First Reading:                    Habakkuk 1:2-3, 2:3-4

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

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

Alleluia:                             1 Peter 1:25

Gospel:                             Luke 17:5-10



On Thursday, July 15, the Magisterium tweaked procedures to give the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith the right to judge bishops.  The procedures also give bishops added power that terrifies Father Thomas Doyle.  Father Doyle is the gold standard for understanding the sexual cover-up scandal.[1]  The revision of Canon Law terrifies Doyle because it,


gives the local bishops the power to proceed judicially against people whom they suspect of heresy, apostasy or schism.  The potential for misuse of this norm and the consequent denial of due process and the right of free expression to people the bishops decide don’t think like them is terrifying.



The main problem with the Vatican’s latest attempt at damage control is that they continue to deny the fundamental issue:  the nature of the clericalized monarchial structure of the institutional church and its role in the systematic dismantling of the reality of church as People of God.[2]


The Magisterium seems stuck, trying to work through the third stage of getting at the root causes of the cover-up.  The six stages are:  1) suppression, 2) sequestration, 3) public relations, 4) individuals, 5) all, 6) investigation of root causes.[3]  Getting at the root causes would mean admitting that the system is at fault.


The third stage is Public Relations, which remains one disaster after another.  In the document that came out on Thursday, July 15, the Vatican lumped together the ordination of women as priests and the sexual abuse of minors by clerics.  The next day Msgr. Charles Scicluna asserted, out of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, that “they [sexual abuse and ordaining women] are in the same document but this does not put them on the same level or assign them the same gravity.”[4]  So long as the Vatican dismisses perceptions of the Faithful in favor of its own perceptions, problems will remain.  Public relations, the third stage, remains a work-in-progress for the Vatican.


The readings direct the way.  Habakkuk is about the despairing situation involved in making sense out of the mess God seems to have allowed.  The Faithful both in the time of Habakkuk and Benedict XVI seem to be finding themselves in the same type of mess.  Responding to the mess, Habakkuk 2:4 answers, “the just one, because of his faith, shall live.”  The Responsorial for Psalm 95 tells the Faithful to be alert for what they can do, “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”  2 Timothy 1:8 encourages the Faithful to “bear your share of hardship for the gospel [sic].”  Finally, the Gospel of Luke explains what is possible, “if you have faith the size of a mustard seed.”  Sometimes the Faithful seem to need Faith the size of the universe, rather than a mere mustard seed.



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 details.


Habakkuk 1:2-3, 2:3-4


Hab 2:4

Thomas D. Stegman, S.J., "Episteusa, dio elalhsa (2 Corinthians 4:13):  Paul's Christological Reading of Psalm 115:1a LXX"[5]

Stegman argues Hab 2:4 the rash one has no integrity, is the opposite of the meaning of amen in Hebrew.  Amen in Hebrew comes from a root word that denotes “steadfastness” and “fidelity.”  From the opposite, the Faithful can gain the meaning of amen.


Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9 (8)

Psalm 95:7-11

Todd D. Still, "Christos as Pistos: The Faith(fulness) of Jesus in the Epistle to the Hebrews"[6]

Still argues that the author of Hebrews draws on Psalm 95:7-11 to underscore the infidelity of the wilderness generation to God.  The antiphon admonishes the Faithful not to harden their hearts to the word of the Lord.


2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14

Different languages perceive reality differently.  The ancient Greeks used pronouns for emphasis.  Translating this emphasis from the original Greek into English is an object of the highlighting on the last page of the hard copy, not found on the web site.  The purpose of the highlighting is to transfer the Greek emphasis on personal pronouns into the English translation.  Emphasized pronouns are highlighted in blue; intense pronouns in red.  Words marked in yellow are remnants from before working with the Greek.  Words marked in the center with a vertical line, rather than fully highlighted, indicate places where the English translation lacks a pronoun corresponding to a pronoun in the Greek. 

Anyone wanting a copy of the highlighted verses, please contact me at  Thank you.


In the text at the end of the hard copy, six personal pronouns are highlighted in blue; two in red—verse 8, nor of me a prisoner and verse 13, words that you heard from me.



2 Tim 1:8

Edward F. Siegman, C.PP.S, “Teaching in Parables: (Mk 4:10-12; Lk 8:9-10; Mt 13:10-15”[7]

Siegman argues from 2 Tim 1:8, about sharing in hardship for the gospel, to the meaning of the seed sown upon rocky ground (see Mark 4), where the hearers stumble.  Siegman writes, “Many scholars think that his allegorization of the parable comes not from Our Lord Himself, but from the apostles or other preachers in the early Church.”


1 Peter 1:25


Luke 17:5-10

The Greek highlights nine pronouns in blue and one in red—verse 10, when you have done all.


Luke 17:1, 5, 7-10

Garwood P. Anderson, "Seeking and Saving What Might Have Been Lost: Luke's Restoration of an Enigmatic Parable Tradition"[8]

Anderson argues that parables “directed toward religious leaders are characteristically polemical …; whereas those addressed to disciples consist of ethical and communal instruction (… [Luke] 17:7-10).”  Anderson argues that 17:10, say, `we are unprofitable servants, is an aphorism as an “addenda to the parable proper, functioning as yet one more a [sic] kind of interpretive commentary (e.g. … [Luke] 17:10 …).”


Luke 17:6

Ryan S. Schellenberg, “Kingdom as Contaminant?  The Role of Repertoire in the Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Leaven”[9]

Schellenberg relates,


But smallness is not the only metaphorical meaning [Bernard Brandon] Scott attributes to the mustard seed.  Equally important to his interpretation is mustard’s potential for uncleanness.  Though for Scott the possibility that the image has a “derogatory sense” is present from the outset, this aspect comes to the fore when the farmer plants the mustard seed in a garden, thereby violating the law of diverse kinds as articulated in the Kilayim tractate of the Mishana (M KIil. 3.2).”  The parable thus plays on the tension between these connotations of uncleanness and the hearers’ understanding of the kingdom of God, thereby urging them to recognize that “God’s mighty works are among the unclean and insignificant.’”


Luke 17:6

Paul Lawrence, The IVP Atlas of Bible History[10]

Lawrence comments on the mulberry tree, mentioned in verse 6.  “Other trees were introduced to Canaan from distant lands, as is the case of the mulberry, the white variety coming from China and the black from Iran.”


Luke 17:10

Dino Dozzi, "`Thus Says the Lord' The Gospel in the Writings of Saint Francis"[11]

Dozzi reports that Saint Francis wrote,


All of us lesser brothers, useless servants (see Lk 17:10), humbly ask and beg those who wish  to serve the Lord God within the holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and all the following orders … all peoples, races, tribes, and tongues (Rv 7:9) … to persevere in the true faith and in penance for otherwise no one will be saved.”



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



[2]  accessed July 18, 2010.


[3] A. W. Richard Sipe, “Scandal vs. crisis; PR vs. raw data,”  accessed July 13, 2010.  Following these six stages developed by the professor of sociology at Eastern Michigan University, Ron Westrum, begins with Reading 138 C, September 26, 2010.


[4] Reuters, “Vatican City:  Church Denies Accusations of View on Abuse, Priests,” The Wall Street Journal, Saturday/Sunday July 17-18, 2010, page A8, columns 5-6.


[5] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 4 (October 2007) 741.


[6] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 4 2007 (October 2007) 753.


[7] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 23, No. 2  (April 1961) 167.


[8] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 4 (October 2008) 737-738.


[9] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 71 (2009) No. 3 (July 2009) 528-529.


[10] Downers Grove, Illinois,  InterVarsity Press, 2006, 54.


[11] Greyfriars Review, Vol. 18, Supplement (2004) 96.