Prudence was the focus, the last time through these readings in 2004.  Prudence relies on facing the truth, especially unpleasant truth.  This time the focus is on truth, mentioned twice in 1 Timothy.  A difficult truth for the Church, in these readings, concerns Jesus as the only mediator between God and humans (1 Timothy 2:5).  There are three problems, two human and one divine, with which to deal.

Slavery and sexism are the two human problems.  That God permits problems, such as these, means that God is cruel, a most difficult truth for the Faithful to accept.  By the suffering and death of Jesus, God redeems himself.  Redemption, therefore, is a two-way street.  Jesus both redeems the Faithful in the eyes of God and redeems God in the eyes of the Faithful and, in that way, is the mediator between the two.  When an activity such as JustFaith engages issues such as Immigration, Climate Change, The UN Millennium Development Goals, Federal Budget Priorities, and Prison Reform the mediating power of Jesus between God and humanity is at work.

The divine problem concerns the truth about the relationship between Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus in the life of the church, particularly under her title as co-redemptrix.  The first time anyone gave Mary the title co-redemptrix seems to be Pope Pius XI in a 1935 radio address.  Later, in 1985, Pope John Paul II recognized Mary under the title of co-redemptrix in an address in Guayaquil, Ecuador.  In 1993, at a Marian conference at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, Father Mark Miravalle initiated a petition about Mary to the Papacy that reached more than six million signatures from 148 countries at the end of the year 2000.  The petition asked Pope John Paul II (1920-2005)[1] infallibly to declare Mary co-redeemer.  Were the dogma declared it would pronounce Mary “Co-redemptrix (co-redeemer), Mediatrix (mediator), of All Graces, and Advocate for the People of God.”[2]

The 2006 Catechism has no mention of Mary as co-anything.  The U.S. Bishops seem afraid of offending our Protestant Faithful friends.  As best I can tell, the Bishops are trying to keep the game of co-redemptrix and the like, but without the name of co-redemptrix and the like.


Annotated Bibliography

Material above the double lines draws from material below the double lines.  Those uninterested in scholarly details should stop reading here.  If they do, however, they may miss some of the fun stuff scholars are digging up.


First Reading: Amos 8:4-7


          E. Theodore Mullen, Jr., review of Karl Moller, A Prophet in Debate: The Rhetoric of Persuasion in the Book of Amos[3]

          Moller argues with difficulty that Amos debated with his audience.  Moller unconvincingly dates Amos from the Eighth-Century BC.


          Amos 8

          Brian Britt, “Prophetic Concealment in a Biblical Type Scene”[4]

While the article does refer to Amos 8, and, therefore, is in the index, I do not see how to relate the research to the Lectionary.


Amos 8:5 ephah

Since the Lectionary uses the word ephah, some background is in order.  The ephah is an ancient Hebrew unit of dry capacity, equal to 1/10 comer, about 23 liters (21 U.S. dry quarts).  It occurs frequently in the Bible, where it is translated as “ephah” and is defined in Ezekiel 45:11.  Ephah is found at Exodus 16:36, Leviticus 5:11, 6:20, 19:36, Ezekiel 45:10, 11, 24, 46:5, Numbers 5:15, Judah 6:19, Ruth 2:17, 1 Samuel 1:24, 17:17, Isaiah 5:10, Amos 8:5, and Zechariah 5:6-10.[5]  This is the only place the Sunday Lectionary uses ephah.  The Weekdays Lectionary uses ephah thrice, Ruth 2:17 reading 423 in Year I and 1 Samuel 1; 24 reading 198 in Year I and II.

Defining terms seems never-ending.  The difference between a U.S. dry and a U.S. wet quart is the difference between .95 Imperial [British] quart and 1.102 Imperial [British] quart.  In other words, unless one is a mathematician, the difference is minimal.[6]


Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 22:1-2, 4-6, 7-8

This Psalm praises the LORD who uplifts the poor.


Second Reading: 1 Timothy 2:1-8

In the Greek, verses five and six are indented (as they are in the Lectionary) indicating words used in an early Christian hymn.  The idea of one mediator is very strong in Christian dogma.


          The Greek and the Latin break the versification just before verse 8 because verses 8-15 belong together.  The title in the Vulgate is “Concerning Men and Women.”  This passage is one of the most, if not the most, sexist in Sacred Scripture.  The Lectionary cites the section, without indicating its total impact.  The key word in the Lectionary is the article, the, where verse 8 reads, “… the men should pray, lifting up holy hands …”  Verse 9 goes on to tell what women should be doing, in the spirit of keeping their heads covered, their mouths shut, and, from the First Testament, their feet in the house.  I mean sexism is one of the problems of Sacred Scripture that calls for attention with increased understanding of the Deposit of Faith.


          The Catechism indexes Deposit of Faith in three places.  The Catechism defines Deposit of Faith as “the heritage of faith contained in Sacred Scripture and Tradition, handed on in the Church from the time of the Apostles, from which the Magisterium draws all that it proposes for belief as divinely revealed.”[7]  The Catechism does not explicitly say either when or whether the Deposit of Faith closed.  My understanding is that the Deposit of Faith closed with the death of the first Christians.


          1 Tim 2:1

          Patrick Gray, “The Liar Paradox and the Letter to Titus[8]

1 Timothy 2:1 urges Christians to pray for those outside Christian fellowship, including kings and other leaders.


1 Timothy 2:4

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, United States Catholic Catechism for Adults[9]

The Bishops ask the question “Why must Revelation be transmitted?”  They answer their question with 1 Timothy 2:4 and the Vatican Catechism, that Christ must be “proclaimed,” without further explanation of what proclaimed means.  I observe that, the Gospel requires the institutional Church in order to be passed down, proclaimed, from one generation to the next.


1 Timothy 2:5

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, United States Catholic Catechism for Adults[10]

The Bishops have a passage titled “Mary’s Maternal Intercession,” defended against 1 Timothy 2:5.  Referring to 1 Timothy 2:5, the Bishops use a double negative, not deny, to write, “But this does not deny the possibility that Christ would permit others [namely Mary] to share in his mediating role.”  Would the choice belong to Christ as human or as divine?  I have no response and suggest that the Bishops are disorganized.


          1 Tim 2:5

          Kilian McDonnell, O.S.B., “Feminist Mariologies: Heteronomy/Subordination and the Scandal of Christology”[11]

          McDonnell observes that, in 1974, “Paul VI writes of Marian `exaggerations of content and form’” and that Co-redemptrix did not make it to the list of Mary’s devotional titles (Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix, Mediatrix in the 1964 Vatican II document Lumen gentium.[12]  Lumen gentium refers to 1 Timothy 2:5, about one mediator, seven times.  Lumen gentium does not attribute the titles of Mary to the Church, but as invoked in the Church.  Is this a distinction without a difference?  Some may think so.  I do not.  This issue of how to practice devotion to Mary, nevertheless, is key to modern feminism within the church.


          1 Tim 2:6

          David J. Downs, "`Early Catholicism’ and Apocalypticism in the Pastoral Epistles”[13]

In verse six, the mention of proper time has historical significance.  Timothy is dividing history into periods, at least into Before Christ (B.C.) and In the Year of Our Lord (A.D.), Anno Domini.


          1 Tim 2:7

          Joseph A. Fitzmyer, S.J., “The Structured Ministry of the Church in the Pastoral Epistles”[14]

          Fitzmyer insists that Paul “… (1 Tim 2:7) is no more set over against the rest of the community as a bearer of the Spirit than his delegate is …” the point being that there are not Christian offices standing over and against the rest of the community as the real bearer of the Spirit.


          1 Tim 2:8-12

          Jouette M. Bassler, review of Philip H. Towner, The Letters to Timothy and Titus[15]

          Bassler explains why he and the majority of scholars do not think Paul wrote the Pastoral Epistles.  Towner argues that Paul did write the Pastoral Epistles.  One problem for Towner is that 1 Timothy 2:8-12 does not portray women with the equality basic to the undisputed Pauline letters.  In this case, I tend to agree with the majority of scholars.


Alleluia: cf. 2 Corinthians 8:9

This verse, about role reversals in the next life, is also used next Sunday.


Gospel: Luke 16:1-13

          Luke 16:1-9

          Tony Chartrand-Burke, review of Thomas L. Brodie, The Birthing of the New Testament: The Intertextual Development of the New Testament Writings[16]

          Brodie argues unconvincingly that Luke drew from a Proto-Luke document.  That document would be the earliest of the New Testament Gospels, except that it is lost to history.  That is partially why Brodie is unconvincing.


          Luke 16:1-8

          Mary Ann Beavis, review of J. Albert Harrill, Slaves in the New Testament: Literary, Social, and Moral Dimensions[17]

          Despite Twentieth-Century attempts to argue otherwise, Harrill argues persuasively that the ancient Christian New Testament church upheld slavery.  As best as I can tell, that change only happened in the last half of the Twentieth Century.


          Luke 16:8b

          Charles L. Quarles, "The Use of the Gospel of Thomas in the Research on the Historical Jesus of John Dominic Crossan"[18]

          Quarles discounts the research of Crossan concerning the historical Jesus. Quarles accepts the parable of the tenants as originating from Jesus.


          Luke 16:10-13

          Craig L. Blomberg, "Interpreting the Parables of Jesus: Where Are We and Where Do We Go from Here?"[19]

          Blomberg argues that those who told parables often did offer explanations.  Just because an evangelist includes an explanation, does not mean that Jesus did not originate the explanation, when he told the parable.


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




After-action Report


There are three areas of clarification.


One: the activity of JustFaith is a vicarious suffering activity, joining with Saint Paul in the acceptance of suffering in imitation of Christ.


Two: the material on Mary is a review of devotional practice in the light of feminist theology.


Third: most importantly, the human vocation is dealing with problems, from the moment of birth to the moment of death.  While I do not look for problems, problems do seem to look for me and, when they do, I try to deal with them directly.  The nature of research scholarship, such as that found in the journals cited in the footnotes, is to examine problems.  I would rather accept the conflict than ignore the problem.

[2]  070812.


[3] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 4 (October 2004) 625.


[4] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 1 (January 2002) 41.


[7] United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, United States Catholic Catechism for Adults (Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2006) 509.


[8] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 2 (April 2007) 312.


[9] Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2006 29.


[10] Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2006 146-147.


[11] Theological Studies, Vol. 66, No. 3 (September 2005) 555.


[13] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 67, No. 4 (October 2005) 659.


[14] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 4 (October 2004) 595.


[15] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 3 (July 2007) 599.


[16] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 4 (October 2006) 756.


[17] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 1 (January 2007) 149.


[18] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 3 (July 2007) 531.


[19] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 53, No. 1 (January 1991) 57.