Saint Francis of Assisi had the right idea when he urged the Faithful to welcome the Word of God into their hearts and souls as the criteria for living their lives.  Rather than simply repeating the Word; studying the Word, as these Notes do, helps focus the soul.  Academic rigor prevents the soul from atrophying.  Under the maxim that there is safety in numbers, however, the institutional Church is the best framework for studying Sacred Scripture.

Turning to the Scriptures the Lectionary is using, Jeremiah complains that God has “duped” [confused if not lied to] him.  The editor of Theological Studies, sounds like Jeremiah, feeling duped by God, in his approach to the spiritual life.  Does not everyone, at one time or another, feel duped by God?  Especially if one is involved in racial matters in the United States, and who is not?  The perfect God is often impossible to understand by humans, because humans are imperfect.

Psalm 63, My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God can refer to the intellectual thirst for understanding Sacred Scripture.  The directive in Romans, do not conform yourselves to this age is also an admonition to pay attention to the Gospel as the foundation for paying attention to anything else.  Matthew 16:26 is the great question Saint Ignatius Loyola posed to Saint Francis Xavier, “What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?”  I like the translation, forfeit his soul.  Academic rigor can help communicate with God and, therefore, pray.

 

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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 scholarly details.

Jeremiah 20:7-8

Jer 20:7

Mark F. Whitters, "Jesus in the Footsteps of Jeremiah"[1]

Whitters observes that the latter rabbis wondered what Jeremiah meant, when he said that he was duped.  They thought that what Jeremiah meant was that Jerusalem would be safe, as long as Jeremiah was present.  God had duped Jeremiah into leaving the city to buy a field in the land of Benjamin.  After the Assyrians destroyed Jerusalem, Jeremiah returned in grief.

 

Psalm 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9

 


Romans 12:1-2

Romans 12:1

The Greek has a cross (t) for pleasing to God.  Some of the manuscripts use a different word order.

 

Lectionary (1998)                         pleasing to God

The Vulgate (circa 410)                Deo placentem

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610)         pleasing to God

King James (1611)                       acceptable unto God

Catholic RSV (1969)                    acceptable to God

New American (NAB) (1970)        pleasing to God

New Jerusalem (1985)                 acceptable to God

 

Rom 12:1-5

James C. Miller, review of Kuo-wei Peng, Hate the Evil, Hold Fast to the Good: Structuring Romans 12.1—15.1[2]

Miller finds Peng unconvincing.  From the review, I like the idea that Romans 12:1-2 calls for “united devotion” as a prerequisite to knowing the will of God.  I am pleased with the notion, be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”  Miller, the reviewer, proposes that chapters 12—15 flesh out the general statements of verses 1 and 2.  Chapters 12—15 “spell out specific examples of how Roman Christians can offer themselves to God.”

 

Rom 12:2

Khaled Anatolios, "Oppositional Pairs and Christological Synthesis: Rereading Augustine's De Trinitate"[3]

Anatolios writes, “Augustine looks for biblical support in his bid to locate a trinitarian imago Dei in humanity … in texts such as Romans 12:2.”  Anatolios must be referring to what is good and pleasing and perfect.  Higher order Augustinian theology leaves me cold.  I do not recognize much trinitarian relevance of good and pleasing and perfect” to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

 

Christopher Grasso, A Speaking Aristocracy: Transforming Public Discourse in Eighteenth-Century Connecticut[4]

On February 16, 1764, theologian and future Yale President, Ezra Stiles (1727-1795),[5] preached on Romans 12:2.  Grasso asserts that Stiles “argued that Christianity was a form of moral cultivation that reasserted the rule of intellect over passion and molded moral beings to what was right and true `in the Nature of Things.’”  Stiles emphasized “the intellect as the main doorway to the soul.  That doorway was blocked by `bias’ and `prejudice,’ which in Stiles’s early preaching seemed to loom as the biggest obstacles left by original sin.”  I wish our Catechism offered a similar polemic against racism.

 

cf. Ephesians 1:17-18

 

Matthew 16:21-27

Matthew 16:21, 23

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, United States Catholic Catechism for Adults[6]

The Bishops use this verse in Chapter 8, “The Saving Death and Resurrection of Christ” and Chapter 10, “The Church Reflecting the Light of Christ.”  The Bishops teach,

 

          … the Church has many structures that are needed to build up the bond of love.

          Jesus himself established one of those structures of the Church when he named Peter as the rock of the Church, the head of the Apostles (Mt. 16:18).  While St. Paul taught us that love is the greatest gift of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 13:1-13), he also listed administration as a gift of the Spirit (1 Cor 12:28).

          The Church needs an institutional framework for its stability, continuity, and mission for serving the cause of the Gospel and opening people to God’s call to holiness.  Problems with the institution are not arguments for its removal, but for its renewal. 

 

The Bishops present a didactic case for themselves.

 


Matthew 16:21

The Greek apparatus has a cross for Jesus.  Some of the manuscripts use Jesus Christ or, even omit the word Jesus entirely.

 

Lectionary (1998)                         Jesus began to show …

The Vulgate (circa 410)                Exinde coepit Iesus ostendere

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610)         From that time Jesus began to shew [sic]

King James (1611)                       From that time forth began Jesus to show

Catholic RSV (1969)                    From that time Jesus began to show

New American (NAB) (1970)        From that time on, Jesus began to show …

New Jerusalem (1985)                 Then Jesus said …

 

Sloppy scholarship in the Lectionary identifies the whole verse, although only part is used.

 

Matt 16:23

Paul Lawrence, The IVP Atlas of Bible History [7]

Lawrence juxtaposes Jesus calling Peter Satan here, at Matthew 16:23, but then, six days later, including Peter in the trip up the mountain for the Transfiguration.

 

Matt 16:24

Dino Dozzi, "`Thus Says the Lord' The Gospel in the Writings of Saint Francis"[8]

Saint Francis looks to see how to live in the light of the Gospel, without concern for how to interpret the Gospel itself.  Many of the devout Faithful follow the same course, although these Notes do not.  These Notes strive to know how to interpret the Gospel in itself.  Saint Francis presents Matthew 16:24 as and come, follow me which is something different from the Lectionary come after me … take up his cross, and follow me.

Dozzi points out that Saint Francis writes of “a very important transition.  From the relationship between word and heart, we move to the relationship between heart and Lord.”  Dozzi continues to write of “this purification of the heart through the word …” That is the sense of these Notes, trying to purify the soul, by filling the soul with the word.  For that, repetition is insufficient.

 


Matt 16:24

Dorothy Jean Weaver, review of David P. Scaer, Discourses in Matthew: Jesus Teaches the Church[9]

Weaver writes that Scaer concludes, “`When (Matthew’s) catechumens have reached the point at which they can accept discipleship in terms of `suffering,’ only then are they prepared for the Eucharist’ p. 57.”  The problem is that Weaver finds Scaer “not uniformly convincing,” “unconvincing,” and “genuinely baffling,” to the point that I only accept the conclusion of Scaer with reservation.

 

Matt 16:25

Boris Repschinski, "`For He Will Save His People from Their Sins’ (Matthew 1:21): A Christology for Christian Jews”[10]

Repschinski writes, “The reader recognizes that Jesus’ nonresponse [sic] to those mocking him is not powerlessness but the fulfillment of his teaching in 16:25: `Whoever wants to save (swsai) his life will lose it.”  I observe that this is very much in the spirit of Saint Francis.

 

Matt 16:25

David G. Schultenover, S.J., "From the Editor's Desk" [11]

Schultenover writes, “This kind of `obedience’ or loving attentiveness requires a willingness to enter into Jesus’ kenosis [empting himself of the form of God, taking the form of a servant, and humbling himself to the extent of suffering death]: `Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it’ (Matt 16:25).”

 

Matthew 16:26

Lectionary (1998)                         and forfeit his life?

The Vulgate (circa 410)                pro anima sua?

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610)         in return for his life?

King James (1611)                       in exchange for his soul?

Catholic RSV (1969)                    give for his soul?

New American (NAB) (1970)        in exchange for his life?

New Jerusalem (1985)                 in exchange for his life?

 

The Lectionary does not follow the NAB in this rare occasion.  The Greek manuscripts do not seem to have a problem with this section of the verse.  Neither are the annotations of any help understanding the different translations.



[1] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 2 (April 2006) 240.

 

[2] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 1 (April 2007) 160.

 

[3] Theological Studies, Vol. 68, No. 2 (June 2007) 251.

 

[4] Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999, 329, fn. 14, line 6.

 

[6] Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2006, 91, 111, 121.

 

[7] Downers Grove, Illinois, InterVarsity Press, 2006, 144.

 

[8] Greyfriars Review, Vol. 18, Supplement (2004) 15, 34, 50.

 

[9] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 4 (April 2007) 832-833.

 

[10] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 2 (April 2006) 264.

 

[11] Theological Studies, Vol. 68, No. 2 (June 2007) 230.