As part of the Church Militant, we live in the vortex of turmoil. The Church has always been in one crisis or another. The cross of mismanagement in the Church is ours to carry, not in the sense of self-righteous superiority but in the sense of deep dissatisfaction, even depression. Sharing our concerns is appropriate and we do need to check our perceptions, one with the other. The purpose of the sharing is to share (1) our pain, and (2) to look for a salve for the pain in (a) prayer and (b) prudent action. This is a struggle and our part of that struggle is in the intellectual life, fighting for our own hearts and souls first of all, then for the hearts and souls of everybody else.
Verse 15 Thus says the Lord to Shebna, master of the palace
Though the Lectionary indicates that the readings begin with verse 19, the above first verse from the readings is pieced together from verse 15.
My reason for pointing this out is my concern for truth even in the face of countervailing pressure to be silent.
My sense of Isaiah 22:19-23 is that if we do not engage the Church and participate in the struggle of the Church Militant, we risk losing the inheritance of our Faith.
Psalm 138:1-2, 2-3, 6, 8
The following verse 5, while omitted from the Lectionary seems pertinent to the prayer of this Mass. This psalm is used for readings 71C and 111C. Verse 5 appears in 71C, but not in 111C.
Verse 5 They will sing of the ways of the Lord: “How great is the glory of the Lord!”
Ways is mentioned again, below, in Romans.
Glory carries meaning difficult to translate.
Another interesting example of semantic borrowing is the use of doxa, which in Classical Greek meant “opinion” or, in its passive sense, “reputation” (i.e., the opinion others have of a person). In the NT, of course, the word commonly has quite a different sense: “radiance, glory.” How can we account for such a substantial semantic shift? The explanation is that the LXX translators chose this word to render Hebrew … (“weight”), which was commonly used in the figurative sense of “importance, distinction” (cf. English weighty), then more specifically of divine manifestations. It is possible that in the Hellenistic period doxa, because of its sense of “good) reputation,” was already used with reference to the renown of kings and others in authority. If so, one can more easily understand why the LXX translators would have used this term in passages such as Exodus 24:17; 40:34; Ezekiel 1:28; and many others. But whatever the precise reasons for such use, it remains a striking instance of the effect that Hebrew had on the vocabulary of the Greek Bible.
Verse 8a The Lord is with me to the end.
The above verse 8a is omitted in the Lectionary.
Verse 33c how unsearchable his ways.
See above, verse 5 in the Psalm.
Verse 18 And so I say to you, you are
Moreover, there is an
insurmountable philological problem with the “defensive” interpretation of the gates: as J.
What sense, then, can
we make of attacking gates? First, in the OT “gates” (se arim) can be a
pars-pro-toto term for the city
itself; indeed, the English translations occasionally render se arim “town” or “city.” In line with this metonymy, in
Contrary to the usual
interpretation of our passage, the locus of this revelation, the church, will not be a vestibule into
the kingdom of heaven conceived as a realm, a domain which human beings enter to escape from the assaults of Hades. The church
will rather be the site of the battle
between the powers of Hades and the power of heaven. In the age inaugurated by
Critical to the
self-identification of Matthew’s groups is their use of the term ekklesia (“church” Matt ; ). Saldarini
attempts to minimize the significance of the evidence by postulating that
James, the brother of Jesus, the great hero of Jewish Christianity, received scant attention in the First Gospel (). Is this significant? Here, perhaps, the argument from silence has more force, since Matthew, in 16:17-19, makes such a point of elevating Peter, the patron saint of the Roman church, to a position far above that which he has in the Gospel of Mark, the gospel traditionally associated with Rome and Peter, while at the same time Matthew abstains from anti-Paulinism. Like every argument from silence, however, this one must remain inconclusive.
In the confession of Peter at Caesarea Philippi, we find a
Matthew-Luke agreement against Mark. In
Verse 19 I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Again, a scholar:
A comparable understanding of the “unloosing” of Scripture can be found in John 10:35, where Jesus asserts ironically and in strikingly similar terms: ou dunatai luqhnai h grafh (“Scripture cannot be loosed”). obviously, interpretation is not the issue; the point seems rather to be the divine authority behind the fixation of the biblical text, a concept reminiscent of the binding/loosing motif in Matt ; 18:18. Divinely revealed (“unloosed”) Scripture cannot be altered (“loosed”) by human initiative. … concern for the preservation of the text of Scripture …
In total context, I take Matt to include the power to interpret scripture correctly.
Scholars wonder where and why the Gospel According to
we look at four Matthew books which appeared in 1974, I think we shall find
further support for a Palestinian origin.
First of all, Eduard Schweizer, while cautiously noting that the
important role of Peter in the
gospel (16:16-19) points rather
toward Antioch than toward Jerusalem, an insisting on an apparent majority of
non-Jews in the Matthean community (21:23), firmly asserts that the gospel must
have been written in an area where Judaism continued to rule, that is,
Palestine or the neighboring part of Syria.
He then refines this to
This inquiry has endeavored to draw together
what direct and indirect evidence there is available to support a Palestinian,
Judean, and even a Caesarean provenance for the canonical gospel according to
Matthew, and this, not simply out of idle speculatively historical curiosity,
but in order to try to provide a concrete localization for the gospel as it is
widely understood in contemporary scholarship, viz., as being in dialogue with
the heirs of the Pharisees, breathing a Palestinian atmosphere, yet written in
Greek for a Greek-speaking community which is in transition from a more
Jewish-Christian, Torah-true character to being at least open to the Gentile
mission, sponsored by a significant church
with a tradition of learning and with good communications with the rest of the
My notes for the Nineteenth Sunday included the following, with newly marked bold:
A similar transcending of traditional
messianic categories occurs after 14:1—, in which issues of response
to the messianic Son of David come to the fore.
Peter’s confession includes “the
Finally, there is a Magnificat ® reading with which I heartily agree:
… To be heard it is not necessary to read from a book some beautiful formula composed for the occasion. … it really gives me a headache!…I say very simply to God what I wish to say, without composing beautiful sentences, and he always understands me.
In the above quotation,
In conclusion, the notion of the intellectual life as a battle ground for the hearts and souls of us all raises up my prayer from these readings.
 Because the Lectionary generally follows Saint Joseph Edition of The New American Bible: Translated from the Original Languages with Critical Use of All the Ancient Sources: Including The Revised New Testament and the Revised Psalms Authorized by the Board of Trustees of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine and Approved by the Administrative Committee/Board of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and the United States Catholic Conference: with many helps for Bible reading: Vatican II Constitution on Divine Revelation, How to Read the Bible, Historical Survey of the Lands of the Bible, Bible Dictionary, Liturgical Index of Sunday Readings, Doctrinal Bible Index, and over 50 Photographs and Maps of the Holy Land (New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1992), so do my quotations of passages used to fill in passages left out of the Lectionary.
 National Conference of Catholic Bishops, The Roman Missal Restored by Decree of the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican and Promulgated by Authority of Pope Paul VI: Lectionary for Mass: For Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America: Second Typical Edition: Volume I: Sundays, Solemnities, Feasts of the Lord and Saints (Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1998), page 784
 Joel Marcus, “The Gates of Hades and the Keys of the Kingdom (Matt -19),” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 50, No. 3 (July 1988), pages 444-445.
 Joel Marcus, “The Gates of Hades and the Keys of the Kingdom (Matt -19),” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 50, No. 3 (July 1988), pages 455.
 Douglas R. A. Hare, “How Jewish Is the Gospel of Matthew?” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 2 (April 2000), page 269.
 Douglas R. A. Hare, “How Jewish Is the Gospel of Matthew?” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 2 (April 2000), pages 266-267.
 Robert H. Stein, “The Matthew-Luke Agreements Against Mark: Insight from John,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 54, No. 3 (July, 1992), page 497.
 Rick Van De Water, “`Removing the Boundary’ (Hosea ) in First-Century Palestine,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 63, No. 4 (October 2001), page 625.
 W. R. G. Loader, “Son of David, Blindness, Possession, and Duality in Matthew,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 44, No. 4 (October, 1982), pages 583-584.
 Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, From Story of a Soul, the Autobiography of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, third Edition, translated by John Clarke, O.C.I. © 1996 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, ICS Publications, 2131 Lincoln Road, N.E. Washington, DC 20002, USA as cited in Magnificat ® Vol. 4, No. 6 (August 2002), page 258.