My soul, analogously recognized at the destination of the Exodus is my focus for these readings.  The Faithful can handle the material trials of life in their souls thanks to the grace of Jesus Christ.

 

Pope John-Paul II’s Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginia Mariae, does not cite any specific Scripture from the Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time.  The following section fits no special readings.  The Pope draws a distinction between the interior life over which everyone has some control and exterior lives ever more divided as human understanding expands.

 

…and children

 

42.      It is also beautiful and fruitful to entrust to this prayer the growth and development of children.  Does the Rosary not follow the life of Christ, from his conception to his death, and then to his resurrection and his glory?  Parents are finding it ever more difficult to follow the lives of their children as they grow to maturity.  In a society of advanced technology, of mass communications and globalization, everything has become hurried, and the cultural distance between generations is growing ever greater.  The most diverse messages and the most unpredictable experiences rapidly make their way into the lives of children and adolescents, and parents can become quite anxious about the dangers their children face.  At times parents suffer disappointment at the failure of their children to resist the seductions of the drug culture, the lure of an unbridled hedonism, the temptation to violence, and the manifold expressions of meaningless and despair.

 

Isaiah 35:4-7a

 

Scholars are unsure whether Isaiah 35 is First (pre-exilic) or Second (exilic) Isaiah.  Chapter 35, no matter, is written in the spirit of Second Isaiah.[1]  Isaiah encourages the Faithful to remain steadfast for the LORD will save them.  The Savior, ultimately, is Jesus Christ.

 

verses 4-7a   Say to those whose hearts are frightened:

                               Be strong, fear not!

                     Here is your God,

                               he comes with vindication;

                     with divine recompense

                               he comes to save you

                     Then will the eyes of the blind be opened,

                               the ears of the deaf be cleared;

                     then will the lame leap like a stag,

                               then the tongue of the mute will sing.

                     Streams will burst forth in the desert,

                               and rivers in the steppe.

                     The burning sands will become pools,

                               and the thirsty ground, springs of water.

 

The lame leaping like a stag in verse 6 above symbolizes the restoration of Israel.[2]

 

Psalm 146:7, 8-9, 9-10

 

A scholar compares this Psalm as found in the Masoretic (ancient Hebrew) text, the Septuagint (Greek) text, and the Qumran Scrolls.[3]  The differences show a trend revealing the Masoretic as the oldest, then the Septuagint, then Qumran.  The differences while exhibiting a pattern, focus on the placement and use of Alleluia, in other words, nothing major.

 

This Psalm is used in the Funeral Rites on page 307, one of the Second Psalms for Morning Prayer.  This Psalm is also used in the Lectionary as follows:

 

Reading        Page  Antiphon       Verses

    7A               34     Isa 35:4         6-7, 8-9, 9-10

  70A             532     Matt 5:3        6-7, 8-9, 9-10

128B             817     1b                    7, 8-9, 9-10

138C             865     1b                    7, 8-9, 9-10

155B             947     1b                    7, 8-9, 9-10

 

The antiphon is

 

verse 1b        Praise the Lord, my soul!

 

verse 8          The LORD gives sight to the blind;

 

verse 10        The LORD shall reign forever;

                               your God, O Zion, through all generations.

 

The unused verse 3 asks, “How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?”[4]

 

James 2:1-5

 

James instructs the ancient Church community on how to live together in a human society.  These instructions guide the Faithful through the material trials of life toward the soul of a more Christian assembly.[5]

 

verses 1-4     My brothers and sisters, show no partiality

                               as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.

                     For if a man with gold rings and fine clothes

                               comes into your assembly

                               and a poor person in shabby clothes also comes in,

                               and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes

                               and say, “Sit here, please,”

                               while you say to the poor one, “Stand there,” or Sit at my feet,”

                               have you not made distinctions among yourselves

                               and become judges with evil designs?

 

cf. Matthew 4:23

 

This verse sets out the three ways in which Jesus related to the Jews: (1) teaching; (2) proclaiming the Kingdom; and (3) healing.[6]

 

          Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of the kingdom

          and cured every disease among the people.

 

Mark 7:31-37

 

verse 31        Again Jesus left the district of Tyre

                               and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee,

                               into the district of the Decapolis.

 

According to the Atlas, Tyre is on the coast of modern Lebanon, Sidon about 25 miles north, also on the coast, the Sea of Galilee about 55 miles southeast, Decapolis a general area east of the Jordan River, south of the Sea of Galilee.  Map 13 is the best.

 

verse 32a      And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment

 

The grammarian points out that the literal Greek meaning of deaf is dull senses.

 

                                                   Deaf             Speech Impediment

The Vulgate (circa 410):               surdum         mutum

 

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):         deaf              dumb

 

King James (1611):                      deaf              had an impediment in his speech

 

Jerusalem (1966):                        deaf              had an impediment in his speech

 

New American (1970):                  deaf              had a speech impediment

 

New Jerusalem (1985):                deaf              had an impediment in his speech

 

34a               then he looked up to heaven and groaned

 

The grammarian suggests both sigh and groan.

 

The Vulgate (circa 410):               ingemuit

 

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):         sighed

 

King James (1611):                      sighed

 

Jerusalem (1966):                        sighed

 

New American (1970):                  groaned

 

New Jerusalem (1985):                sighed

 

verse 35                  his speech impediment was removed

 

The grammarian  suggests the ligament was loosened or the impediment (was removed).

 

The Vulgate (circa 410):               solutum est vinculum linguae ejus

 

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):         the bond of his tongue was loosed

 

King James (1611):                      the string of his tongue was loosed

 

Jerusalem (1966):                        the ligament of his tongue was loosened

 

New American (1970):                  his speech impediment was removed

 

New Jerusalem (1985):                the impediment of his tongue was loosened

 

verse 37        He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.

 

Speech impediment in verses 32 and 35 becomes mute in verse 37.  Saint Jerome uses mutum in verse 32, vinculum linguae in verse 35, and mutos in verse 37.

 

In Sunday Sermons for the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, the Church Fathers wax on about Baptism and hidden faults, especially of the tongue.  St. Jerome points out analogies.

 

St. Jerome (347-420): “Tyre is mystically interpreted as `narrowness,’ and symbolizes Judea; to whom the Lord said: For the bed is straitened (Is 27:20), and from whom He turns away to other peoples.  Sidon means `hunting.’  For an untamed beast is our generation; and the sea stands for our stormy inconstancy.  The Saviour comes to save the gentiles in the midst of the Decapolis; which is interpreted as signifying the commandments of the Decalogue.”

 

The fingers put in his ears are the words or the gifts of the Spirit; of Whom it is said: He is the finger of God (Exod 8:19).

 

St. Anthony, Abbot (251-356): “If you permit the whisperer to approach you, he will strip you of every merit you possess.”

 

St. Ambrose (339-397) makes the connection between Baptism and healing the man who was deaf and dumb.

 

St. Ephraim, Confessor and Doctor (+373) is particularly poignant about hidden faults: “Correct a man with justice, and do not speak evil of him in secret, nor rebuke him publicly…because of his manifold sins, we oftentimes see a man’s body afflicted and deformed by a variety of ills.…For listening to such a man, and not rebuking him, will he not appear to confirm as true the evil words of the speaker?  …”

 

But how did Esau put off his birthright, which cannot be put aside?  How did Jacob clothe himself with that which cannot be put on?  And if this bartering between these young men is so above the order of nature that it cannot be adequately explained, who will dare to begin upon that question wherein is the ineffable mystery of the generation of the Son of God?  But tell me: Why did Jacob, taking from Manasses the right of the firstborn, bestow it on Ephraim?  (Gen 48)  Was it not that great dignity and honor might be given to Ephraim?  For the right of the firstborn is full of wondrous portents, and of many and extraordinary offices.  Baptism is prefigured there.  And faith is signed and sealed within it.  In it our source of strength is indicated.  In it the glorious figure of virginity is brought before the mind.  This honor Jacob brought for a price; and gave it freely to Ephraim (Gen 25:48).  And in this Manassas is not to be blamed, nor Ephraim praised; we must acknowledge rather the authority of the Giver, Who remains blameless.

 

“… the enemy…What forces can he employ, that even a woman cannot defeat?  …”

 

Such an attitude toward women as expressed above helps to explain why fraters is usually translated brothers and sisters in the Lectionary.

 

St. Gregory, Pope and Doctor (540-604): “What is signified by the Fingers of the Redeemer, if not the gifts of the Holy Ghost?  And this is the reason why He said in another place, when He had cast out a devil: If I by the finger of God cast out devils, doubtless the kingdom of God is come upon you (Lk 11:20).  And it is recorded by another evangelist that He said: If I by the spirit of God cast out devils, then it is the kingdom of God come upon you (Matt . 21:28).  So from either place we gather that the Spirit is called the Finger of God.  Therefore, to put His Fingers in the man’s ears, is to open the soul of the deaf man to faith through the gifts of the Holy Ghost.”

 

In these readings Isaiah brings to mind the fact that the Savior is the Savior of our souls, the Psalm that we are fortunate to recognize our God as God in our souls, James how the Faithful are to get along with one another at the level of their souls, Matthew that Jesus came to teach, proclaim, and heal souls, and Mark to relate healing with Baptism and good speech and listening to the Word of the Lord.  When the Faithful bless themselves with holy water upon entering and leaving church, they renew their Baptismal commitment in their souls.

 

 

For sources, see the updated, February 2, 2014 Appendix file.



[1] 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 ) 3.

[2] 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) 221-223.

 

[3] Lloyd M. Barré, “Halelu yah: A Broken Inclusion,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 45, No. 2 (April 1983) 195-200.

 

[4] Stanley B. Marrow, “KosmoV in John,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 1 (January 2002), 98.

 

[5] Donald J. Verseput, “Genre and Story: The Community Setting of the Epistle of James,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 1 (January 2000), 96-110, nota bene 103.

 

[6] Joseph A. Comber, C.F.X., “The Composition and Literary Characteristics of Matt 11:20-24,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 39, No. 4 (October 1977) 502.