As for the last two Eucharistic weeks, the words for this week are taste, and see. These readings are slightly dissimilar from the past two weeks.


Pope John-Paul II’s Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginia Mariae, does not cite any specific Scripture from the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time. The following section fits no special readings. The sweetness of the chain is about tasting.




“Blessed Rosary of Mary, sweet chain linking us to God”


39.       What has been said so far makes abundantly clear the richness of this traditional prayer, which has the simplicity of a popular devotion but also the theological depth of a prayer suited to those who feel the need for deeper contemplation.


The Church has always attributed particular efficacy to this prayer, entrusting to the Rosary, to its choral recitation and to its constant practice, the most difficult problems. At times when Christianity itself seemed under threat, its deliverance was attributed to the power of this prayer, and Our Lady of the Rosary was acclaimed as the one whose intercession brought salvation.


Today I willingly entrust to the power of this prayer—as I mentioned at the beginning—the cause of peace in the world and the cause of the family.


Joshua 24:1-2a, 15-17, 18b


This is Joshua’s final speech,[1] the speech in which high profile people tend to speak more truthfully and plainly than ever.


verse 1           Joshua gathered together all the tribes of Israel at Shechem


Shechem lies between Mount Ebal a little to the north and Mount Gerizim a little to the south.[2]


verse 15         “If it does not please you to serve the LORD,

                        decide today whom you will serve,

                        the gods your fathers served beyond the River

                        or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are now dwelling.


Because of current Palestinian problems, the translations make me uneasy. Beyond the River is translated differently. To identify the Bibles used, consult the Appendix.


The Vulgate (circa 410):                   Mesopotamia


Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):           Mesopotamia


King James (1611):                          on the other side of the flood


New Jerusalem (1985):                    beyond the River


New American                                   beyond the River


verse 17         out of a state of slavery


The Vulgate (circa 410):                   de domo servitutis


King James (1611):                          the house of bondage


Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):           the house of bondage


Jerusalem (1966):                             the house of slavery


New American (1970):                     a state of slavery


New Jerusalem (1985):                    the place of slave-labor


verse 18a is omitted, “And Yahweh has driven all the nations out for us, including the Amorites, who used to live in the country.”


Joshua 24 is a renewal of the Covenant,[3] a renewal omitted from the thinking of Paul.[4] This Covenant is conditional upon the Faithful keeping the Commandments. Because of human sinfulness, Paul regards the Covenant as unconditional.


Psalm 34:2-3, 16-17, 18-19, 20-21


This is a relatively intellectual alphabetical acrostic psalm.[5]


verse 9a         Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.


is the antiphon for Readings 33C, 116B, 119B, and 122B (this Sunday), but not for 150C or 591 SS Peter and Paul. The antiphon for 150C is


verse 7a         The Lord hears the cry of the poor.


and for #591 the antiphon is


verse 8           The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.


A sense of distress is in Psalm 34.


verse 2           I will bless the LORD at all times;

                                    his praise shall be ever in my mouth.


verse 16a       The LORD has eyes for the just


Jerome does not have the LORD merely looking on; Jerome forms an identity between eyes and the just. I would translate Jerome, “The eyes of the LORD are over the righteous.”


verse 16b                   and ears for their cry.


Jerome, again, brings about an identity between ears and cry. I would translate Jerome, “His ears are in their clamor.”


verse 17         The LORD confronts the evildoers


Jerome translates this more with a “facing up” or “turning his face toward the evildoers.”


verse 19         The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;


Brokenhearted merits Biblical comparison:


The Vulgate (circa 410):                   qui contrito sunt corde


Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):           of a contrite heart


King James (1611):                          of a broken heart


Jerusalem (1966):                             to the broken hearted


New American (1970)                      to the broken hearted


New Jerusalem (1985)                     to the broken hearted


The sense of sorrow for sin suits my understanding better than sorrow for my sorry situation.


verse 20-21   Many are the troubles of the just one,

                                    but out of them all the LORD delivers him;

                        he watches over all his bones;

                                    not one of them shall be broken.


This reference to not breaking bones anticipates the crucifixion (John 19:36) where the soldiers do not break the bones of Jesus, because he is already dead. The glory of Jesus is associated with the Cross.


Ephesians 5:21-32


verse 24         As the church is subordinate to Christ,

                                    so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.


When I was teaching I used to ask my students about this verse. Males thought it was excellent, females not so. My retort was that this phenomena was a sign of the discordance causing fifty percent of marriages to end in divorce. Females accepting the verse would often insist as well on the following verse


verse 25         Husbands, love your wives,

                                    even as Christ loved the church

                                    and handed himself over for her to sanctify her,

verse 26                     cleansing her by the bath of water with the word


Handed himself over alludes to Isaac and the original holocaust;[6] eventually water came to refer to Baptism.[7]


verse 27                     that he might present to himself the church in splendor,

                                    without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,

                                    that she might be holy and without blemish.


By these references to the church, Ephesians refers to the Last Judgment, the Resurrection, meeting Jesus again after death, being brought into God’s presence. As a scholar, quoting the grammarian from 2 Corinthians 5:14, puts it, [God the Father] “will bring us [Paul and his coterie] together with you [the Faithful] to stand before him.”[8]


verse 28         Husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.

                        Who loves his wife loves himself.


John 6:63c, 68c


No comment.


John 6:60-69


This section of the Fourth Gospel is a continuation of the sign of the Eucharist.[9]


verse 61                     Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this,

                                                he said to them, “Does this shock you?


The Greek uses a derivative of scandal for shock.


The Vulgate (circa 410):                   Hoc vos scandalizat?


Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):           Does this scandalize you?


King James (1611):                          Doth this offend you?


Jerusalem (1966):                             Does this upset you?


New American (1970)                      Does this shock you?


New Jerusalem (1985)                     Does this disturb you?


verse 62         What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending

                                    to where he was before?


A scholar sees the use of Son of Man in John as linking the Cross and Glory. The scholar writes,


However much rethinking I must do with 3:13 [about ascending and descending from heaven] and 6:62, I would continue to claim that the Johannine use of the Son of Man points to the revelation of God in the human event of Jesus of Nazareth, especially in the event of the cross.[10]


verse 64         But there are some of you who do not believe,”

                        Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe

                                    and the one who would betray him.


The grammarian points out that the future participle is rare and always found with a variant reading among the manuscripts.[11]


verse 65         And he said,

                                    “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me

                                    unless it is granted him by my Father.”


The grammarian points out the reference is to John 6:44 found in the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Reading 116B.


verse 68-69   Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go?

                        You have the words of eternal life.

                        We have come to believe

                                    and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”


Convinced carries the sense of intellectual conviction.


The Vulgate (circa 410):                   cognovimus


Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):           to know


King James (1611):                          are sure


Jerusalem (1966):                             know


New American (1970)                      are convinced


New Jerusalem (1985)                     have come to know


Joshua is about renewing the Covenant, sealed with the blood and glory of Jesus in the Eucharist. The Psalm is about being saved by The Almighty from sinfulness and the disordered consequences of sinfulness. Ephesians is not so much about marriage as about the relationship between Christ and his Church, a vibrant, loving relationship. The Fourth Gospel is about the need to accept the institution of the Eucharist as a means for salvation. Herein lies the importance of the antiphon,


verse 9a         Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.



For an overview of updated sources see the Appendix file.

[1] Mark K. George, “Yhwh’s Own Heart,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 3 (July 2002) 443.


[2] Standard Bible Atlas, 2nd edition (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing, 1997) inset, Map 4, page 7.


[3] Kathryn L. Roberts, “God, Prophet, and King: Eating and Drinking on the Mountain in First Kings 18:41,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 4 (October 2000), 635.


[4] Charles H. Talbert, “Paul, Judaism, and the Revisionists,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 63, No. 1 (January 2001) 18-19.


[5] Hanan Eshel and John Strugnell, “Alphabetical Acrostics in Pre-Tannaitic Hebrew,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 3 (July 2000), 443.

[6] Robert J. Daly, S.J., “The Soteriological Significance of the Sacrifice of Isaac,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 39, No. 1 (January 1977), 67


[7] Hendrikus Boers, “The Structure and meaning of Romans 6:1-14,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 63, No. 4 (October 2001) 669; Max Zerwick, S.J. and Mary Grosvenor, A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament unabridged, 5th, revised edition (Roma: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico 1996)


[8] Joseph Plevnik, S.J., “The Destination of the Apostle and of the Faithful: Second Corinthians 4:13b-14 and First Thessalonians 4:14,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 1 (January 2000) 89. Plevnik, in footnote 25, page 89, refers to the grammarian, but the 4th, 1993 edition, page 542. That reference is on that page in my 5th 1996 edition.


[9] Douglas K. Clark, “Signs in Wisdom and John,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 45, No. 2 (April 1983) 205, 207.


[10] Francis J. Moloney, S.D.B., “Raymond Brown’s New Introduction to the Gospel of John: A Presentation—And Some Questions,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 65, No. 1 (January 2003) 10.


[11] Maximilian Zerwick, S.J., English Edition adapted from the Fourth Latin Edition by Joseph Smith, S.J., Scripta Pontificii Instituti Biblico—114—Biblical Greek (Roma: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico, 1994), page 95.