The Lectionary readings are about repentance. Saying the Rosary is a long-accepted act of repentance. Though Pope John Paul II never includes such an approach to the Rosary in Rosarium Virginia Mariae that is the link I use to merge thoughts on the Rosary with thoughts on the Lectionary readings.
Because Pope John Paul II used Philippians 2:7 in his
Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginia
Mariae, the readings for this Sunday do take on a Marian interest. That interest has a strange twist in that John
Paul II, three times, quotes a former Satanic priest, Blessed Bartolo Longo
turned Dominican layman. Not only does
Sisters with vows provide some of the most valuable prayers in the life of the Church. Relative to the Rosary, the Dominicans are important for two reasons, one local, and the other global. The local reason is the Nashville Dominican Sisters teaching, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel elementary school in Newport News, Virginia, my home parish. My intention is to share a copy of these Notes with those Sisters. At a less local level, Bartolo Longo founded a congregation of Dominican sisters to help educate the orphans in his city of Pompeii, Italy. The global reason is that the Dominicans are the official Church promoters of the Rosary.
Turning from those who pray to the Scripture on which
prayer is formed, Philippians, which the Pope uses, is about uniting the lives
of the Faithful with the life of
Several texts in Philippians make me want to consider what the various translations have.
Lectionary (1998): encouragement
The Vulgate (circa 410): consolatio in Christo
Douay-Rheims (1582-1610): consolation
New American (1970): encouragement in
New Jerusalem (1985): in Christ there is anything
The stem, or first six letters of Greek word for encouragement, is the same as the Greek word for Paraclete, that is, the Holy Spirit. That similarity is why I checked the translations.
Lectionary (1998): thinking one thing
The Vulgate (circa 410): id ipsum sapientes
Douay-Rheims (1582-1610): agreeing in sentiment
The difference between the King
New American (1970): thinking one thing
New Jerusalem (1985): one in mind
My reason for checking the translation is I do not often think of sapientes as sentiment. I would ordinarily think of sapientes as wisdom or wisdoms or the wise. In the end, I have no quarrel with the Lectionary translation. Philippians 2:2 also appears in the Greek at Rom 12:16; 2 Cor 13:11; Philippians 4:2 (cf. Philippians 2:5). Each instance yearns for a united Christian community, one suited to newcomers such as in Romans.
Lectionary (1998): he was in the form of God
The Vulgate (circa 410): in forma Dei esset
Douay-Rheims (1582-1610): being in the form of God
New American (1970): he was in the form of God
New Jerusalem (1985): being in the form of God
The Greek is a participle, meaning to be from all eternity. None of the translations catches the full meaning.
Rom 1:3-4; 8:3; 1 Cor 8:6; Gal 4:4; Philippians 2:6, and 1
Thess 1:9-10 all attest that
Lectionary (1998): he humbled himself
The Vulgate (circa 410): humiliavit semetipsum factus
Douay-Rheims (1582-1610): He humbled himself
The scholar, Alister McGrath, writes that the Douay-Rheims translation is “He exinanited himself.” McGrath must be referring to a different edition than the one I am using.
New American (1970): he humbled himself
New Jerusalem (1985): he was humbler yet
Philippians 2:8 removes any doubt that
Obedience causes feminist theologians problems. Kilian McConnell, O.S.B. writes,
In calling attention to the patriarchal Christology, in which the good news of the Gospel “has been twisted into the bad news of Male privilege,” [Elizabeth] Johnson [a moderate feminist] wonders “if anything can be saved from a tradition so hardened against women,” and contends that feminist Christologies are “arguably more coherent with the original impulse of the Christ event.”
Poetry is the basic problem translating Philippians 2:6-11. While the Lectionary does skip a line between Philippians 2:5 and 2:6, the Greek is much clearer only indenting the poetry. The thrust of the meaning of the poem is that, because of Christ, the Faithful are destined to rule those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, that is, the angels themselves.
Philippians 2:9 means that God greatly exalted
The Lectionary Gospel readings are about the
two sons given an order by their father, the first of whom says yes, but does
no; the second says no, but does yes.
In general, the Gospel of Matthew is not about intellectual
pursuits, longing to do the will of God. Matthew is not searching his way through
doubts as Bartolo Longo did.
Though not particularly intellectual, there is an esoteric side to the readings at Matthew 21:31-32. The religious leaders of his time were looking for a reincarnation of Elijah, a reincarnation that John the Baptist was. With this reincarnation, Jesus excoriated the religious leaders for not repenting, as did the second son. Earlier, Matthew shows that the religious leaders explicitly acknowledged they would not accept John the Baptist.
At a practical Matthean level, the tale of the two sons are of brothers contributing to the family income. Also see Mark 1:16-20, compare Matt -22, compare Luke 5:1-11; Matthew 21:28-29; Luke 15:25, 29. With God as Father, so Jesus as Son and the Faithful as his brethren, also contribute to the incoming glory of God.
The parable of the two sons bears resemblance to the Prodigal Son and the two debtors. The idea is to repent and carry out the will of God. The Rosary is always about carrying out the will of God, in one way or another. As noted above, saying the Rosary can, itself, be an act of repentance.
Psalm 25:8 sings out that the LORD shows sinners the way. Psalm 25 is available for liturgical prayer at
Funerals in three places. As a repentant sinner, Bartolo Longo followed
the way of Psalm 25:8. Ezekiel proclaims, since he has turned away from all the sins
that he has committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die. This too is
the story of
Psalm 25 is one of six (9-10, 25, 34, 111, 112, 119) using explicit alphabetic patterns. This means that the Psalm is well thought out. Getting the likes of Bartolo Longo back in the fold took the careful thought of the Dominican priest, Alberto Radente, O.P. The parallel careful thought of Pope John Paul II in Rosarium Virginia Mariae follows:
The Rosary beads
36. The traditional aid used for the recitation of the Rosary is the set of beads. At the most superficial level, the beads often become a simple counting mechanism to mark the succession of Hail Marys. Yet they can also take on a symbolism which can give added depth to contemplation.
Here the first thing to note is the
way the beads converge upon the crucifix,
which both opens and closes the unfolding sequence of prayer. The life and
prayer of believers is centred [sic] upon
As a counting mechanism, marking the progress of the prayer, the beads evoke the unending path of contemplation and of Christian perfection. Blessed Bartolo Longo saw them also as a “chain” which links us to God. A chain, yet, but a sweet chain; for sweet indeed is the bond to God who is also our Father. A “filial” chain which puts us in tune with Mary, the “Handmaid of the Lord” (Lk 1:38) and, most of all, with Christ himself, who, though he was in the form of God, made himself a “servant” out of love for us (Phil 2:7).
The Lectionary translates
A fine way to expand the symbolism
of the beads is to let them remind us of our many relationships, of the bond of
communion and fraternity which unites us all in
The opening and closing
37. At present, in different parts of the Church, there are many ways to introduce the Rosary. In some places, it is customary to begin with the opening words of Psalm 70: “O God, come to my aid; O Lord, make haste to help me,” as if to nourish in those who are praying a humble awareness of their own insufficiency. In other places, the Rosary begins with the recitation of the creed, as if to make the profession of faith the basis of the contemplative journey about to be undertaken. These and similar customs, to the extent that they prepare the mind for contemplation, are all equally legitimate. The Rosary is then ended with a prayer for the intentions of the Pope, as if to expand the vision of the one praying to embrace all the needs of the church. It is precisely in order to encourage this ecclesial dimension of the Rosary that the Church has seen fit to grant indulgences to those who recite it with the required dispositions.
At his Marian shrine,
If prayed in this way, the Rosary
truly becomes a spiritual itinerary in which
The Salve Regina
is the Hail Holy Queen generally
recited in the
Distribution over time
38. The Rosary can be recited in full every day, and there are those who most laudably do so. In this way it fills with prayer the days of many a contemplative, or keeps company with the sick and the elderly who have abundant time at their disposal. Yet it is clear—and this applies all the more if the new series of mysteria lucis is included—that many people will not be able to recite more than a part of the Rosary, according to a certain weekly pattern. This weekly distribution has the effect of giving the different days of the week a certain spiritual “color,” by analogy with the way in which the Liturgy colors the different seasons of the liturgical year.
According to current practice, Monday and Thursday are dedicated to the “joyful mysteries,” Tuesday and Thursday [sic] (it should be Friday) to the “sorrowful mysteries,” and Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday to the “glorious mysteries.” Where might the “mysteries of light” be inserted? If we consider that the “glorious mysteries” are said on both Saturday and Sunday, and that Saturday has always had a special Marian flavor, the second weekly meditation on the “joyful mysteries,” mysteries in which Mary’s presence is especially pronounced, could be moved to Saturday. Thursday would then be free for meditating on the “mysteries of light.”
This indication is not intended to limit a rightful freedom in personal and community prayer, where account needs to be taken of spiritual and pastoral needs and of the occurrence of particular liturgical celebrations which might call for suitable adaptations. What is really important is that the Rosary should always be seen and experienced as a path of contemplation. In the Rosary, in a way similar to what takes place in the Liturgy, the Christian week, centered on Sunday, the day of Resurrection, becomes a journey through the mysteries of the life of Christ, and he is revealed in the lives of his disciples as the Lord of time and of history.
“Blessed Rosary of
39. What has been said so far makes abundantly clear the richness of this traditional prayer, which has the simplicity of a popular devotion but also the theological depth of a prayer suited to those who feel the need for deeper contemplation.
The Church has always attributed particular efficacy to this prayer, entrusting to the Rosary, to its choral recitation and to its constant practice, the most difficult problems. At times when Christianity itself seemed under threat, its deliverance was attributed to the power of this prayer, and Our Lady of the Rosary was acclaimed as the one whose intercession brought salvation.
Today I willingly entrust to the power of this prayer—as I mentioned at the beginning—the cause of peace in the world and the cause of the family.
In October 1883, Bartolo Longo began a special devotion known as the “Supplication to the Queen of Victories.” This devotion is recited all over the world especially on the first Sunday of October, in this case, next Sunday. Another special day for the devotion is May 8, the day the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters was founded in 1926 and six months before Bartolo Longo died, October 5. These Notes leave the reader with these two dates on which to re-embrace devotion to the Rosary carried in the Apostolic Letter.
In conclusion, these Lectionary readings are
about the Rosary as a source of comfort for sinners. Ezekiel
is about turning away from wickedness. Psalm
25:6a unabashedly reminds God in the Responsorial Antiphon, Remember your mercies, O Lord.
Philippians 2:5-7 identifies slavery with
For more on sources see the Appendix file. Personal Notes are on the web site at www.western-civilization.com/CBQ/Personal%20Notes
 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) 320.
Nestle-Aland: Greek-English New
Testament: Greek text Novum Testamentum Graece, in the tradition of Eberhard
Nestle and Erwin Nestle edited by Barbara and Kurt Aland, Johannes
Karavidopoulos, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger. English text 2nd Edition of
the Revised Standard Version The Critical Apparatuses prepared and edited
together with the Institute for New Testament Textual Research,
Munster/Westphalia by Barbara and Kurt Aland (
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Alister McGrath, In the Beginning: The
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Alister McGrath, In the Beginning:
The Story of the King James Bible and How it Changed a Nation, a Language, and
a Culture (
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 Kilian McConnell, O.S.B., “Feminist Mariologies: Heteronomy/Subordination and the Scandal of Christology,” Theological Studies, Vol. 66, No. 3 (September 2005) 542.
 Mark Allan Powell, “Matthew’s Beatitudes: Reversals and Rewards of the Kingdom,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 58, No 3 (July 1996) 468.
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The HarperCollins Encyclopedia of
Catholicism, general editor, Richard P.
Appendix Two: Apostolic Letter
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