The words for these readings are kingdom of God and children.  These readings offer a sense of Paradise,[1] a sense of honor through suffering, a sense of the good last things.  A scholar writes that the Christian kingdom of God enters history within the political context of Roman imperialism.  Depoliticizing Jesus results in a United States of America, a new Rome inhabited by a “biblical people.”  Studying the kingdom of God within historical context is vital for the intersection of theology and ethics.[2]

 

Genesis 2:18-24

 

This description of the institution of marriage[3] distinguishes itself from other non-Jewish contemporary descriptions by considering marriage primarily companionate rather than primarily procreationate.  Through Mark the Lectionary brings in children, Genesis only brings in children after the institution of marriage.  The kingdom of God, then is sexy and down to earth as well as abstract and heavenly.

 

verse 24        That is why a man leaves his father and mother

                     and clings to his wife,

                     and the two of them become one flesh.

 

Psalm 128:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6, (cf. 5)

 

The Lectionary uses this Psalm as follows:

 

Readings      Page in         Verses used

                    Lectionary

  17ABC          88               1-2, 3, 4-5, (cf. 1)    already seen

140B            877               1-2, 3, 4-5, 6, (cf. 5) Today

157A             959               1-2, 3, 4-5, (cf. 1a)   already seen

 

verse 1          Blessed are you who fear the LORD,

                     who walk in his ways!

 

This verse is translated differently in readings 17ABC, The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, page 88 in the Lectionary.

 

                     Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD,

                               who walks in his ways!

 

Readings 157A, Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time.  follow the translation for this Sunday, the Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B.

 

The prescriptive nature of the Ordinary readings may be more generic than the specific references to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in the Holy Family.

 

verse 6          May you see your children’s children.

                              Peace be upon Israel!

 

Hebrews 2:9-11

 

A scholar writes that verses 5-9 put forth the proposition:[4]

 

that God wills that people be crowned with glory and honor.  Since this hope seems to be contradicted by experiences of conflict and loss (10:32-24; 13:13-14), affirming the integrity of the divine message in the exordium [1:—2:4] places listeners in a position to expect that God’s integrity will be demonstrated through the speech.

 

verse 9          He “for a little while” was made “lower than the angles,”

                    that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

 

Jesus finds his glory accepting death.

 

The Lectionary verse 9 is incomplete, omitting a middle section of that verse, namely, “crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death.”[5]  The following comparisons are about the word little, not about the missing section of the verse.

 

The Vulgate (circa 410):               paulo minus ab angelis minoratus est

 

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):         phrase omitted

 

King James (1611):                      phrase omitted

 

Jerusalem (1966):                        for a short while

 

New American (1970):                  “for a little while”

 

New Jerusalem (1985):                for a short while

 

verse 10        For it was fitting that he,

                     for whom and through whom all things exist,

                     in bringing many children to glory

                     should make the leader to their salvation perfect through

                               suffering.

 

A scholar translates verse 10, “in bringing many sons and daughters to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation complete through suffering (2:10).”[6]

 

The Vulgate (circa 410):               ducem

 

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):         author

 

King James (1611):                      captain

 

Jerusalem (1966):                        leader

 

New American (1970):                  leader

 

New Jerusalem (1985):                leader

 

verse 11        He who consecrates and those who are being consecrated

                               all have one origin.

                     Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them “brothers.”

 

The Vulgate (circa 410):               sanctificat     sanctificantur

 

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):         sanctifies      sanctified

 

King James (1611):                      sanctifieth     sanctified

 

Jerusalem (1966):                        sanctifies      sanctified

 

New American (1970):                  consecrates  consecrated

 

New Jerusalem (1985):                consecrator   consecrated

 

1 John 4:12

 

no comment

 

Mark 10:2-16

 

Verses 2-9 exemplify chreiai in Mark.  A scholar writes, “The chreia, one of the ten fundamental genres taught budding writers and orators in the second level of [antiquity] education, is defined as `a concise reminiscence aptly attributed to some character.’”[7]  That scholar observes, “Those who ask Jesus questions [in Mark] all turn out to be his adversaries seek to entrap him, and the like.”[8]

 

Verses 13-16 are also used in the Order of Christian Funerals at 7 Vigil for a Deceased Child on pages 143-144 and at 14 Funerals for Baptized Children on pages 257-258.

 

verse 4          They replied,

                     Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce

                     and dismiss her.”

 

This prescription is from Deuteronomy where a woman is refused to remarry her first husband after she has married a second time.  The bill of divorce is not in Deuteronomy as a command, but rather as incidental to the first divorce.[9]

 

verse 7          For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother

                     and be joined to his wife,

                     and the two shall become one flesh.

 

The grammarian brings the sense of glued to be joined.

 

The Vulgate (circa 410):               adhaerebit

 

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):         cleave

 

King James (1611):                      cleave

 

Jerusalem (1966):                        phrase omitted

 

New American (1970):                  (be joined)

 

New Jerusalem (1985):                a footnote treats this phrase as an addition.

 

verse 9          Therefore what God has joined together,

                               no human must separate”

 

The Vulgate (circa 410):               Quod ergo Deus coniunxit, homo non separet

 

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):         What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.

 

King James (1611):                      What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

 

Jerusalem (1966):                        what God has united, man must not divide

 

New American (1970):                  what God has joined together, no human being must separate

 

New Jerusalem (1985):                what God has united, human beings must not divide.

 

verse 10        In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.

 

The Vulgate (circa 410):               et domo iterum discipuli de hoc interrogabant eum.

 

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):         And in the house, his disciples again asked him

 

King James (1611):                      And in the house his disciples asked him again

 

Jerusalem (1966):                        Back in the house the disciples questioned

 

New American (1970):                  In the house the disciples again questioned him

 

New Jerusalem (1985):                Back in the house the disciples questioned him again

 

verse 11        He said to them,

                               “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another

                               commits adultery against her;

 

The Vulgate (circa 410):               committit

 

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):         commits

 

King James (1611):                      committeth

 

Jerusalem (1966):                        is guilty of adultery

 

New American (1970):                  commits

 

New Jerusalem (1985):                is guilty of adultery

 

verse 12                  and if she divorces her husband and marries another,

                                          she commits adultery.”

 

The Vulgate (circa 410):     et si ipsa dimiserit virum suum et alii nupserit, moechatur.

 

The dictionary defines moechatur as to commit adultery.[10]

 

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):         commits

 

King James (1611):                      committeth

 

Jerusalem (1966):                        she is guilty of adultery too

 

New American (1970):                  commits

 

New Jerusalem (1985):                she is guilty of adultery too

 

By the time a scholar gets finished examining these verses, he no longer seems convinced about an absolute prohibition against divorce for reasons other than the Pauline privilege, a privilege too complicated for these notes.  The scholar seems to think that deprivation of love and emotional support may also be sufficient reason for divorce.[11]  Another scholar simply observes that Jesus “interpreted Scripture to … prohibit divorce (Mark 10:2-9 using Gen 1:27, 2:24).…”[12]

 

verse 13        And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them,

                     but the disciples rebuked them.

 

verse 14        When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them,

                     “Let the children come to me;

                     do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to

                               such as these.

 

A scholar asks, “Why does he [Mark] have Jesus so constantly `dishonored’ by disciples at odds with him?  (Mark 8:32; 9:18, 34, 10:13-14, 37)?”  Another scholar cites 10:14 as one of two “negative descriptions of the disciples (Mark 4:13; 10:14).”  Matthew 19:13-15 describes the scene as less derogatory toward the disciples.  My observation is that such dishonor is part of the suffering that begets Jesus his glory.

 

Then people brought little children to him, for him to lay his hands on them and pray.  The disciples scolded them, but Jesus said, `Let the little children alone, and do not stop them from coming to me; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of Heaven belongs.’ then he laid his hands on them and went on his way.

 

Luke 18:18-23 also passes by the indignation of Jesus.

 

verse 15        Amen, I say to you,

                     whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child

                     will not enter it.”

 

The grammarian points out that will not carries the connotation of emphasis.

 

Jesus is relating to child-like trust and faith, not lack of physical, emotional, and intellectual development.

 

God presents the kingdom of God as a warm, human place, beginning in Genesis, continuing through Psalm 128 with the wish to see “your children’s children.”  Hebrews explains some of the anomalies, locating perfect salvation through suffering.  Finally, Mark describes the kingdom of God as some place children would receive with glee.  There is everything to look forward to in the great promises of God.

 

 

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



[1] Dale Launderville, O.S.B., “Ezekiel’s Cherub: A Promising Symbol or a Dangerous Idol?” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 65, No. 2 (April 2003) 175179-180.

 

[2] Sharon H. Ringe, review of Richard A. Horsley, Jesus and Empire, the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 65, No. 3 (July 2003) 468-469.

 

[3] Bernard F. Batto, “The Institution of Marriage in Genesis 2 and in Atrahasis,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 4 (October 2000) 628-631.

[4] Craig R. Koester, “Hebrews, Rhetoric, and the Future of Humanity,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 1 (January 2002) 109.

 

[5] Craig R. Koester, “Hebrews, Rhetoric, and the Future of Humanity,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 1 (January 2002) 110.

[6] Craig R. Koester, “Hebrews, Rhetoric, and the Future of Humanity,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 1 (January 2002) 110.

[7] Jerome H. Neyrey, S.J., “Questions, Chreiai, and Challenges to Honor: The Interface of Rhetoric and Culture in Mark’s Gospel,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 60, No. 4 (October 1998) 671.

 

[8] Jerome H. Neyrey, S.J., “Questions, Chreiai, and Challenges to Honor: The Interface of Rhetoric and Culture in Mark’s Gospel,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 60, No. 4 (October 1998) 672.

 

[9] John P. Meier, “The Historical Jesus and the Historical Law: Some Problems within the Problem,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 65, No. 1 (January 2003) 65.

[10] See Cassell’s Latin Dictionary: Latin-English and English-Latin revised by J. R. V. Marchant, M.A. and Joseph F. Charles, B.A. (New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1952) 348.

 

[11] Earl C. Muller, S.J., review of David Instone-Brewer, Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible: The Social and Literary Context, the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 65, No. 3 (July 2003) 470-471.

 

[12] P.M. Casey, “Culture and Historicity: The Cleansing of the Temple,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 59, No. 2 (April 1997) 320.