Taking responsibility for the behavior of others has a long tradition in the African American community.  Writing in 1943 about Black Southerners moving to Cleveland, Ohio, William O. Walker, the editor of the African-American newspaper, Call and Post, wrote that even those that behaved well were not to be left off the hook, since it was their job to reign in people who could not control themselves in public.[1]  The reason I write these Musings is not wanting to be left on the hook for the behavior of the Vatican. 

“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts” is the Responsorial Antiphon on this Forgiveness Sunday.  The truth is that God loves everyone, as Matthew 5:45 puts it, the sun shines and the rain falls on good and bad alike.  The prayer for this Sunday is about how to forgive John Paul II and Benedict XVI for their roles in the sexual coverup.

This is no easy task.  Prudence must be the guide to the behavior of the Faithful.  Reconciling a hierarchy that refuses reconciliation is foolhardy.  Dealing with a Vatican that presents itself in regal splendor, even as it covers up the sinful activity that the Vatican enables must begin with prayer for forgiveness. 

A sense of the nonsense in lace involved is observable in L’Osservatore Romano:  Weekly Edition in English, where His Holiness presents his picture in regal splendor on every page.  L’Osservatore Romano is the official Vatican newspaper.  June 29 has an article on Hermine Speier, whom Pope XI bought to Rome “to put the photographic archives of our museum in order.”[2]

Benedict would do better to present himself in sackcloth and ashes, than in such regal splendor.  Such “fraternal correction” from me would seem impertinent to him, because he has elevated himself so far above my station in life.  He, however, does not seem to pay attention to others, either.  Incidentally, should the Faithful want to comment, I used to be publicly available where these comments used to appear in due course of time at 



Divergences between the Lectionary and the NABRE


In 2011, The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops authorized a revised translation of the New American Bible (NAB), thereby setting up tension with the Lectionary used at Sunday Mass.  Scholars are citing the New American Bible Revised Edition as NABRE.[3]  This tension between the Lectionary and the NABRE will increase with the use of the new Sacramentary, now called Missal, beginning in Advent.  The hierarchy is playing name games, because the full title of the Lectionary includes Missal.[4]  One purpose showing the divergences in translation is to show the Church contradicting itself, meaning something is wrong with one, other, or both of the translations.


Ezekiel 33:7-9

This translation is so divergent that I fully repeat both translations.

Verse 7

Lectionary:    Thus says the LORD:  You, son of man, I have appointed watchman for the house of Israel; when you hear me say anything, you shall warn them for me.

NABRE:        You, son of man—I have appointed you as a sentinel for the house of Israel; when you hear a word from my mouth, you must warn them for me.

The main difference is between watchman, who might be a retiree walking the grounds, and sentinel, who would be a soldier standing guard.  There is a difference in meaning.

Verse 8

Lectionary:    If I tell the wicked, “O wicked one, you shall surely die,” and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked from his way, the wicked shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death.

NABRE:        When I say to the wicked, “You wicked, you must die,” and you do not speak up to warn the wicked about their ways, they shall die in their sins, but I will hold you responsible for their blood.

The main difference is between speak out to dissuade and speak up to warn.  The difference is between dissuading, which Ezekiel cannot control, and warning, which Ezekiel can control.  I feel that calling attention to the sexual coverup by the Vatican is like Ezekiel warning.


Verse 9

Lectionary:    But if you warn the wicked, trying to turn him from his way, and he refuses to turn from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but you shall save yourself.

NABRE:        If, however, you warn the wicked to turn from their ways, but they do not, then they shall die in their sins, but you shall save your life.

The difference is between a rogue individual and a group, such as the hierarchy involved in the sexual coverup.


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

Verse 1

Lectionary:    … acclaim the rock …

NABRE:        … cry out to the rock …

Verse 2

Lectionary:    … come into his presence with thanksgiving …

                               sing psalms to him.

NABRE:        … come before him with a song of praise,

                               joyfully sing out our psalms.

Page 3/14 of the first rendition of these Personal Notes for the Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, 127A, dated September 8, 2002, offers yet a different translation composed by the International Commission for English in the Liturgy (ICEL).  Translating the Psalms is difficult.

Verse 6

Lectionary:    Come …

NABRE:        Enter …

Verse 7

Lectionary:              … and we … the flock he guides.

NABRE:                  … we … sheep in his hands …

Verse 8

Lectionary:              Harden not …

NABRE:                  Do not harden …

Verse 9

Lectionary:    where your fathers …

                               they tested me …

NABRE:        There your ancestors …

                               they tried me …

The meaning of each translation is consistently different.



Romans 13:8-10

Verse 9

Lectionary:    namely

NABRE:        [namely]

The Lectionary omits the brackets in the NABRE.  The difference is more technical than substantive.  I do not know what the brackets mean or why they are there.  Daniel B. Wallace translates The commandments as The [list of commandments].[5]


Matthew 18:15-20

Verse 15

Lectionary:    against you

NABRE:        [against you]

The difference is more technical than substantive.

Verse 19

Lectionary:    Again, amen,

NABRE:        Again, [amen,]

The difference is more technical than substantive.




First Reading:                    Ezekiel 33:7-9

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

Second Reading:               Romans 13:8-10

Alleluia:                             2 Corinthians 5:19

Gospel:                             Matthew 18:15-20



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.


Ezekiel 33:7-9


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


Psalm 95:7-11

Paul A. Rainbow, review of Angela Rascher, Schriftauslegung und Christologie im Hebraerbrief[6]

Hebrews 3:7—4:13 cites Psalm 95:7-11 to urge Christians both to persevere in spiritual worship and to avoid apostasy.  Rainbow reports that Rascher is a bit much, but that her insights are worthwhile.


Romans 13:8-10

Rom 13:1-17

Yung Suk Kim, review of Seyoon Kim, Christ and Caesar: The Gospel and the Roman Empire in the Writings of Paul and Luke[7]

Yung Suk Kim reports that Seyoon Kim argues from Romans 13:1-17 that Paul has a positive regard for Roman authority.  That regard affects Pauline theology, which is different from Luke, who does not share that high regard for Roman authority.  Yung Su Kim has a very low regard for the scholarship of Seyoon Kim.


Rom 13:8b

Bernard O. Ukwuegbu, "Paraenesis, Identity-defining Norms, or Both?  Galatians 5:13—6:10 in the Light of Social Identity Theory"[8]

Ukwuegbu explains that the original basic meaning of fulfilled in fulfilled the law is to fill up an empty or near-empty container.  In other words, love fulfills the Mosaic law.


2 Corinthians 5:19


Matthew 18:15-20

Matt 18:18-19

Tobias Hägerland, “The Power of Prophecy: A Septuagintal Echo in John 20:19-23.”[9]

Hägerland finds Matthew 18:19 about answering prayer puzzling.  Hägerland furnishes the Greek to parse these sentences in light of the prophet Balaam.



Matt 18:15-22

Walter T. Wilson, “Seen in Secret:  Inconspicuous Piety and Alternative Subjectivity in Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18”[10]

Wilson points to Matthew 18:15-22, along with four other places in Matthew, to indicate the dynamics of forgiveness suited to Christians.


Matt 18:17

Bernard P. Prusak, review of Wolfgang Vondey, People of Bread: Rediscovering Ecclesiology[11]

Prusak regards Vondey as less than forthright about forgiveness, because Vondey omits treating Matthew 18:17 about excluding people from the church.  Vondey tracks back sharing bread as a sign of hospitality in the First Testament and into the New Testament.  Vondey presents the Faithful as companionate not only with themselves, but also with God.  Vondey urges the church to be friendlier.


Matthew 18:18

Sandra M. Schneiders, “The Lamb of God and the Forgiveness of Sin(s) in the Fourth Gospel”[12]

Schneiders compares the juridical approach to the forgiveness of the sin of the world of Matthew 18:18 with the theological approach of the Fourth Gospel.  Schneiders stresses the all-embracing love of God toward all humanity.


Matthew 18:20

Paul Lakeland, Engaging Theology:  Catholic Perspectives:  Church:  Living Communion[13]

Lakeland uses where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them as a scriptural definition of the Church.  His more academic working description is:  “that community of faith distinguished by the experience that the loving care of God for us [is] supremely available in our intimacy with the story of Jesus Christ.”



Matt 18:20

F. Scott Spencer, review of Richard A. Burridge, Imitating Jesus: An Inclusive Approach to New Testament Ethics[14]

Spencer agrees with Burridge that Christians ended apartheid in South Africa by endeavoring to imitate Jesus.  Spencer notes that the Faithful regard the Gospel of Matthew as a type of compendium of the ethical teachings of Jesus.  Burridge takes this compendium to mean that God is always with his people, there am I in the midst of them.


Matt 18:20

Amelia J. Uelmen, “Caritas in Veritate and Chiara Lubich:  Human Development from the Vantage Point of Unity”[15]

Uelmen describes how Christians in immediate danger of death in war-torn World War II Europe banded together in love in a type of all-for-one and one-for-all communion.  Into this bond of life, entered Jesus, there am I in the midst of them.



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



For recurring themes in Sacred Scripture, see the following, taken from the Greek.[16]  The exclamation point (!) indicates principal reference lists of passages related by a common theme or expression.  The exclamation point sometimes also functions as a semi-colon, comma, or period.  Italics of the same verse (I supply the book and chapter) indicates a special relevance; italics of a different verse or book from where it appears, indicates a direct quote.  Commas separate verses within the same book and semi-colons separate books.  The abbreviation for following is f.  For material based on the Greek Septuagint Greek, the abbreviation is LXX.  With this material, I am trying to lay a foundation for developing Biblical themes the next time through the Liturgical Cycles.  I intend to add in which Lectionary readings to find the relevant passages.


Sacred Scripture develops themes for the following readings in Romans 13:8-10:


Verse   8       1 John 4:11; Galatians 5:14; Colossians 3:14; 1 Timothy 1:5.

Verse   9       Deuteronomy 5:17-21 LXX; Exodus 20:13-17 LXX; 4 Maccabees 2:6; Ephesians 1:10; Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 22:39! parallel.

Verse 10       1 Corinthians 13:4; Wisdom 6:18.


Sacred Scripture develops themes for the following readings in Matthew 18:15-20:


Verse 15       Leviticus 19:17; 2 Timothy 4:2; Luke 17:3; Galatians 6:1; Titus 3:10.

Verse 16       Deuteronomy 19:15; John 8:17! 2 Corinthians 13:1; 1 Titus 5:19; Hebrews 10:28.

Verse 17       2 Thessalonians 3:14 f., 16:18; 1 Corinthians 5:9-13.

Verse 18       Matthew 16:19; John 20:23.

Verse 19       Matthew 7:7! 1 Corinthians 5:4.

Verse 20       Matthew 28:20.





Through Reading 70A, January 30, 2011, I designed these comments on the availability of manuscripts to make the point that uncertainty exists about exactly which Greek to use for the purposes of translation.  At that point, I began offering manuscript availability for background when examining Translating the New Testament:  Text, Translation, Theology, which I purchased based on the review in the Catholic Biblical Quarterly.[17]



Matthew 18:15-20

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.[18]

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Inv. No. 14.1.527 in New York has a Sixth/Seventh Century papyrus with Matthew 18:15-17.  The Österreichische Nationalbibliothek in Vienna has a Fourth Century parchment with Matthew 18:18-29.  The Alands explain:


… in Matt. 18.18 Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis (D) at first reads:  osa ean dhste epi thV ghV estai lelumena en toiV  [Whatever you bind on earth will be loosed in the heavens] (D ends the verse with a plural form in place of the singular in the new text); the second occurrence of epi thV ghV has been confused with the first, resulting in the omission at first of the intervening text:  estai dedemena en ouranw, kai osa ean lushte epi thV ghV [will be bound in heaven].  This absolute nonsense was detected by the corrector and emended.


The absolute nonsense would be:  “Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be loosed in the heavens.”



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


After-Action Report for Reading 164A Trinity Sunday_A Catholic Bible Study 100619.docx


From: Raymond Jirran []
Sent: Thursday, June 23, 2011 9:04 PM
To: Duane Smith (
Subject: Email usage




I just sent our correspondence to the editor/publisher of the and told him to use his journalistic expertise presenting our back-and-forth.  I will keep you posted about that.


I now intend to figure out how to include our correspondence in an “After-action Report” for my website at  That material should appear in two places.  First (this week) at 124A Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time 164A Trinity Sunday 110619pdf and htm and, later, in a couple of weeks, when I upload 127A 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time_A Catholic Bible Study 110904.  The reason for needing to wait a couple of weeks for 127A is the return of Bette, my wife, who functions as my editor.


How this works:  I upload and send out hard copies as much as six weeks in advance, so that if I want people receiving the hard copies to know about changes, I need to let them know in a later After-Action Report.  I intend to keep you posted and remain delighted with our correspondence.


I try to turn in my material for the Sunday before the liturgy is scheduled to use the material.




Raymond J. Jirran

1168 Willow Green Drive

Newport News, Virginia  23602-7158





From: Raymond Jirran []
Sent: Wednesday, June 22, 2011 10:39 PM
To: 'Duane Smith'
Subject: RE: On literate gods




I cannot get over that you responded.  Thank you.


Thank you for your help with my academic credibility at footnote 3 for Reading 109A, July 24.  I am trying to get it right, but, in my wildest dreams, never thought you, unasked, would pitch in to help out.  If you do not mind, I will post this correspondence at the web site and add it as an “After-action Report” on my web site, 


Do keep me in your prayers, as I do you and yours.





Raymond J. Jirran

1168 Willow Green Drive

Newport News, Virginia  23602-7158





From: Duane Smith []
Sent: Monday, June 20, 2011 11:58 PM
Subject: On literate gods


Dear Dr. Jirran,


Your recent interesting musings on my CBQ paper came to my attention.  I hope you won’t mind a couple of comments.  First, you are certainly correct that, at least as far as I know, no Mesopotamian god wrote anything like the Ten Commandments.  I will note that Ur-Engur of the Ur claimed that he ruled "according to the just laws of Shamash” and that the epilog to the Code of Hammurabi, says at one point, “By the command of Shamash, the great judge of heaven and earth, let righteousness go forth in the land: by the order of Marduk, my lord, let no destruction befall my monument.”


While nether Ur-Engur nor Hammurabi make a claim that some god or gods wrote the laws, the scribes and particularly the diviners surely thought that their gods were literate.  Heck, the gods not only wrote on clay, but on sheep’s livers and water stains and a host of other media.  I thought you might be interested in these two examples.  In one a god is asked to write on a “reliable tablet” and in the other a god is said to be able to read a tablet and to read it under what I would call difficult conditions.


In a prayer to Nabû, the patron of scribes, we read, “(O Nabû) pronounce a long life for me, write down for me old age in your reliable tablet (VAR 4 100 ii:25).”


In a prayer to Shamash we read, “You can read an encased tablet, (still) unopened (Mayer, UFBG, 503–510).” In a forthcoming book edited by Alan Lenzi, I suggest a parallel between this epithet to Shamash and sealed prophetic document in Isa 29:11–12.  In any case, Shamash is certainly thought literate.  He can even read a tablet that is still in its envelope!


Very best regards,




Duane E. Smith


1387 Scoville Ave.

Pomona, CA 91767


Home Phone: 909 624-3029

Cell Phone: 909 717-8381

Fax: 909 624-5060 (By appointment only)



Blog (Abnormal Interests):



From: Duane Smith []
Sent: Wednesday, June 22, 2011 11:45 PM
To: 'Raymond Jirran'
Subject: RE: On literate gods


Ray (if I may),


Actually I was somewhat reluctant to write you.  I’m glad you found my remarks helpful.  Please feel free to use my comments as you see fit, where you see fit.  I would appreciate knowing where they are published.


The whole issue of literate gods is an interesting one.  I don’t find it all that surprising that scribes would see their gods and particularly their patron god as literate.  This may sound like a strange comment, but I think it was the very fact that the gods were thought literate that allowed the Mesopotamian diviner to believe that they could “read” the mind of their gods and understand their will.  It is not unimportant that scribal training [w]as a prerequisite if one was to be a professional diviner. It is often forgotten that, by Oppenheim’s estimate, of the order of half the tablets from the Ashurbanipal library deal with some aspect of divination.  I find it interesting that over a long history written texts like the Bible and the Quran came to take the place of the literate gods as the source of knowledge of the mind of the single God.  But this is a long and complex develop.


Best regards,




Duane E. Smith


1387 Scoville Ave.

Pomona, CA 91767


Home Phone: 909 624-3029

Cell Phone: 909 717-8381

Fax: 909 624-5060 (By appointment only)



Blog (Abnormal Interests):


[1] Stephanie M. Liscio, Integrating Cleveland Baseball:  Media Activism, the Integration of the Indians and the Demise of the Negro League Buckeyes (Jefferson, North Carolina:  McFarland & Company, Inc., 2010) 70.


[2] L’Osservatore Romano: Weekly Edition in English, Vol. 44, No. 25 (Wednesday, 22 June 2011, Vatican City), 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8/9, 11, 14, 15, 16.  Some pages have more than one picture.  Paolo Vian, “Archaeologist Hermine Speier was asked by Pius XI to reorganize the Vatican Museums’ photographic archive:  In 1934 the Pope Hired a German Jew:  She is buried in that `next of swallows in the shadow of the Dome,’ the Campo Santo Teutonico,”  page 13.


[3] Saint Joseph Edition of The New American Bible:  Revised Edition (New Jersey:  Catholic Book Publishing Corp., 2011).


[4] National Conference of Catholic Bishops, The Roman Missal Restored by Decree of the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican and Promulgated by Authority of Pope Paul VI: Lectionary for Mass: For Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America: Second Typical Edition: Volume I: Sundays, Solemnities, Feasts of the Lord and Saints (Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1998).


[5] Daniel B. Wallace, With Scripture, Subject, and Greek Word Indexes: Greek Grammar:  Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Michigan: Zondervan, 1996) 238.


[6] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 1 (January 2009) 188.


[7] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 3 (July 2009) 648.


[8] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 3 (July 2008) 545, 546.


[9] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 1 (January 2009) 97, 98.


[10] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 72, No. 3 (July 2010) 486.


[11] Theological Studies, Vol. 70, No. 4 (December 2009) 957.


[12] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 73, No. 1 (January 2011) 28.


[13] Collegeville, Minnesota:  Liturgical Press, A Michael Glazier Book, 2009, 49.


[14] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 1 (April 2009) 159.


[15] Theological Studies, Vol. 71, No. 1 (March 2010) 34.


[16] 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.


[17] Robert Hodgson, Jr., review of Translating the New Testament:  Text, Translation, Theology, Stanley E. Porter and Mark J. Boda (eds.) (Grand Rapids, Michigan:  William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2009), the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 72, No. 4 (October 2010) 877-878.


[18] Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989, 98, 119, 285.