The question hidden in the Lectionary is what role does anxiety have in the religious life? Psalm 85:11 sets out a basic tension of consciousnesses: kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss. Frequently, presenting the truth is unkind, most importantly in cases of fraternal correction, particularly at funeral Masses. Justice and peace are also a difficult match, because peace comes at a cost of an overpowering force. In human terms, peace and justice are difficult terms to match. The Divine is required.
The human balancing act implied above can tear apart a delicate conscience. While it is true that a theoretical personal oblation to God can make a morally mature person at one with self, the practical application of finding a balance is next to impossible. These readings are about the anxiety inherent in leading a religious life.
Obedience is one escape, by which the Faithful simply
accept the judgment of another. Such
obedience lost its acceptability, however, when used as the defense of
Holocaust actions by the Nazis at the
In 1 Kings 19:11-12 the peace-bringing power of
crushing rocks and earthquakes
is balanced with justice enveloped in a tiny whispering sound. Recognizing what is happening,
Psalm 85:8 and 9 contrast hearing with seeing. The verse says I will hear but the antiphon prays let us see. The ancients valued seeing over hearing. When God proclaims peace (Psalm 85:9), the psalmist proclaims fear (Psalm 85:10). Where Psalm 85:14 in the Lectionary translation has justice walking before the LORD, another translation would be righteousness goes before the LORD. Trying to live a holy life does bring a certain amount of anxiety, even at the level of praying the Lectionary.
The psalms practically institutionalize anxiety. For example, Psalm 85 is one of communal lament. The Lectionary choice highlights an invocation to God (Psalm 85:8, 9), a confession of trust (Psalm 85:10-14), a petition (Psalm 85:8), words of assurance (Psalm 85:10-14). Such a communal lament is appropriate for those misrepresented and unrepresented, such as Black Catholics and others.
May God who is over all be blessed for ever! Amen
The Messiah according to the flesh who is over all, God blessed for ever, Amen.
The idea in Romans 9:5 is that the origin of
These readings are about religious anxiety before the power of God in 1 Kings tempered by an act of faith in Psalm 85, rejuvenated as Paul reconsiders the Israelites in Romans 9:4, and faced with disbelief at the suspension of the laws of gravity with Peter beginning to sink (Matthew 14:30). The role of anxiety in the religious life is complex and varied, ultimately only resolved by God himself.
At this time (in 2005), some Personal Notes are already on the web site at www.western-civilization.com/CBQ/Personal%20Notes I have not yet established a firm procedure for uploading Personal Notes.
For more on sources see the Appendix file.
Sue Gillingham, “From Liturgy to Prophecy: The Use of Psalmody in Second
 John Paul Heil, From Remnant to Seed of Hope for Israel: Romans 9:27-29," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 4 (October 2002) 707.
 Joseph Plevnik, S.J., “The Understanding of God at the Basis of Pauline Theology," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 65, No. 4 (October 2003) 562.
 Jack Dean Kingsbury, “Observations on the `Miracle Chapters’ of Mathew 8-9," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 4 (October 1978) 565; R. Barry Matlock, “`Even the Demons Believe’: Paul and pistiV Xristou," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 2 (April 2002) 312-313.