The Lectionary readings for this Sunday seem like the most anti-Semitic readings in the three-year cycle.  The problem is that Matthew is writing for a community within a community; for a Christian minority within a Jewish minority in the Roman Empire.  Just as these readings are about hidden people, by analogy, they are also about hidden, unconscious, areas of the soul.  The legitimate prayer through all of the readings is for peace, especially despite what might be happening in the unconscious part of the soul.

Isaiah is about people who recognize that they have unreasonable phobias, for example racism, but do nothing.  Psalm 80 is about God exposing those phobias for what they are.  God heals the Faithful who call upon him.  Philippians describes the positive sides of negative phobias.

For example, whatever is true is positive and healthy; whatever is false is negative and unhealthy, perhaps phobic.  The Gospel is about God, from a human perspective, having an unreasonable love for the Faithful, even when they are unfaithful.  The Matthew 21:43 is also about the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people what will produce its fruit.  Love is the fruit of the kingdom of God.  Matthew presents a God who can become angry with the Faithful for not accepting Divine grace.


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 scholarly details.

Isaiah 5:1-7

Isaiah 5:2

Margaret Barker, The Great High Priest: The Temple Roots of Christian Liturgy[1]

Barker explains, “The holy of holies was also described as a tower or high place. Isaiah’s watchtower which the LORD built in his vineyard (Isa. 5:2) was understood to refer to the holy of holies …”


Isa 5:1-2

Charles L. Quarles, "The Use of the Gospel of Thomas in the Research on the Historical Jesus of John Dominic Crossan"[2]

Quarles argues from the lack of allusion to Isa 5:1-2 in the Gospel of Thomas, that the Gospel of Thomas excised the allusion from the Synoptics.  Quarles argues that the Gospel of Thomas is dependent upon, rather than independent of the Synoptics, as Crossan argues.


Psalm 80:9, 12, 13-14, 15-16, 19-20 (Isaiah 5:7a)

Psalm 80:13

Michael H. Floyd, "Welcome Back, Daughter of Zion!"[3]

Floyd argues that since 1965 scholars have relegated Daughter of Zion to Daughter Zion.  It is just her name, without the traditional possessive meaning.  Floyd argues that the traditional possessive meaning is correct.  Floyd argues, “the vine planted by Yhwh has its walls (Ps 80:13) even though they literally enclose the boundary of the vineyard, not the vine per se.”  In his conclusion, Floyd writes “the role of `the daughter of Zion’ can be more plausibly explained as a personification of the city’s female inhabitants, characterized primarily in terms of the conventional role played by women in communal rejoicing and lamentation.”


Psalm 80:19

Margaret Barker, The Great High Priest: The Temple Roots of Christian Liturgy[4]

Barker includes Psalm 80:19 among the verses she uses to assert, “drawing the LORD into the temple was a major element of the temple service.”


Philippians 4:6-9

Phil 4:8

Bernard O. Ukwuegbu, "Paraenesis, Identity-defining Norms, or Both?  Galatians 5:13—6:10 in the Light of Social Identity Theory"[5]

Paraenesis means to cheer on in praise.  Ukwuegbu uses if there is anything worthy of praise to help form Christian identity.  The virtues listed are “all qualities that enhance corporate life.”


cf. John 15:16


Matthew 21:33-43

          This time, nothing seems especially noteworthy in the Greek.


The Alands write,


… our modern chapter divisions and numbers (which are a thirteenth-century heritage … verse divisions and the sentence structure of the text do not always coincide) … (verses were not introduced until the sixteenth century, and as a convenience they leave much to be desired).[6]


The Thirteenth and Sixteenth Century dates are particularly significant to me.


The Alands comment on the variety of editions of the Vulgate Latin translation of the Greek by Saint Jerome.  There is a Sixtine edition of 1590 and a Clementine edition of 1592.  The Sixto-Clementine Vulgate was the official Vatican text until 1979, when the Nova Vulgata came out.  We use the Nova Vulgata.


Matt 21:23—22:46

Wendell E. Langley, S.J., “The Parable of the Two Sons (Matthew 21:28-32) against its Semitic and Rabbinic Backdrop”[7]

This article gets into the various manuscript traditions thoroughly examined by the Alands.  My intention is to include what the Alands have written the next time through, because I did not read the pertinent Chapter V until after I had finished studying the parable last week.

The point Langley is making is that these debate-parables, what will the owner of the vineyard do, use an unfamiliar rhetorical genre.  The method is how people tried to reach the truth in the time of Jesus; the method was not evasive, though it may seem so to us.


Matt 21:23—24:2

Terence J. Keegan, O.P., “Introductory Formulae for Matthean Discourses”[8]

Keegan asserts that the place Jesus spoke to the chief priests and elders of the people was in the temple.


Matt 21:33-46

Robert H. Gundry, “Mark 10:29: Order in the List”[9]

Gundry uses the parable about the wicked servants in the vineyard to argue “in Galilee the persistence of `small family-run holdings’ despite a numerical increase in large estates farmed by tenants …”


Matt 21:33-43

Charles L. Quarles, "The Use of the Gospel of Thomas in the Research on the Historical Jesus of John Dominic Crossan"[10]

For Quarles, this parable of the wicked servants is basic to understanding that Thomas is dependent upon the Synoptics. Quarles writes,


Crossan … “In the Synoptics the owner seems pathetic, stupid, and obtuse.  Even after the murder of his servants, and with martial forces at his command, he sends his only son to his death and then finally decides to punish the tenants.”

          The assumption, however, that historical plausibility of the details of a parable confirms the authenticity of the parable or that the implausibility of the details precludes the authenticity of the parable remains unproven. Old Testament and rabbinic parables occasionally have unrealistic features.


My unconscious mind blocks the idea that God the Father did anything stupid in the parable.  Maybe it is just plain stupid to love humanity.  Love is blind, however.  I think atheists are made because they see evil and do not understand how God permits it.


Matt 21:33-43

Mark F. Whitters, "Jesus in the Footsteps of Jeremiah"[11]

Whitters makes two points.  First, like Jeremiah, Jesus “laments the fate of his people and suffers rejection.”  Second,


There are indications throughout the Gospel (12:41; 11:20-24; 21:41, 43 [here]) that a larger mission that the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” (15:24) is intended, but it is explicit only in the last episode that the mission now includes the people of the nations.


The reception of these Notes or the lack thereof, makes me feel like Jeremiah.  I suppose that there are many people like that and that that kind of activity is what keeps Holy Mother the Church afloat.


Matt 21:42

Marianne Blickenstaff, review of Stanislas Savarimuthu, A Community in Search of Its Identity: Mt. 21:28-22 in a Subaltern Perspective[12]

Savarimuthu argues that Matthew wrote his Gospel for a Christian minority within a Jewish minority in the Roman Empire.  Savarimuthu applies the Gospel of Matthew to how upper-class Christians treat the “untouchables” in Indian society. Savarimuthu argues that the “cornerstone” of Matthew 21:42, in the words of Blickenstaff, “refers not only to Jesus, but also to those who inherit the kingdom—those who practice higher righteousness; they are the once-rejected building block that becomes the cornerstone.” Such a liberationist interpretation is especially useful for the Black Apostolate.


[1] London: T & T Clark International: A Continuum imprint, 2003, 165, also see 270.


[2] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 3 (July 2007) 528, 531.


[3] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 3 (July 2008) 488, 504.


[4] London: T & T Clark International: A Continuum imprint, 2003, 60.


[5] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 3 (July 2008) 550.


[6] 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. (Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989) 231-232.


[7] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 58, No. 2 (April 1996) 242.


[8] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 44, No. 3 (July 1982) 422.


[9] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 59, No. 3 (July 1997) 471, 472, 473.


[10] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 3 (July 2007) 524.


[11] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 2 (April 2006) 232, 244.


[12] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 2 (April 2008) 392.