First Reading:                    Isaiah 66:18-21

Responsorial Psalm:          Psalm 117:1, 2 (Mark 16:15)

Second Reading:               Hebrews 12:5-7, 11-13

Alleluia:                             John 14:6

Gospel:                             Luke 13:22-30



Some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last (Luke 13:30) is an endorsement of a democratically run church.  The monarchial run church, in place in the West since the time of Constantine (272-337), has had the ordinary problems associated with running a large organization.  The globe has reached a point where kings are dysfunctional.  The Papacy must to be careful, lest it wind up in the same quagmire, regularly unraveled with revolutions. 

The Faithful in the United States and other Western countries are showing that democracy can and does work.  The Church would profit from lessons learned about transparency and accountability.  It makes no sense to continue beating a dead horse, like regal kingdoms of days gone by.

In Sacred Scripture, God portrays himself as a king with a kingdom.  The Church hierarchy builds on that as a Medieval concept.  As a Medievalist, I know that what I am about to do is an over-simplification both to time, place, and duties.  For understanding how the Vatican works, however, the following outline may help. 

The Pope is like the king, everyone owes him everything.  The Cardinals are like the Dukes and the extended Royal Family; they keep everyone else in line.  The Archbishops are like the Earls; they keep those in their geographic areas in line and funnel funds up the chain of command.  Bishops are like Barons; they ride herd on the priests to be sure they never miss a step.  Priests are like Knights, who do the fighting at the bottom of the hierarchical food chain, collecting Peters Pence and sending it up the chain of command.  The Faithful are like the peasants, doing the hard work required to keep the monarchy and its organization in power.

In the first reading from Isaiah, the prophet says that fugitives will announce the good news of the love of God for the Faithful.  These lowly peasant fugitives, not diplomatic ambassadors, will reach out to the nations. 

The Holy Gospel is about those tall in the hierarchy, “some of the first,” supposing that because Jesus ate and drank with them and taught in their streets with them, that they would enter the Kingdom of God.  The Church hierarchy and their clergy, like the scribes and Pharisees before them, prayed Psalm 117, used today, and the Responsorial Antiphon from Mark 16:15, Go out to all the world and tell the good news.  The hierarchy of today is close to the scribes and Pharisees of yesterday.

Hebrews counsels the Faithful to endure disappointment.  The sexual cover-up scandal comes to mind.  A Church run democratically, or with democratic representation, might solve the problem of naval-gazing bishops, who promoted the cover up.  People who hold office in a hierarchy answer to the chain of command.  People who hold office in a democracy answer to the people.

The prayer for this Sunday is for a democratically run Church.  Democracy best comes from the United States, where it has worked better than anywhere else, either in time or place.  Since I sometimes taught Government and Political Science at the freshman college level and since I remain active in political circles, I want to share that good news in the context of the Biblical scholarship these Notes call to attention.



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 details.


Isaiah 66:18-21


Isaiah 66:19

Reed Lessing, review of Bryan E. Beyer, Encountering the Book of Isaiah: A Historical and Theological Survey[1]

Lessing seems to chide Beyer for connecting Isaiah 66:19 with the Great Commission as found in Mark 16:15.  The Lectionary makes the very connection that Lessing mentions.  Lessing reports that Beyer is offering an understanding of Isaiah that tends to become overly simplistic in places.


Psalm 117:1, 2 (Mark 16:15)


Hebrews 12:5-7, 11-13

Different languages perceive reality differently.  The ancient Greeks used pronouns for emphasis.  Translating this emphasis from the original Greek into English is an object of the highlighting on the last page of the hard copy, not found on the web site.  The purpose of the highlighting is to transfer the Greek emphasis on personal pronouns into the English translation.  Pronouns highlighted in blue have greater emphasis than in English, but are not as intense as the words marked in red. 

Words marked with a vertical line, rather than fully highlighted, indicate places where the English translation lacks a pronoun corresponding to a pronoun in the Greek.  Words underlined with a horizontal line, indicate places where the English translation uses a noun, corresponding to a pronoun in the Greek.  Marks that do not highlight anything indicate untranslated pronouns.  Words in brackets [   ] are not in the Greek.  Words in green are not in the Greek, but contribute to the good sense of the English translation.

Anyone wanting a copy of the highlighted verses, please ask me at  Thank you.


The Greek is intense at verse 5, the exhortation addressed to you, verse 6, every son he acknowledges; verse 11 all discipline seems a cause not for joy.  While the Lectionary puts quotation marks around, For what “son” is there, the Greek does not use quotation marks.  English translations react as follows:


Hebrews 12:7

Lectionary (1998)                         God treats you as sons, For what “son” is there …


The Vulgate (circa 410)                tamquam filios vos tractat Deus. 


Douay-Rheims (1582-1610)         God dealeth with you as with his sons.  For what son

is there


King James (1611)                       God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he

 whom …


Catholic RSV (1969)                    God is treating you as sons; for what son is there …


New American (NAB) (1970)        God treats you as sons.  For what “son” is there …


New Jerusalem (1985)                 God is treating you as his sons.  Has there ever been

any son


The italics are in the originals.  For all I know it may have been in a dream, but somewhere I got the idea that “sons” is surrounded by quotation marks as a tip of the hat to feminists.


John 14:6


Luke 13:22-30

In verse 22, where the Lectionary has Jesus passed through towns and villages, the Lectionary supplies the word Jesus, which is not in the original Greek manuscripts.  In the Greek, Luke is intense in two places, verse 17 all you evildoers! and verse 28, all the prophets.



Luke 13:29-30

Daniel G. Groody, C.S.C., “Crossing the Divide:  Foundations of a Theology of Migration and Refugees”[2]

Anderson argues, below, that Luke gives focus to the parables, for example here in Luke 13:28-30.  The divide about which Groody argues includes the divide between the first and the last in the Lectionary.


Luke 13:28-30

Garwood P. Anderson, "Seeking and Saving What Might Have Been Lost: Luke's Restoration of an Enigmatic Parable Tradition"[3]

Anderson argues that Luke gives focus to the parables, for example here in Luke 13:28-30.


Luke 13:28-29

Sean Freyne, “The Galilean Jesus and a Contemporary Christology”[4]

Freyne leads from the role-reversals of Luke 13:28-29 to empowerment for the powerless.  Freyne uses Galilee as a symbol for the powerless.


Luke 13:25

Edward F. Siegman, C.PP.S, "Teaching in Parables: (Mk 4:10-12; Lk 8:9-10; Mt 13:10-15)"[5]

Siegman argues “that here it [verse 25 about locking the door] has been added (probably already in the source or tradition utilized by Mk) to refer to the Jews who refused to enter the Church.”



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



After-action Report


Material above the double line is not suited for direct delivery to the average Sunday Mass congregation.  The way to distill those comments is by encouraging the faithful to participate in self-governing activities, especially by supporting candidates and policies of their choice.

[1] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 3 (July 2008) 561.


[2] Theological Studies, Vol. 70, No. 3 (September 2009) 661.


[3] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 4 (April 2008) 737, 738.


[4] Theological Studies, Vol. 70, No. 2 (June 2009) 295.


[5] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 23, No. 2 (April 1961) 174.