The last time through these readings, October 3, 2004, Personal Notes observed that the Faithful should not expect God to be grateful, because they believed.  This time, Personal Notes continues with the same theme, calling for the need for the work ethic in the spiritual life.

The Lectionary reading from Habakkuk stress continued effort to find God in difficult circumstances.  Habakkuk is the eighth of the Minor Prophets.  He probably flourished toward the end of the Seventh Century B.C. (609-598 B.C., the reign of Jehoiakim).[1]  

Psalm 95, by the nature of its translation of the word rock, which does not exist in the original Hebrew, calls for continued diligence trying to understand.  Paul charges Timothy to due diligence protecting what Catholics know as the Deposit of Faith and what others may know simply as sound doctrine.

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus tells the Faithful not to relax on their laurels, but always to consider themselves unworthy servants.  Such self-appraisal is essential to avoid the sin of self-righteousness.  The JustFaith program helps in the sense of unworthy servants and humility.

The JustFaith topics for this Fall include Immigration, Climate change, The UN Millennium Development Goals, Federal Budget Priorities, and Prison Reform.  In order to live in a Christian society, all of these topics demand due diligence on the part of the Faithful.  A Christian society?  Yes, because the Gospel offers an invitation to everyone, an invitation easily tortured shut by Christians who ignore the need to exercise the work ethic in their spiritual lives.

Annotated Bibliography

Material above the double line draws from material below the double line.  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: Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4


Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9

The Bishops exhibit inadvertent scholarship between the ways they translate Psalm 95:1-2 and 6 in their Catechism[2] and in their Lectionary.  The common verses, displayed below, are 1-2 and 6.  Not every verse is different; but the three verses will be heard at Mass.



Lectionary:    Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;

Catechism     Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;


Lectionary:              let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.

Catechism               cry out to the rock of our salvation.


Lectionary:    Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;

Catechism     Let us greet him with a song of praise,


Lectionary:              let us joyfully sing psalms to him.

Catechism               joyfully sing out our psalms.


Lectionary:    Come, let us bow down in worship;

Catechism     Enter, let us bow down in worship;


Lectionary:              let us kneel before the LORD who made us.

Catechism               let us kneel before the LORD who made us.


Psalm 95:1

Margaret Barker, The Great High Priest: The Temple Roots of Christian Liturgy[3]

Barker makes the point that the word rock does not exist in Hebrew.  The Hebrew words for the Greek word for rock vary from place to place.  A spiritual work ethic is required to pray the psalms.


Second Reading: 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14

          2 Tim 1:6-7

          David J. Downs, "`Early Catholicism’ and Apocalypticism in the Pastoral Epistles”[4]

          Downs observes, “Whereas for Paul the (local) church is envisioned primarily as a charismatic community sharing in the experience of the Spirit (Rom 12:4-8; 1 Cor 12:4-27), the community in the Pastorals is characterized by a more hierarchical structure, and the activity of the spirit is, if not diminished, at least concentrated among those in authority (see 1 Tim 4:14; 2 Tim 1:6-7).”


          2 Tim 1:6

          Joseph A. Fitzmyer, S.J., “The Structured Ministry of the Church in the Pastoral Epistles”[5]

          Fitzmyer points out “prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands … by `Paul’ himself (2 Tim 1:6) …”  I have never seen a Catholic bishop praying in tongues, so I wonder where their prophetic utterance may reside.  The bishops may think that praying in tongues is fake, unreal, or silly.  Such a conviction, before the fact, hampers the presence of the Holy Spirit.


Alleluia: 1 Peter 1:25


Gospel: Luke 17:5-10

          Lune 17:10

          Benedict XVI, “Encyclical Letter: Deus Caritas Est of the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI to the Bishops, Priests and Deacons, Men and Women Religious and All the Lay Faithful on Christian Love”[6]

          In a section, Those responsible for the church’s charitable activity, Benedict XVI seems to contradict himself when he writes, “We recognize that we are not acting on the basis of any superiority or greater personal efficiency, but because the Lord has graciously enabled us to do so.”  By holding all of creation in existence, God enables everything; and that God enables the hierarchy to be charitable can be a source of greater pride, rather than deeper humility.


          Luke 17:7-10

          Craig L. Blomberg, "Interpreting the Parables of Jesus:  Where Are We and Where Do We Go from Here?" [7]

Blomberg observes, “… probably the passage makes two points rather than one, highlighting both God’s sovereignty and humanity’s unworthiness before him, so that all of the text may be seen as a unity.”



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



[1]  Accessed July 18, 2010.


[2] United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, United States Catholic Catechism for Adults (Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2006) 371.


[3] London: T & T Clark International: A Continuum imprint, 2003 184, 191.


[4] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 67, No. 4 (October 2005) 647.


[5] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 4 (October 2004) 585, 586.


[7] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 53, No. 1 (January 1991) 73.