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

Responsorial Psalm:          Psalm 34:2-3, 16-17, 18-19, 20-21 (9a)

Second Reading:              Ephesians 5:21-32

Alleluia:                             John 6:63c, 68c

Gospel:                             John 6:60-69



At their spring meeting, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops responded to the Notre Dame 2009 graduation ceremony.  In their terse, two line response; the Bishops proclaimed they stood behind the local bishop of South Bend, Indiana, where Notre Dame is located.  Raymond Arroyo and Father Robert Sirico hoped the Vatican would step in and at least punish Father John J. Jenkins, the President of Notre Dame or the Holy Cross Order responsible for Notre Dame for their role awarding President Barack Obama an honorary doctoral degree.[1]

Last week, I wrote that it was approximately 80/400 bishops who objected to Notre Dame.  This week the Arroyo show used the figures 83/244.  Changing those statistics does not change the original observation that Arroyo misrepresented the bishops objecting to Notre Dame.  One can understand the frustration of Arroyo that the Church is not following his agenda.  Jesus had the same problem.

Jesus foretold the institution of the Eucharist.  He frustrated the understanding of his agenda for the Faithful.  When Jesus asked his apostles whether they would leave him, because they did not understand, the Apostles proclaimed their allegiance to Christ.

Jesus brings a new, non-violent agenda, inviting everyone, not only the Chosen People, to be with him.  The U.S. Bishops are taking a similar all-inclusive approach to the situation at Notre Dame.  Unlike the Arroyo show, the Bishops are not trying to drive Notre Dame out of the Church.  Neither are the Bishops pretending that, by its actions, Notre Dame is already outside the Church.

The readings for this Sunday begin with renewing the covenant with Joshua, who gave the people a choice, to serve the gods of the Amorites or the LORD.  The Lectionary leaves out the first part of verse 18.  The Lectionary uses the second part, we will serve the LORD.  The first, left out part, is “At our approach the LORD drove out (all the peoples, including) the Amorites who dwelt in the land.”  This was a violent removal.

The Psalmist recognizes that “The LORD has eyes for the just, and ears for their cry,” even for those who do not appear just in the eyes and ears of people like Arroyo and me.  We join with Ephesians, which directs, “Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.”  This brings me to that for which I would like readers to pray.

I first finalized this rendition of the Notes July 1; at that time, President Obama and Pope Benedict XVI were expected to meet at 4:00 p.m., Friday, July 10.  The Faithful might expect Benedict to express concerns of moral theology.  Obama might respond with the concerns of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) over that same moral theology, in the person of the moral theologian and priest in good standing, Charles Curran.

Within this context, the Faithful might pray that Obama convince Benedict that it is counter-productive to leave Catholic University in its current censured state.  There are consequences in credibility when authorities silence, rather than refute, arguments.  Such silencing may be how Europe reached its current sad relationship with the moral authority of the Vatican.  Obama might help the Vatican avoid similar results from similar policies in the United States.  The way to drive out different ideas is by addressing those ideas, rather than vainly trying to silence them.

Presently the AAUP is censuring the administration at Catholic University for not listening to its faculty before dismissing Father Charles Curran.  Listening.  There is nothing against Faith and morals in listening before acting.  That is all the AAUP means by academic freedom.  How much better it would be for the hierarchy to hear the weakness in its arguments from its own moral theologians in the forum of Faith.  Lack of credibility now has forced the Faithful to discern those same weaknesses in the political forum.  By a margin of 52 to 48%, Catholics helped raise Obama into the highest office in the land.

In this highest office, Obama can be expected to support his Catholic Vice President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, and other Catholics who struggle with the Church.  I for one, think that if Benedict brings up moral theology, so can Obama in the matter of scholars being free to present their dissenting views.  As it is, dissent has left academia and bled into the Faithful.  Obama, being forced into dissent himself, may be able to open the way for the rest of the Faithful to find some room for thoughtful dissent as well.  Curran and Richard A. McCormick, S.J. (who taught me philosophy after the school day at Saint Ignatius High School, Cleveland, Ohio) have prepared good resources on this matter of faithful dissent.[2]  In the Gospel, Jesus leaves room open for questioning.  Jesus asks, “Do you also want to leave?”  Perhaps the Magisterium needs to leave more such room itself.

In any event, this matter does help the Faithful lift up their souls in prayer with the Almighty.



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 material.


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

Joshua 24:15-27

Christopher Grasso, A Speaking Aristocracy: Transforming Public Discourse in Eighteenth-Century Connecticut[3]

Jonathon Edwards used Joshua 24:15-27 as the basis for his 1742 Great Awakening sermon, “A visible people of God on some occasions are called plainly and publicly to renew their covenant with God.”  Grasso develops this sermon over several pages.


Joshua 24

Sandra M. Schneiders, review of Rekha M. Chennattu, Johannine Discipleship as a Covenant Relationship[4]

Chennattu effectively argues that the farewell discourses in John “constitute a covenant renewal ceremony parallel to that found in Joshua 24.”


Josh 24:18

Kenton L. Sparks, "Gospel as Conquest: Mosaic Typology in Matthew 28:16-20"[5]

Sparks argues, “Drawing on nonviolent themes in the Hebrew Bible and from Jesus’ own ministry, Matthew employed his `fulfillment by antithesis’ exegesis to show that evangelizing the nations is the appropriate fulfillment of the older Mosaic charge to kill the Gentiles.”  Josh 24:18a, omitted in the Lectionary, is about driving out “(all the peoples, including) the Amorites who dwelt in the land.”  The Faithful want to keep Notre Dame in the Church; not drive it out.


Psalm 34:2-3, 16-17, 18-19, 20-21 (9a)

Pastoral Care of the Sick uses verses 2-3 and 16-17 from this reading.[6]


Codex Sinaiticus[7]

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.


There is a considerable difference between the English translation on the Codex site and the Lectionary.  Next time through, if the new Lectionary is still not published, I may provide the interlinear differences, but not for now.  The following comes from the Codex Sinaiticus web site.


'Codex Sinaiticus'[8]


The name 'Codex Sinaiticus' literally means 'the Sinai Book'.  It reflects two important aspects of the manuscript: its form and a very special place in its history.

'Codex' means 'book'.  By the time Codex Sinaiticus was written, works of literature were increasingly written on sheets that were folded and bound together in a format that we still use to this day.  This book format was steadily replacing the roll format which was more widespread just a century before when texts were written on one side of a series of sheets glued together to make a roll.  These rolls were made of animal skin (like most of the Dead Sea Scrolls) or the papyrus plant (commonly used for Greek and Latin literature).

Using the papyrus codex was a distinctive feature of early Christian culture.  The pages of Codex Sinaiticus however are of prepared animal skin called parchment.  This marks it out as standing at an important transition in book history.  Before it we see many examples of Greek and Latin texts on papyrus roll or papyrus codex, but almost no traces of parchment codices.  After it, the parchment codex becomes normative.

During its history – particularly its modern history – parts of Codex Sinaiticus were also known by other names.  The 43 leaves which are now at Leipzig University Library were published in 1846 as 'Codex Frederico-Augustanus' in honour of Frederick Augustus II, King of Saxony, who was the patron of the German Biblical scholar and editor of Codex Sinaiticus, Constantine Tischendorf.  The 347 leaves now in The British Library were previously known as 'Codex Sinaiticus Petropolitanus', as they were kept in St Petersburg between 1863 and 1933.


Ephesians 5:21-32

Eph 5:22—6:9

David N. Power, O.M.I., “Eucharistic Justice”[9]

Power argues,

Their [the early Christians] direct contribution to a greater justice in the larger [than the local church] political, social, and economic order was insignificant and indeed seems to have been something they did not think too much about, if we consider, for example, Paul’s advice to married couples, slaves, and slave-owners in the Letter to the Ephesians (5:22—6:9).


The early Christians left that concern for the larger community for later generations, such as the present.


Eph 5:25

Thomas D. Stegman, S.J., "Episteusa, dio elalhsa (2 Corinthians 4:13): Paul's Christological Reading of Psalm 115:1a LXX"[10]

Just as the relationship between spouses must be an active willing relationship, so is the relationship between Christ and Church an active willing one.


Eph 5:32

Thomas M. Finn, "The Sacramental World in the Sentences of Peter Lombard"[11]

Professor Finn has been at The College of William and Mary since 1973.  He holds a Th.L. and Th.D. from Catholic University.  Though he is only about a half hour away, we have never met.  He is now Emeritus and I am retired.

This article is about the Twelfth Century excitement developing the living tradition of the church.  Peter Lombard died in 1160.  Developing a theology of the Sacrament of Marriage is the particular relevance for the readings this Sunday.  First, the Faithful experienced the sacrament.  Theologians, later, explained the experience of the presence of God as one of the seven Sacraments.  Development of the theology of what occurred took centuries, practically a millennium in this case.


John 6:63c, 68c


John 6:60-69

John 6:64 and 66

Personal Notes for 030824 notes variant readings among the manuscripts.  Variants are present in the apparatus, as they are for most verses.  The only difficult verse is the Greek for verse 66; whether it should be many of his disciples returned to their former way of life or simply, many disciples returned to their former way of life.


Jn 6:67-68

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, United States Catholic Catechism for Adults[12]

The Bishops use this verse in Chapter 4, “Bring About the Obedience of Faith.”  The Bishops write, “At Capernaum, Jesus asked the Apostles `Do you also want to leave?’  Peter answers for them, `Master, to whom shall we go?’  (Jn 67-68).  Peter’s response is freely sought and freely given.  The same is true with each of us.”


John 6:50-69

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.[13]

The Alands have some interesting things to say about the Codex Alexandrinus, which lacks these verses.


A 02 Codex Alexandrinus, eapr, fifth [Century], 144 ff, 2 cols., 49+ II, 32 x 26 cm. London: British Library, Royal 1 D.VIII.  This manuscript, which was in the Patriarchal Library of Alexandria from the eleventh century, was presented by the Patriarch Cyril Lucar of Constantinople to Charles of England in 1628.  A complete Bible, the New Testament lacks the first 26 ff, 2 ff. (John 6:20—8:52), and 3 ff. (2 Cor. 4:13—12:6).  … Facsimile edition by Frederic G. Kenyon (London: 1909) (in reduced size), earlier by E. Maunde Thompson (London: 1879-1883).  The text is of uneven value (based on exemplars of different types in its different parts, inferior in the Gospels, good in the rest of the New Testament, but best in Revelation … Plate 2.  [on page 7)


The Alands refer to John 6:67-71 in their explanation of Synopsis Quattuor Evangeliorum (SQR), an explanation that I have little hope of understanding by myself, without a teacher.


John 6:62

Karl A. Kuhn, “The `One like a Son of Man’ Becomes the `Son of God’”[14]

Kuhn has an elaborate argument that John 6:62 has a source in “The fragmentary Aramaic Apocalypse (4Q246) found among the writings of Cave 4 near Qumran.”


John 6:63

Tobias Hagerland, “The Power of Prophecy: A Septuagintal Echo in John 20:19-23”[15]

Hagerland argues that John portrays Jesus like the talking donkey of Balaam.  The difference is that Balaam was an apostate who worshipped Baal,[16] but Jesus was God, as expressed by the phrase, to where he was before.


John 6:64

Dino Dozzi, "`Thus Says the Lord' The Gospel in the Writings of Saint Francis" [17]

Saint Francis of Assisi based his spirituality on Sacred Scripture.  I wonder whether there is a typographical error identifying The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.”  Both the Vulgate and the eclectic Greek place these words in verse 63, which Dozzi, without explanation, identifies as verse 64.


John 6:68

David J. Norman, O.F.M., "Doubt and the Resurrection of Jesus"[18]

When it came to the promise of the Eucharist, those disciples that stayed with Jesus had to deal with the doubt that Jesus could do it.  That doubt about the Eucharist continues through the ages.  I observe that experience is the best teacher that the Eucharist is Jesus.  Norman argues, “that the glory of the resurrection must be reconciled with the scandal of the cross.  There was no belief in Jesus as Lord and God, the one who has the words of eternal life (Jn 6:68), without the simultaneous recognition that this Lord and God is the crucified One.”  Frustration is meant to be part of the Christian life.


John 6:69

Edoardo Fumagalli, "Saint Francis, The Canticle, The Our Father"[19]

Saint Francis always links Jesus with God the Father.



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


[1] Raymond Arroyo, on television station ETWN, “The World Over,” Sunday, June 26, 2009.  I do not own the technology required to record this program, and accept the risk associated therewith.


[2] Charles E. Curran, The Moral Theology of Pope John Paul II (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2005); Charles E. Curran, Catholic Moral Theology in the United States: A History (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2008)

Richard A. McCormick, S.J., The Critical Calling: Reflections on Moral Dilemmas Since Vatican II (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 1989, 2006).



[3] Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999, 119.


[4] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 3 (July 2007) 575.


[5] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 4 (October 2006) 661.


[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) 286, 324.


[7] Accessed April 12, 20090

Psalm 33 in the Lectionary is Psalm 32 in the Codex Sinaiticus.

Psalm 34 in the Lectionary is Psalm 33 in the Codex Sinaiticus. Accessed April 14, 2009.

Psalm 34 in the Lectionary is Psalm 33 in the Codex Sinaiticus.



[9] Theological Studies, Vol. 67, No. 4 (December 2006) 863.


[10] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 4 (October 2007) 730.


[11] Theological Studies, Vol. 69, No. 3 (September 2008) 578.


[12] Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2006, 39.


[13] Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989, 107 to 109, 266.


[14] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 1 (January 2007) 33.


[15] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 1 (January 2009) 93.


[17] Greyfriars Review, Vol. 18, Supplement (2004) 29, 65, 111.


[18] Theological Studies, Vol. 69, No. 4 (December 2008) 798.


[19] Greyfriars Review, Vol. 19, Supplement (2005) 8.