The Exodus out of Egypt into the Promised Land prefigures the exodus out of this earthly land into the heavenly land above.  The Eucharistic Prayer asks that the Faithful be relieved of sin and, implicitly, anxiety, as a cause of sin.  Faith trumps anxiety. This Faith runs throughout the following readings.

 

The young Virgin Mary, possibly dancing in the daily Tamid[1] Temple Service of Jerusalem changes into the mature Virgin Mary dancing in the temple of her own heart.  Because Psalm 68 was one of the psalms used at daily prayer, Psalm 68:26 hints that Mary danced in the temple.[2]

 

Verse 26

Lectionary (1998):                       

The Vulgate (circa 410):               in medio iuvenculae tympanistriae.

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):        in the midst of young damsels playing on timbrels.

                                                              (Psalm 67)

King James (1611):                      among them were the damsels playing with                                                                timbrels. (verse 25)

Jerusalem (1966):                        and between them maidens playing tambourines.                                                             (verse 25)

New American (1970):                 in their midst girls sound the timbrels.

New Jerusalem (1985):                in the middle come girls, beating their drums                                                                 (verse 25)

 

I wanted to check the reliability of the dancing girls both above and below.

 

Also, see Jeremiah 31:13

Lectionary (1998):                       

The Vulgate (circa 410):               Tunc laetabitur virgo in choro, iuvenes et senes                                                         simul.

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):        Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, the                                                                       young men and the old men together

King James (1611):                      Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both                                                                     young men and old together

Jerusalem (1966):                        The virgin will then take pleasure in the dance,

                                                              young men and old will be happy;

New American (1970):                 Then the virgins shall make merry and dance,

                                                              and young men and old as well.

New Jerusalem (1985):                The young girl will then take pleasure in the                                                                      dancing, and young men and old alike

 

For Mary, Faith overcame all anxiety.  The readings continue to relate to anxiety, beginning with the wisdom of Sirach, known as Ecclesiasticus in the Vulgate.  In the wisdom context that all is vanity, because everyone winds up in the grave anyway, Sirach insists that pursuing the love of God does make sense.  Rather than aggression, Sirach promotes a model of gentleness and humility.  Faith trumps anxiety.[3]

 

Psalm 68 is one of the oldest psalms, dating from the time of David and Solomon, when the Jews still carried the ark in processions.[4]  Psalm 68 is a psalm of “Happy Days are Here Again,” to quote Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The joy is so great that the young girls express their excitement by dancing, Faith trumping anxiety.

 

Hebrews also continues with a sense that Faith is a realization of things unseen.[5] Hebrews is complex theology involving inheritance.  At the time of Jesus, only the Hebrews inherited based on primogeniture,[6] that is, the first-born inherited everything, which he might, then, share.  The Greek-Roman and all other senses of inheritance relied on testaments, that is, wills. Hebrews, both the people and the letter, assumed intestate inheritance leaving everything to the first-born, namely Jesus.

 

The theology of Hebrews assumes that the Sinaitic Covenant broke, thereby calling for the death of the sinners.  Jesus, then took on and paid the penalty for sin, not simply restoring the former Covenant, but establishing a New Testament or Covenant.  Hebrews is about the joy of living with Faith in anticipation of living with God.[7]

 

In the Gospel, Luke writes about Jesus eating with the Pharisees.[8]  This is the third such meal with Pharisees Luke portrays.  None of the other Evangelists has Jesus dining with Pharisees at all.  One of the prudential things to note about how Jesus acts at meals is that he is never portrayed as asked back again. In this passage, Jesus is explaining how to establish priorities, rather than how to exhibit good manners toward a host.  Again, Mary can be seen smiling, dancing in her heart, as she tells the story to Luke.

 

Well, maybe Mary did not tell the story to Luke, at least not directly.  The great scholar, Raymond E. Brown, did not think so. Brown was willing to grant, however, that Luke “seems to have had particular items of tradition or information about JBap (family origins), Mary the mother of Jesus, Herod Antipas, and the Galilean women disciples.”[9]

 

Saint Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea (330-379) explains.  “To take the lowest place at feasts, as the Lord advises, is a fitting thing to do; but again, to seize it forcibly is a thing to be condemned, as disturbing order and causing confusion.”[10]  Basil seems to catch the twinkle in the eye of Mary as she related the happening to Luke.  The Faithful are expected to exercise prudence in all things, even as Faith trumps anxiety.

 

Sirach 3:17-18, 20, 28-29 (as found in the Lectionary)

Sirach itself is difficult because the title is not found in the Vulgate, or elsewhere.  Verses 28 and 29, as listed in the Lectionary are so numbered in the New American, but not elsewhere.  The New Jerusalem Bible helps by offering a dual set of numbers, for example, so that verse 17 is also identified as verse 19, which it is in the Vulgate. The confusion means that wisdom itself is not always clear. The anxiety caused by confusion among the Sacred Scriptures is trumped by Faith that God knows what he is doing and is both faithful and loving.

 

Verse 17 in the Lectionary

Lectionary (1998):                        conduct your affairs with humility

The Vulgate (circa 410):               in mansuetudine opera tua perfice (verse 19)

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):        do thy works in meekness (verse 19)

King James (1611):                      Includes neither Ecclesiasticus nor Sirach

Jerusalem (1966):                        be gentle in carrying out your business (17/19)

New American (1970):                 conduct your affairs with humility

New Jerusalem (1985):                be gentle in carrying out your business (17/19)

 

Being gentle differs from being humble and such was the differentiation I sought in the various translations, both above and below.

 

Verse 18

Lectionary (1998):                        Humble yourself the more

The Vulgate (circa 410):               humilia te in omnibus (verse 20)

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):        the more humble thyself in all things (verse 20)

King James (1611):                      Includes neither Ecclesiasticus nor Sirach

Jerusalem (1966):                        the more you should behave humbly (18/20)

New American (1970):                 Humble yourself the more

New Jerusalem (1985):                the more humbly you should behave (18/20)

 

Verse 28

Lectionary (1998):                        appreciates proverbs

The Vulgate (circa 410):               concupiscent sapientiam (verse 31)

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):        will hear wisdom with all desire (verse 31)

King James (1611):                      Includes neither Ecclesiasticus nor Sirach

Jerusalem (1966):                        will reflect on parables (29/31)

New American (1970):                 appreciates proverbs

New Jerusalem (1985):                will reflect on parables (31/29)

 

Since I transliterated concupiscent into concupiscence, I wanted to find the desire translation.  The meaning is that the wise seek wisdom with erotic passion.

 

The gist of these readings can be twisted to mean that thinking is bad.  Noting the above discrepancies, therefore, can also be regarded as bad.  To the contrary, I think that paying attention to the details helps search out the meaning of the passages.  This passage is part of the synthesis of Jewish wisdom and piety, which lasts forty-two and a half chapters.[11]

 

Psalm 68:4-5, 6-7, 10-11

This is the only place the Lectionary uses Psalm 68.  The verse references for this psalm are also misleading, because, for one example, verse 5 omits the LORD arriving on a powerful, moving storm cloud, as further elaborated by Ezekiel. Verse 7 is also incomplete.  Ezekiel portrays the four evangelists as Man, Lion, Ox, and Eagle representing intelligence, fierceness, strength, fertility, and swiftness for serving and defending the divine throne.  Nothing like that is in the Lectionary for verse 7.[12]

 

Verse 6

Lectionary (1998):                        defender of widows

The Vulgate (circa 410):               iudex viduarum

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):        judge of widows (Psalm 67)

King James (1611):                      judge of the widows (verse 5)

Jerusalem (1966):                        defender of widows (verse 5)

New American (1970):                 defender of widows‑

New Jerusalem (1985):                defender of widows (verse 5)

 

I wanted to see how iudex would be translated. The translation moved from judge to defender.

 

Psalm 68 is one of those changing from a glowing praise of the past to a prophetic promise for the future.  Psalm 68 was important for the Second Temple Judaism of Mary. Psalm 68 is one of five focused on at the time for that prophetic promise.[13]  Psalm 68 was a type of victory parade, celebrating the Exodus, even if there did not seem much to celebrate under the Roman conquest.[14]  For Mary and the Faithful, Faith trumps anxiety.

 

Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24a (as found in the Lectionary)

The Lectionary contains all of verse 24 in the Vulgate and the other Bibles I use for comparison. Why the Lectionary uses “a” in “24a” escapes me.

 

Matthew 11:29 a b

Matthew, taking the yoke, is less joyful than Luke bringing in the dancing girls.

 

Luke 14:1, 7-14

In verse 7, Luke writes that Jesus told a parable, or a similitude. From the Greek, what follows is not a parable, but, at best, an analogy.  Luke is writing about the coming of the Kingdom of God, a Kingdom out of kilter with what the Pharisees were expecting.[15]  With a twinkle in her eye, Mary told Luke that, at the rate they were going, the Pharisees were not going to make it into the Kingdom.  Unlike Matthew, Luke is not particularly upset with the Temple and the Pharisees.[16]

 

To the contrary, Luke is sometimes portrayed as opposed to both the Pharisees and the Temple. Neither seems to be the case.[17]  Luke, through Jesus, seems rather to lament the situation.  Because the Pharisees serve as a foil for opening the Kingdom to the Gentiles, Luke gracefully omits Pharisee participation in the passion and death of Jesus, but rather points out that Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, was a Pharisee.

 

Verse 10

Lectionary (1998):                        move up to a higher position

The Vulgate (circa 410):               ascende superius

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):        go up higher

King James (1611):                      go up higher

Jerusalem (1966):                        move up higher

New American (1970):                 move up to a higher position

New Jerusalem (1985):                move up higher

 

I wanted to see the translations for ascende superius.  The Lectionary, using the word position, does help clarify the meaning.

 

The Greek is a reminder of Proverbs 25:7 “For it is better that you be told, `Come up closer!’ than that you be humbled before the prince.”[18]  Jesus was moving from what the Pharisees already knew to a new and better understanding of the Kingdom of God. Sometimes a vice, such as envy, can cause enough anxiety to cloud the truth when presented even by Jesus.

 

Saint Basil wrote a sermon, On Envy. Basil said, “Envy is the pain that arises from another’s good fortune.…but to show kindness to the envious only provokes him the more.…so is envy a pest among friends.…the envious have no eyes for the splendors of life…hypocrisy is the fruit of envy.”[19]  What about envy and other vices that may lurk in the unconscious? Even there, Faith trumps anxiety caused by tensions in the unconscious, which the Faithful are unable to reach.

 

Faith trumps anxiety: in Sirach acting gently among the tensions of business life; in Psalm 68 celebrating daily in the Temple at the forbearance of Rome; in Hebrews with a hope for things not seen; and in Luke no worrying about esteem, whether self-esteem or the esteem of others.  Faith trumping anxiety removes the setting for going back into sin.

 

 

For more on sources see the Appendix file.



[1] Dennis Hamm, S.J., “The Tamid Service in Luke-Acts: The Cultic Background behind Luke’s Theology of Worship (Luke 1:5-25; 18:9-14; 24:50-53; Acts 3:1; 10:3, 30)," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 65, No. 2 (April 2003) 215-217.

 

[2] Dianne Bergant, C.S.A., “The Challenge of Hermeneutics: Lamentations 1:1-11: A Test Case," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 1 (January 2002) 11.

 

[3] Louise Joy Lawrence, “’For truly, I tell you, they have received their reward’ (Matt 6:2): Investigating Honor Precedence and honor Virtue," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 4 (October 2002), page 693.

 

[4] J. J. M. Roberts, “The Enthronement of Yhwh and David: The Abiding Theological Significance of the Kingship Language of the Psalms," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 4 (October 2002) 676-677, 681.

 

[5] Craig R. Koester, “Hebrews, Rhetoric, and the Future of Humanity," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 1 (January 2002) 112.

 

[6] Scott W. Hahn, “A Broken Covenant and the Curse of Death: A Study of Hebrews 9:15-22," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 3 (July 2004) 423.

 

[7] Scott W. Hahn, “A Broken Covenant and the Curse of Death: A Study of Hebrews 9:15-22," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 3 (July 2004) 434-36.

 

[8] John T. Carroll, “Luke’s Portrayal of the Pharisees," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 50, No. 4 (October 1988) 604, 611, 612, 615.

 

[9] Raymond E. Brown, S.S., The anchor Bible Reference Library: An Introduction to the New Testament (New York: Doubleday, 1997), 266, also see 227, 248, 273.

 

[10] Basil (Regulae Disp. 21) in Exposition from the Catena Aurea, in The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers: A Manual of Preaching, Spiritual Reading and Meditation: Volume Four: From the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost to the Twenty-fourth and Last Sunday after Pentecost, tr. and ed. M. F. Toal, D.D. (P.O. Box 612, Swedesboro, NJ 08085: Preservation Press, 1996) 136.

[11] Dennis Hamm, S.J., “The Tamid Service in Luke-Acts: The Cultic Background behind Luke’s Theology of Worship (Luke 1:5-25; 18:9-14; 24:50-53; Acts 3:1; 10:3, 30)," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 65, No. 2 (April 2003) 220.

 

[12] Dale Launderville, O.S.B., “Ezekiel’s Throne-Chariot Vision: Spiritualizing the Model of Divine Royal Rule," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 3 (July 2004) 364-365.

 

[13] Sue Gillingham, “From Liturgy to Prophecy: The Use of Psalmody in Second Temple Judaism," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 3 (July 2002) 484.

 

[14] Richard J. Clifford, S.J., “The Unity of the Book of Isaiah and Its Cosmogonic Language," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 55, No. 1 (January 1993) 4.

[15] John T. Carroll, “Luke’s Portrayal of the Pharisees," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 50, No. 4 (October 1988) 615, 620-621.

 

[16] Francis D. Weinert, “Luke, the Temple and Jesus’ Saying about Jerusalem’s Abandoned House (Luke 13:34-35)," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 44, No. 1 (January 1982) 71-72.

 

[17] Francis D. Weinert, “Luke, the Temple and Jesus’ Saying about Jerusalem’s Abandoned House (Luke 13:34-35)," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 44, No. 1 (January 1982) 68-70.

 

[18] 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).726.

 

[19] III. St. Basis, Bishop and Doctor, On Envy, PG 31, col. 372, Sermo XI as found in

The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers: A Manual of Preaching, Spiritual Reading and Meditation: Volume Four: From the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost to the Twenty-fourth and Last Sunday after Pentecost, tr. and ed. M. F. Toal, D.D. (P.O. Box 612, Swedesboro, NJ 08085: Preservation Press, 1996) 142, 144, 145, 146, 152.