Patriotism versus forgiveness:  The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) are in a quandary about declaring that 9/11 is Patriot Sunday, when the readings are all about forgiveness.  After setting up their problem, the USCCB describes their quandary:  “a particular pastoral challenge for preachers, as they address questions of forgiveness, vengeance, and God’s mercy.”[1]  At best, the USCCB is advising prudence as the ultimate virtue controlling all of the other virtues.  At worst, the USCCB is attacking the Democrats with a Republican petard to keep on spending money, the country does not have, on war.

The USCCB first suggests not using the readings for this, the Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (with green vestments).  As substitutes, the USCCB suggests The Mass for Peace and Justice (with white vestments) or the Mass in Time of War or Civil Disturbance (with purple vestments), or a Mass for the Dead (black vestments are no longer used). 

The USCCB is making the politics of the situation unavoidable.  The readings are that the politics of the Kingdom of God are not the politics of nation states.  The Faithful in the United States Congress have a role to play.  Mark S. Massa, S.J. wrote a book describing how the Faithful are taking the Gospels into their own hands.  The title of his book is The American Catholic Revolution:  How the ‘60s Changed the Church forever.[2] 

The point of his book is that Church History demonstrates how the Church has always been in a mode of change, despite the coverup culture on the part of the hierarchy suggesting that Church History has always been without change.  The matter of war and peace extends to other problems, such as those associated with the sexual coverup by the hierarchy.  Democracy has a way of handling these problems unsuited to the monarchic, royal, elite culture of the Vatican.

Prudence is the way to reconcile forgiveness with self-defense and first-strike capabilities.  Patriotism that is not forgiving, cannot be Christian.  Somehow, the nation, if it is to be Christian, needs to forgive the operatives of Al Qaeda who caused 9/11.  Now, for an examination of forgiveness:

While it makes more human sense for God to establish criteria for humans to meet; Jesus does the opposite.  In the Lord’s Prayer, human forgiveness becomes the criteria for Divine forgiveness.  That is what forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, means.[3]  In other words, Jesus is judging God by humans.  Jesus can do that, because he is God.

Catholics incorporate the Lord’s Prayer into the rosary.  The idea is to contemplate various mysteries in the life of Jesus, while repeating the Hail Marys and Our Fathers of the rosary.  For centuries, Catholics have used fifteen mysteries of the Rosary.  In 2002,[4] in his Apostolic Letter, “Rosarium Virginis Mariae,”[5] Pope John Paul II added his five Mysteries of Light to the traditional fifteen Mysteries.  The Third Mystery, of the Mysteries of Light is Christ Proclaiming the Kingdom of God and forgiveness of sin.[6]  In the context of the Lord’s Prayer, this kingdom is not the sexist institution found in secular society.  The Kingdom of God turns things topsy-turvy, where the first shall be last, and the last first.

To be clear, the Faithful need one dose of pious pabulum here.  Because of entrapment and the need for prudence, Christian forgiveness is tricky.  In cases where a victim invites victimization, how can that victim appropriately forgive the victimizer?  Additionally, I have in particular view, physical victimization associated with the sexual coverup by the hierarchy.  I also have in mind intellectual victimization associated with the denial of empirically verified scientific findings, particularly in the narrower field of human sexuality and the broader field of human biology. 

My sense is that forgiveness must begin with accepting personal forgiveness for personal sin.  Such forgiveness may be particularly true for those who have not outgrown adolescence.  A need for self-forgiveness is also true for those in old age, unable to undo sins of their youth.  Despite the difficulty, forgiveness is the key to Christian love and peace of mind.

As Sirach puts it, wrath and anger are hateful things.  One should hate neither oneself nor others.  The Psalmist observes, The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger, and rich in compassion.  Patience and prudence are worthy virtues, especially when confronting a hierarchy, both inside and outside of religion.  Patience without prudence invites further victimization.  Prudence without patience invites abandonment, devoid of love.

The Epistle to the Romans urges the Faithful, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.  This means that both patience and prudence have roles to play in how the Faithful are to act.  What is more important than how the Faithful act, is who they are.  That is what Romans is sharing with the Faithful.  The Faithful are to forgive, even in cases of mistaken prudence and patience.

In the Gospel, Jesus begins by telling Peter always to forgive.  That means patience and endurance.  Matthew, however, continues with the unsaid virtue of prudence.  The master reversed himself when prudence dictated that was how to deal with his ungrateful servant.  In other words, expect God to exercise prudence toward the Faithful.  The Faithful are not to abuse God by always presupposing forgiveness and mercy.

 

Readings

First Reading:                    Sirach 27:30—28:7

Responsorial Psalm:          Psalm 103:1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12 (8)

Second Reading:               Romans 14:7-9

Alleluia:                             John 13:34

Gospel:                             Matthew 18:21-35

 

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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 details.

 

Sirach 27:30—28:7

Sir 27:3

A. Andrew Das, “Paul and Words of Obedience in Second Temple Judaism:  Romans 4:4-5 as a `New Perspective’ Case Study”[7]

Das argues that the sinner hugs them [wrath and anger] tight applies to both Jew and gentile.  In other words, the salvation of Christ does not necessarily relieve the Faithful from hugging to wrath and anger as hateful things.

 

Psalm 103:1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12 (8)4

Both Funerals[8] and Pastoral Care of the Sick[9] use this Psalm.

 

Psalm 103

Gerhard Langer, review of Christoph Dohmen, Exodus 19—40[10]

Langer reports that Dohmen argues from Exodus 32—34 that Psalm 103 explains what the mercy of God means.

 

Psalm 103

Jeremy Corley, “A Numerical Structure in Sirach 44:1—50:24”[11]

Corley points out that Psalm 103 has twenty-two lines, but is not an acrostic Psalm, with each line beginning with a subsequent letter of the Hebrew alphabet.  The gist of the argument Corley presents is that Psalm 103 offers a pattern indicative of the presence of God.  Corley may be presenting Psalm 103 as outside of the historical mathematical messages in Sirach 44:1—50:24.

 

Psalm 103:6-18

John T. Willis, review of Samantha Joo, Provocation and Punishment: The Anger of God in the Book of Jeremiah and Deuteronomistic Theology[12]

Wills reports that Joo makes a complex argument that the anger and mercy of God go together in such places as Psalm 103:6-18.

 

Romans 14:7-9

The Church makes this passage available for Funerals.[13]

 

Rom 14:1—15:12

Brendan Byrne, S.J., “The Problem of Nomos and the Relationship with Judaism in Romans”[14]

One of my friends has a bust of Moses with the Ten Commandments, not holding them high, as with Michelangelo, but clutching them to his heart.  That is how Paul saw the law.  Byrne argues about how Paul reconciled the Judaic law with Christian fulfillment of that law.  Paul, on the one hand, could not conceive of the Faithful without the Judaic law.  Yet, Paul, on the other hand, did conceive of the Faithful without the Judaic law.  Paul left a record of how he was trying to figure things out.

 

Rom 14:1-21

Casimir Bernas, O.C.S.O., review of Romano Penna, Volume 2, Rm 6—11; Volume 3, Rm 12—16[15]

Bernas argues that Romans 14:7-9 is part of a larger concern for Christians weak in Faith.  My approach to the spiritual life, especially in these Personal Notes, is not for the faint of heart.  The sexual coverup by the hierarchy already offers more than sufficient scandal for the weak of heart.  Confronting that scandal in these Notes is meant to help the faint of heart come to terms with reality.

 

Rom 14:1-23

Vincent M. Smiles, “The Concept of `Zeal’ in Second-Temple Judaism and Paul's Critique of It in Romans 10:2”[16]

Smiles argues that Saint Paul left it up to individual Christians whether to follow the Jewish law.  Paul neither promoted not dissuaded Christians from following Jewish law.  In that spirit, the Lectionary has no mention of the law for this Sunday.

 


 

Rom 14:9

Michael L. Cook, .S.J., “The African Experience of Jesus”[17]

African religions honor ancestors.  Jesus does likewise, that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 

 

John 13:34

 

Matthew 18:21-35

Matt 18:28

Deborah Furlan Taylor, “The Monetary Crisis in Revelation 13:17 and the Provenance of the book of Revelation”[18]

Notice below, under Divergences, that neither the Lectionary nor the NABRE use the word denarius.  The Roman denarius was not the coin of the realm at the time of Jesus; but it was the coin of the realm other people would understand when the evangelists wrote their gospels.  This term, denaris, may be a bell weather in the balance between functional and formal equivalence translations.

 

Matthew 18:28

Lectionary (1998)                         … a much smaller amount …

The Vulgate (circa 410)                … centum denarios …

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610)         … an hundred pence …

King James (1611)                       … an hundred pence …

Catholic RSV (1969)                    … a hundred denarii …

New American (NAB) (1970)        … a much smaller amount …

New Jerusalem (1985)                 … one hundred denarii …

 

I will be interested to see how the new Lectionary translates, whether with functional equivalence, a much smaller amount, or, formal equivalence, one hundred denarii.

 

Matt 18:24, 28

Carolyn Osiek, R.S.C.J., “`When You Pray, Go into Your tameion’ (Mathew 6:6: But Why?”[19]

Osiek points out that denarius is but one of many other terms found in Matthew referring to coinage.  Osiek is wondering about just what going into your room means.  She compares the Greek for room with the Greek for various forms of coinage.

 

 

Matt 18:15-22

Walter T. Wilson, “Seen in Secret:  Inconspicuous Piety and Alternative Subjectivity in Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18”[20]

Wilson argues that forgiveness is a recurring theme in Matthew.  Perhaps that is why Matthew is my favorite Gospel.

 

For my background and more on sources see the Appendix file.  Personal Notes are on the web site at www.western-civilization.com/CBQ/Personal%20Notes.

 

 

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 a new tension with the Lectionary used at Sunday Mass.  Scholars are citing the new translation (New American Bible Newly Revised) as NABRE.  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.[21]  One purpose showing the divergences in translation is to show the Church contradicting itself, meaning something is wrong with one or other or both of the translations.

 

Sirach 27:30—28:7

Since the Vatican wants translations to follow the Vulgate as much as possible, the following versifications cause trouble.  Sirach in the Vulgate is Ecclesiasticus.  Verse 30 in the Lectionary and the NABRE correspond with verse 33 in the Vulgate.  Both verses 30 and 33 are the last verse in Chapter 27.  Verse 5 in the Lectionary and the NABRE correspond with only part of verse 5 in the Vulgate.  In other words, both the Lectionary and NABRE omit part of verse 5.  Verses 6 and 7 in the Lectionary and the NABRE correspond to a jumble of verses 6-9 in the Vulgate.

Verse 30

Lectionary:    … hateful things, yet the sinner hugs them tight.

NABRE:        … these also are abominations, yet a sinner holds on to them.


 

Verse 1

Lectionary:    … yet …

NABRE:        … indeed …

Verse 2

Lectionary:    … neighbor’s injustice …

NABRE:        … neighbor the wrong done to you …   

Verse 3

Lectionary:    Could …

NABRE:        Does …

Verse 4

Lectionary:    Could … another like himself, can he seek pardon for his own sins?

NABRE:        Can … sinner like oneself, yet seek pardon for one’s own sins?

The NABRE seems to avoid sexism in the Lectionary.

Verse 5

Lectionary:    If one who is but flesh cherishes wrath,

NABRE:        If a mere mortal cherishes wrath,

Verse 6

Lectionary:    … days, set enmity …

NABRE:        … days and set enmity …

Verse 7

Lectionary:    Think of the commandments, hate not your neighbor; remember the Most High’s covenant, and overlook faults.

NABRE:        Remember the commandments and do not be angry with your neighbor; remember the covenant of the Most High, and overlook faults.

 

Psalm 103:1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12 (8)

The differences are so vast that I am simply presenting both Lectionary and NABRE.

Verse 1

Lectionary:    Bless the LORD, O my soul;

                               and all my being, bless his holy name.

NABRE:        Bless the LORD, my soul;

                               all my being, bless his holy name!

Verse 2

Lectionary:    Bless the LORD, O my soul,

                               and forget not all his benefits.

NABRE:        Bless the LORD, my soul;

                               and do not forget all his gifts,

Benefits is more aggrandizing than gifts.

Verse 3

Lectionary:    He pardons all your iniquities,

                               heals all your ills.

NABRE:        Who pardons all your sins,

                               and heals all your ills,

The Lectionary is less explicit than the NABRE connecting sins and health as a type of reminder of the consequences of the Original Sin of Adam and Eve.

Verse 4

Lectionary:    redeems [sic] your life from destruction,

                               he crowns you with kindness and compassion.

NABRE:        Who [sic] redeems your life from the pit,

                               and crowns you with mercy and compassion.

Verse 8

Lectionary:    The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger, and rich in compassion.

NABRE:        Merciful and gracious is the LORD,

                               slow to anger, abounding in mercy.

In verses 4 and 8, the NABRE stresses mercy over kindness and compassion.

Verse 9

Lectionary:    He will not always chide,

                               nor does he keep his wrath forever.  [sic]

NABRE:        He will not always accuse,

                               and nurses no lasting anger; [sic]

Verse 10

Lectionary:    Not according to our sins does he deal with us,

                               nor does he requite us according to our crimes.

NABRE:        He has not dealt with us as our sins merit,

                               nor requited us as our wrongs deserve.

Verse 11

Lectionary:    For as the heavens are high above the earth,

                               so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.

NABRE:        For as the heavens tower over the earth,

                               so his mercy towers over those who fear him.

Verse 12

Lectionary:    As far as the east is from the west,

                               so far has he put our transgressions from us.

NABRE:        As far as the east is from the west,

                               so far has he removed our sins from us.

 

Romans 14:7-9

Lectionary:    Both translations are the same.

NABRE:        Both translations are the same.

 

Matthew 18:21-35

Verse 21

Lectionary:    Peter approached Jesus and asked …

NABRE:        Then Peter approaching asked …


 

Verse 30

Lectionary:    … he had the fellow servant put in prison …

NABRE:        … he had him put in prison …

 

 

 

 

Themes

For recurring themes in Sacred Scripture, see the following, taken from the Greek.[22]  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.  Commas separate verses within the same book and semi-colons separate books.  The abbreviation for following is f.  Nestle-Aland uses a dagger, which I am unable to reproduce here, to indicate difficult passages, which I note as difficult.  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 14:7-9:

 

Verse 7         2 Corinthians 5:15; Galatians 2:20.

Verse 8         1 Thessalonians 4:14, 5:10; Luke 20:38; 1 Corinthians 3:23!

Verse 9         John 12:24.

 

 

Sacred Scripture develops themes for the following readings in Matthew 18:21-35:

 

Verse 21       Matthew 6:12.

Verse 22       Luke 17:4; Genesis 4:24.

Verse 23       Matthew 22:2, 25:19.

Verse 24       The Greek manuscripts are difficult at the words was brought before him.

Verse 27       Matthew 24:50; Luke 7:42.

Verse 28       Matthew 24:49.  Daniel Wallace observes that You wicked servant on the lips of Jesus carried great emotion.[23]

Verse 32       Romans 13:7; Matthew 7:2 parallel. 

Verse 33       Matthew 5:7; 1 John 4:11.

Verse 34       Matthew 22:7, 8 [sic]:29.

Verse 35       Matthew 5:26, 6:14 f.; Mark 11:26.

 

 

Manuscripts

 

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.[24]

 

Matthew 18:32-34

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.[25]

The Staatliche Museen in Berlin has a Fourth Century papyrus with Matthew 18:32-34.

 

For my background and more on sources see the Appendix file.  Personal Notes are on the web site at www.western-civilization.com/CBQ/Personal%20Notes.   Beginning with Reading 118A, the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, August 14, 2011, unless otherwise noted, my Bible of preference will be the NABRE.[26]  From now on, this notice about the NABRE is relegated to the Appendix.



[1] The US Conference of Catholic Bishops published “Liturgical Considerations for Sunday, September 11, 2011” in the Newsletter of the Committee on Divine Worship (May 2011)  http://adoremus.org/0811PatriotDay.html  (accessed August 9, 2011).

 

[2] Anna S. Brown, review of Mark S. Massa, S.J., The American Catholic revolution:  how the ‘60s changed the Church forever,  The Sixties:  A Journal of History, Politics, and Culture, Vol. 4, Issue 1 (June 2011)  84-86.

 

[3] Giovanni Battista Bazzana, “Basileia and Debt Relief:  The Forgiveness of Debts in the Lord’s Prayer in the Light of Documentary Papyri,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 73, No. 3 (April 2009) 523-524.

 

[6] http://tomsdomain.com/rosary/light_3.htm  (accessed July 19, 2011).  This source has Christ Proclaiming the Kingdom of God and forgiveness of sin .  USA Today, Thursday, October 17, 2002, page 11 D, column 1—6 has Christ’s proclaiming the coming of the kingdom of God.

 

[7] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 73, No. 3 (July 2010) 523-524.

 

[8] N.a., International Commission on English in the Liturgy: A Joint Commission of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences, The Roman Ritual: Revised by Decree of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and published by Authority of Pope Paul IV: Order of Christian Funerals: Including Appendix 2: Cremation: Approved for use in the Dioceses of the United States of America by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and Confirmed by the Apostolic See (New Jersey: Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1998) 40.

 

[9] The Roman Ritual: Revised by Decree of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and Published by Authority of Pope Paul VI: Pastoral Care of the Sick: Rites of Anointing and Viaticum: Approved for use in the dioceses of the United States of America by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and Confirmed by the Apostolic See: Prepared by International Commission on English in the Liturgy: a Joint Commission of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences (New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co. 1983) 296.  

 

[10] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 3 (July 2006) 509.

 

[11] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 1 (January 2007) 51.

 

[12] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 3 (July 2007) 552.

 

[13] N.a., International Commission on English in the Liturgy: A Joint Commission of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences, The Roman Ritual: Revised by Decree of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and published by Authority of Pope Paul IV: Order of Christian Funerals: Including Appendix 2: Cremation: Approved for use in the Dioceses of the United States of America by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and Confirmed by the Apostolic See (New Jersey: Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1998) 216, 251.

 

[14] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 2 (April 2000) 295.

 

[15] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 72, No. 4 (October 2010) 836.

 

[16] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 2 (April 2002) 299.

 

[17] Theological Studies, Vol. 70, No. 3 (September 2009) 685.

 

[18] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 3 (July 2009) 582.

 

[19] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 4 (October 2009) 728.

 

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

 

[21] 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).

 

[22] 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.

 

[23] 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) 68, fn. 9.

 

[24] 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.

 

[25] Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989, 97.

 

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