 2008.  If I am still available, I intend to remove the Report from when it was first made, but leave it with the Sunday for which it was made.


[1] 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.


[2] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 2 (April 2006) 299.


[3] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 3 (July 2006) 475.


[4] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 4 (April 2007) 861.


[5] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 1 (April 2006) 145.


[6] The Roman Ritual: Revised by Decree of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and Published by Authority of Pope Paul VI: Pastoral Care of the Sick: Rites of Anointing and Viaticum: Approved for use in the dioceses of the United States of America by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and Confirmed by the Apostolic See: Prepared by International Commission on English in the Liturgy: a Joint Commission of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences (New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co. 1983) 328.


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


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


[9] The Roman Ritual: Revised by Decree of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and Published by Authority of Pope Paul VI: Pastoral Care of the Sick: Rites of Anointing and Viaticum: Approved for use in the dioceses of the United States of America by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and Confirmed by the Apostolic See: Prepared by International Commission on English in the Liturgy: a Joint Commission of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences (New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co. 1983) 267.


N.a., International Commission on English in the Liturgy: A Joint Commission of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences, The Roman Ritual: Revised by Decree of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and published by Authority of Pope Paul IV: Order of Christian Funerals: Including Appendix 2: Cremation: Approved for use in the Dioceses of the United States of America by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and Confirmed by the Apostolic See (New Jersey: Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1998) 216.


[10] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 1 (April 2008) 140.


[11] Theological Studies, Vol. 68, No. 2 (June 2007) 429.


[12] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 59, No. 4 (April 1997) 782.


[13] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 55, No. 4 (April 1993) 698-704


[14] Greyfriars Review, Vol. 18, No. 2 (2004) 206.