The antiphon for Psalm 95:8, If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts, makes the prayer for the Lectionary readings this Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time.  The voice of God is never easy to understand for sinners.  The mish-mash manner in which the Faithful hand down Sacred Scripture exemplifies the difficulty.

In the first reading, Ezekiel knew he was hearing the voice of God.  As a practical matter, the reading means that the Faithful are bound to follow their consciences in relationship to the certitude they have that they are forming consciences correctly.  With the recent cover-up scandals by the hierarchy, that hierarchy has lost some of its credibility to lead conscience formation.  Perhaps it is appropriate, at this time, for the Faithful to help form the consciences of the hierarchy.

Psalm 9:8, about hardening your heart, is about being open to those changes in attitude required in the new recognition of human rights.  Romans focuses on the need for love.  The love between my wife and me rests on an uncertain foundation discerning right from wrong.  Sometimes, our behavior would be exactly the opposite if we understood what we were doing.  That makes forgiveness (because we accept the lack of malice in our relationship) essential for love, including the family love expressed in Matthew 18:20, where two or three are gathered together in my name.

==================================================================

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.

Ezekiel 33:7-9

Ezekiel 33:2, 6-7

Joseph Blenkinsopp, review of John Goldingay and David Payne, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Isaiah 40—55, Volume 1, Introduction and Commentary on Isaiah 40:1—44:23; Volume 2, Commentary on Isaiah 44:24—55:13[1]

Blenkinsopp uses Ezekiel 33:7 to argue that watchman in Isaiah means, contrary to Goldingay and Payne, that there is more than one prophet in Isaiah.  This publication only gets readers to volume 2.  There are five more to come.

 


Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9 (8)

Psalm 95: 1-4, 6

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, United States Catholic Catechism for Adults[2]

I wish the Bishops would make up their mind. Where, in verse 1, the Lectionary has let us acclaim the rock, the Catechism has cry out to the rock.

 

Verse 2 is even more difficult. The Lectionary has:

Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving:

          Let us joyfully sing psalms to him.

 

The Catechism has:

Let us greet him with a song of praise,

          Joyfully sing out our psalm.

 

Verse 6 confuses come with enter as follows:

The Lectionary, Come, let us bow down

The Catechism, Enter, let us bow down

 

Pages 1-10 contain comments on this Psalm made in 2002 that are available on the internet.

 

Psalm 95:7-11

Todd D. Still, "Christos as Pistos: The Faith(fulness) of Jesus in the Epistle to the Hebrews"[3]

Still argues that the ancient author of Hebrews uses Psalm 95:1-11, your fathers tempted me, to underscore “the wilderness generation’s infidelity to God.”

 

Romans 13:8-10

Rom 13:8-10

Charles H. Cosgrove, "Did Paul Value Ethnicity?"[4]

From Romans 13:10, love is the fulfillment of the law, Cosgrove posits that Paul  values the law, “viewing the Law as a revelation of the Good (Rom 7:12; 13:8-10; Gal 5:14 and a witness to his gospel (Rom 3:21).”  Cosgrove concludes, “… the idea that ethnicities, as cultural heritages, deserve social protection is a modern idea off the intellectual map of ancient Mediterraneans, including Paul.  Nothing in Paul opposes it; nothing implies it.”

 

2 Corinthians 5:19

 

Matthew 18:15-20

Matt 18:15-18

Boris Repschinski, "`For He Will Save His People from Their Sins’ (Matthew 1:21): A Christology for Christian Jews”[5]

When Matthew has Jesus tell his disciples to treat unrepentant sinners as Gentiles, Matthew is writing for a Jewish community.  As Repschinski puts it, Matthew is creating “a link for the reader that connects the mission of Jesus to save Israel with the forgiveness of sins taking place within the community.”  Later, Christians would expand that community to themselves.

 

Matt 18:17

Kenton L. Sparks, "Gospel as Conquest: Mosaic Typology in Matthew 28:16-20"[6]

Sparks uses Matthew 18:17, then treat him as you would a Gentile, as support for the current idea that Matthew was a Christian Jew, a heretical Jew.  Sparks disagrees, arguing that, instead, Matthew was a Jewish Christian, living within the norms of the new religion.

 

Matt 18:20

Daniel W. Ulrich, “The Missional Audience of the Gospel of Matthew”[7]

Ulrich argues, “The promise that Jesus will be present `where two or three are gathered’ in his name (18:20) implies that the assembly in any given location could be small; nevertheless, the generalizing term `where’ (ou) allows for a growing movement with assemblies in many different locations.”

 

Matt 18:20

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

Dozzi argues that `To adore’ expresses the deeper meaning of `to pray.’”  Dozzi goes on to quote Saint Francis that Christ is adored in the assembly of the Faithful.

 


Mt 18:19

Concerning against you in if your brother sins against you, the Introduction to the Greek text has:

 

Square brackets in the text ([ ]) indicate that textual critics today are not completely convinced of the authenticity of the enclosed words (cf. Mt 18:19; Ac 16:1; for word order, 1 Cor 10:20).  These passages are always noted explicitly in the apparatus so that the reader may evaluate them independently.  The reading given in the text shows the preference of the editors.  For practical reasons the evidence given in the apparatus always includes the support for the reading in the text.  Square brackets always reflect a great degree of difficulty in determining the text.[9]

 

In contrast to square brackets, the cross indicates “very difficult textual decisions”[10] and, for Latin and Greek Codices, “(= defective) is used with witnesses other than those consistently cited to indicate incomplete preservation of the contents described …”

 


Matt 18:19

Lectionary (1998)                         sins against you

 

The Vulgate (circa 410)                peccaverit in te

 

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610)         shall offend against three

 

King James (1611)                       shall trespass against thee

 

Catholic RSV (1969)                    sins against you

 

New American (NAB) (1970)        sins [against you]

                                                   Has a footnote, “… The bracketed words, against you, are widely attested but they are not in the important codices Sinaiticus and Vaticanus or in some other textual witnesses. Their omission broadens the type of sin in question. …

 

New Jerusalem (1985)                 does something wrong

                                         has a footnote g, “Many authorities add the specifying phrase `to you’, but it is probably to be omitted.  The fault in question is grave and notorious; it has not necessarily been committed against the one whose duty it is to correct it.  In v. 21 [about how often must I forgive my brother] the case is different.”

 

Because the Lectionary differs from the NAB, makes an important difference, this sloppy scholarship on the part of the Bishops seems to boarder on contempt for scholarship.  What saves the Bishops is that Nestle-Aland28 includes the words.  For purposes of the liturgy, I think, contrary to the Bishops, that the words against you would better be omitted.  The concern is over the gravity of the matter, not whether someone chooses to take offense or not.

 

          Matt. 18:20

          United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, United States Catholic Catechism for Adults[11]

          The Bishops use this verse, about gathering in the name of Jesus, to enhance Chapter 26, “Second Commandment: Reverence God’s Name.”

 



[1] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 2 (April 2008) 343.

 

[2] Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2006, 371.

 

[3] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 4 (September 2007) 753.

 

[4] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 2 (April 2006) 289.

 

[5] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 2 (April 2006) 259, 260.

 

[6] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 4 (April 2006) 662.

 

[7] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 1 (January 2007) 75.

 

[8] Greyfriars Review, Vol. 18, Supplement (2004) 28.

 

[9] Nestle-Aland, Novum Testamentum: Graece et Latine: Textum Graecum post Eberhard et Erwin Nestle communiter ediderunt Barbara et Kurt Aland, Johannes Karavidopoulos, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger: Textus Latinus Novae Vulgatae Bibliorum Sacrorum Editioni debetur: Utriusque textus apparatum criticum recensuerent et editionem novis curis elaboraverunt Barbara et Kurt Aland una cum Instituto Studiorum Textus Novi Testamenti Monasterii Westphaliae (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft 1999) Editio XXVII, 6*-7*.

 

[10] Nestle-Aland, Novum Testamentum: Graece et Latine: Textum Graecum post Eberhard et Erwin Nestle communiter ediderunt Barbara et Kurt Aland, Johannes Karavidopoulos, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger: Textus Latinus Novae Vulgatae Bibliorum Sacrorum Editioni debetur: Utriusque textus apparatum criticum recensuerent et editionem novis curis elaboraverunt Barbara et Kurt Aland una cum Instituto Studiorum Textus Novi Testamenti Monasterii Westphaliae (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft 1999) Editio XXVII, 14*.

 

[11] Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2006, 357.