Self-righteousness is a carry-over concern from the
last time these Personal Notes considered the 142A Lectionary
A Benedictine monk and priest,
The Lectionary begins in the context of Isaiah 25 warning the Jews about what turned out to be the forthcoming Exile, if they did not repent. Although what the Lectionary presents is positive, in full context Isaiah is concerned about religious self-satisfaction, abusive presumption on the love of God. In the world of today, when the Faithful belong to a Church that unabashedly claims infallibility, abusive self-righteousness is easy.
While the Lectionary readings prophesy only
good things in Isaiah 25:6-10a, the full context includes foreboding about
things to come. Isaiah is full of hope,
nonetheless, through the uncertainties ahead. On this
mountain [the New Zion, the New Jerusalem, and symbol for the souls of the
Faithful] he [the LORD] will destroy the veil that veils all peoples
(Isaiah 25:7a). That veil is the cause
of human uncertainty requiring courage to overcome. Admitting uncertainty is one way to combat
imprudent self-righteousness. Kenneth E.
To live faithfully, self-righteousness is still not only legitimate, but even required. Christians do need to carry their crosses daily. No one, especially not Christians, ought to carry their crosses without corresponding self-righteousness. That is what the Responsorial antiphon means by I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life (Psalm 23:6cd). That self-confidence and self-righteousness, required for courage, is not the issue.
Humility before the facts is the issue. In this case, the fact is that the Faithful cannot even be sure that the original Greek is right, let alone the Lectionary translation. The Lectionary documentation for the verses used in the comforting Psalm 23, for but one example, certainly is wrong because self-contradictory.
Even with wrong documentation in the Lectionary, the Church uses the 23rd Psalm at funerals and visits to the sick. Psalm 23:3a, he [the LORD] refreshes my soul, has a wider sense of “teaching” and “instruction,” rather than a narrower sense of “legal stipulations” or even “the Pentateuch.” The LORD restores and revitalizes the human person. Psalm 23:4b, with your rod and your staff that give me courage, does help the Faithful with courage in the face of uncertainty. The certainty that inspires Saint Paul in the Epistle to the Philippians emanates from living the very life of God through Jesus Christ, as expressed earlier in the First Testament.
The Gospel about the guests who refuse to come to the King’s wedding feast suits reliance on the love of God through uncertainty. Wondering about the background of Matthew helps to understand the spiritual life of the writer. The Gospel makes some sense to suppose that the writer, Matthew, may have been a diligent elderly rabbi, who knew both Hebrew and Greek, but preferred the Greek when quoting scripture.
Without challenging the given-wisdom that Matthew was originally a tax collector, I am suggesting another option. This Matthean rabbi, perhaps, had to deal with the relationship between the old parameters of the First Testament and the new of the New Testament. When Matthew 22:1a writes, Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and elders of the people, Matthew may be addressing his equals according to the culture of his own day.
Like the prophet Isaiah, Father
… claiming too much certitude for noninfallible moral teachings … downplaying any role for historical consciousness and experience in arriving at moral truth … failing to point out that the magisterium needs to learn before it can teach … By insisting on the certitude of truth for complex and specific moral issues, John Paul II has downplayed and even implicitly denied what has been the glory of the Catholic tradition: It is a living tradition.
These Lectionary readings are about courage in the face of uncertainty. Isaiah begins by recognizing that his fellow co-religionists were not faithful to the Covenants. Such faithlessness not withstanding, Isaiah preached great hope, in these readings, for the time when the New Jerusalem would come unto its own. Psalm 23 is about maneuvering through the uncertain trials and tribulations of life, confident that the Lord will accomplish his own all-loving ends.
Philippians gets to the significant part, proclaiming
that the love of God through
For more on sources see the Appendix file. Personal Notes are on the web site at www.western-civilization.com/CBQ/Personal%20Notes
 Nestle-Aland: Greek-English New Testament: Greek text Novum Testamentum Graece, in the tradition of Eberhard Nestle and Erwin Nestle edited by Barbara and Kurt Aland, Johannes Karavidopoulos, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger. English text 2nd Edition of the Revised Standard Version The Critical Apparatuses prepared and edited together with the Institute for New Testament Textual Research, Munster/Westphalia by Barbara and Kurt Aland (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft 1998) Editio XXVII as well as Nestle-Aland: Novum Testamentum: Graece et Latine: Textum Graecum post Eberhard et Erwin Nestle communiter ediderunt Barbara et Kurt Aland, Johannes Karavidopoulos, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger: Textus Latinus Novae Vulgatae Bibliorum Sacrorum Editioni debetur: Utriusque textus apparatum criticum recensuerent et editionem novis curis elaboraverunt Barbara et Kurt Aland una cum Instituto Studiorum Textus Novi Testamenti Monasterii Westphaliae (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft 1999) Editio XXVII. page 522 for the readings from Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20.
 National Conference of Catholic Bishops, The Roman Missal Restored by Decree of the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican and Promulgated by Authority of Pope Paul VI: Lectionary for Mass: For Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America: Second Typical Edition: Volume I: Sundays, Solemnities, Feasts of the Lord and Saints (Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1998), compare pages 194, 388, and 888 (today) with 716 and 975.
 International Commission on English in the Liturgy: A Joint Commission of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences, The Roman Ritual: Revised by Decree of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and published by Authority of Pope Paul IV: Order of Christian Funerals: Including Appendix 2: Cremation: Approved for use in the Dioceses of the United States of America by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and Confirmed by the Apostolic See (New Jersey: Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1998) 143, 223, 253, 267.
 The Roman Ritual: Revised by Decree of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and Published by Authority of Pope Paul VI: Pastoral Care of the Sick: Rites of Anointing and Viaticum: Approved for use in the dioceses of the United States of America by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and Confirmed by the Apostolic See: Prepared by International Commission on English in the Liturgy: a Joint Commission of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences (New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co. 1983) 171, 188, 323.
 J. Ross Wagner, “From the Heavens to the Heart: The Dynamics of Psalm 19 as Prayer,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 61, No. 2 (April 1999) 254-255.
 Jack Dean Kingsbury, “The Developing Conflict between Jesus and the Jewish Leaders in Matthew’s Gospel: a Literary-Critical Study," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 49, No. 1 (January 1987) 61-62.
 Barbara E. Reid, O.P., “Violent Endings in Matthew’s Parables and Christian Nonviolence," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 2 (April 2004) 237, 248, 249, 254.
 Saint Augustine, Harmony of the Gospels, II, 71, 139 in “Exposition from the Catena Aurea,” in The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers: A Manual of Preaching, Spiritual Reading and Meditation: Volume Four: From the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost to the Twenty-fourth and Last Sunday after Pentecost, tr. and ed. M. F. Toal, D.D. (P.O. Box 612, Swedesboro, NJ 08085: Preservation Press, 1996) 201-202.
 Barbara E. Reid, O.P., “Violent Endings in Matthew’s Parables and Christian Nonviolence," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 2 (April 2004) 237-238. 248, 249.
 St. Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor, On the Gospels: Given to the People in the Basilica of the Blessed Martyr Clement, PL 76, col. 1281, Homilia XXXVIII in The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers: A Manual of Preaching, Spiritual Reading and Meditation: Volume Four: From the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost to the Twenty-fourth and Last Sunday after Pentecost, tr. and ed. M. F. Toal, D.D. (P.O. Box 612, Swedesboro, NJ 08085: Preservation Press, 1996) 226 and 239.
 Barbara E. Reid, O.P., “Violent Endings in Matthew’s Parables and Christian Nonviolence," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 2 (April 2004) 252.