First Reading:                   Numbers 11:25-29

Responsorial Psalm:          Psalm 19:8, 10, 12-13, 14 (9a)

Second Reading:              James 5:1-6

Alleluia:                             cf. John 17:17b, 17a

Gospel:                             Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48



The religious life is about the ability to maintain human dignity during difficult situations.  This means focusing on God rather than on God’s creation, such as material goods and services.  This focus also extends to the intellectual life, seeking God through a fog of confusion.

When knowledgeable people are not sure exactly what verses belong in Sacred Scripture, the tradition of the Church becomes a helpful aid.  But the Church itself is not always clear.  In trying to improve the original text, scribes only caused confusion for later generations.  In Mark, scribes made more of Gehenna than was in the original manuscript.  The warning, from all of the readings, is to be Christian toward those in need, even during times of trouble.


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 material.


Numbers 11:25-29

The Sinaiticus only has Chapters 5-7, 16-20, and 23-26.


Psalm 19:8, 110, 12-13, 14 (9a)

Codex Sinaiticus[1]

The continuing point of the exercise reaching into the original manuscripts is to accept some doubt. From doubt results the search for truth as part of Christian life.  The Church chose Sacred Scripture from many competing original manuscripts.  Development of the words of Sacred Scripture is an historical reality.  These Notes try to include this reality as an act of humility against the self-righteous pride required to lead a Christian life.  Discomfort has been the reason for not adding this paragraph to the Appendix.  Let us wait for three weeks without change before relegating this paragraph to the Appendix.   


James 5:1-6[2]

There are two difficult words in the original Greek manuscripts in verse 4.  One of those words is withhold as in withhold wages.  The question is whether the word should be withhold or deprive in the sense of defraud.  In the first case, the wages may yet be received; in the second case the wages are lost.

The other difficult word is have reached in have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.  In the eclectic Greek, Lord of hosts is italicized.  The literal translation would be have gone into the ears.  As best I can tell now, the difficulty is with the tense, whether active or passive, whether the emphasis is on what the wage earner is doing or on what the ears of the Lord are doing.  The Sinaiticus uses a derivative I am unable to identify at all.


Jas 5:1-5

Teresa Okure, S.H.C.J., “Jesus and the Samaritan Woman (Jn 4:1-42) in Africa[3]

The Samaritan woman suits the description in James 5:1-5.  The epistle is about concern for the poor.  Okure explains what the poor can do for the rich.  “They call the rich to the realization that it is unbecoming of them as human beings and children of God to serve, pursue, and be pursued by money/Mammon (Jas 2:1-13; 5:1-5 [used here]).”


James 5:6

Mark E. Taylor and George H. Guthrie, "The Structure of James"[4]

Scholars use a technical term, inclusion  as an indicator of where divisions take place.  In this case, Taylor and Guthrie argue he offers you no resistance uses vocabulary also found at 4:6, to say that God opposes (that is offers resistance) to the proud.  The Lectionary only uses James 4:6 during the week in reading 342, Year II.  Taylor and Guthrie define inclusio as “a device by which an author uses the same or similar words or phrases at the beginning and end or near the end) of sections to mark those sections as constituting a distinct movement in the discourse.”  This idea for inclusio was first set forth by Luis Alonso Schokel in 1973.


cf. John 17:17b, 17a


Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48[5]

The Greek has a problem with the missing verses, viz., 44, and 46.  The better manuscripts lack those verses.  The Sinaiticus skips those verses and the numbers (44 and 46) that would go with them.  The Lectionary leaves the misimpression that verses 44 and 46 belong in Sacred Scripture, although the consensus among scholars is that those verses do not belong.  The Alands have more, below.

The Greek in verse 43 for causes you to sin is difficult.  The question is whether the verb should be in the present or aorist tense.  There is no equivalent aorist tense in English.  The aorist is frequently translated using the English past tense.  The Sinaiticus uses the present tense.


Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48

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.[6]

After analyzing all of the 7949 verses in the New Testament and noting 4999 variant-free verses, for a 62.9 percentage, the Alands conclude that there is “a far greater agreement among the Greek texts of the New Testament during the past century than textual scholars would have suspected.  Mark is 642 variant free over a total of 1071 verses for a 59.9 percentage agreement.  The Alands use Mark 9:42-50 as an example of how to use other related texts about manuscripts.  As best I can tell from all of what is written, verse 48, where `their [sic] worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched’ is repeated as verses 44 and 46.  Scholars think, therefore, that verses 44 and 46 are best omitted.


Mark 9:38-41

Richard I. Pervo, review of Paul N. Anderson, The Fourth Gospel and the Quest for Jesus: Modern Foundations Reconsidered[7]

Anderson uses naïve and simplistic history to harm whatever good points he may make.


Mark 9:38-39

Michel Gourgues, O.P., review of Jacques Schlosser, Á la recherche de la Parole: Études d’exégèse et de théologie biblique[8]

Schlosser is a renowned French scholar.  Gourgues only writes that Schlosser examines Mark 9:38-39, but Gourgues does not indicate what Schlosser finds.



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


[3] Theological Studies, Vol. 70, No. 2 (June 2009) 418.


[4] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 4 (October 2006) 683, 658, 687, 692-700.


[6] Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989, 29, 266, 302.


[7] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 3 (April 2008) 590.


[8] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 4 (April 2007) 833.