Words for these readings are health, days, and life.


Wisdom 7:7-11


verse 7a        I prayed, and prudence was given me


Prudence is a virtue for which I always pray.


The Vulgate (circa 410):               Propter hoc optavi, et datus est mihi sensus


Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):         Wherefore I wished, and understanding was given me


King James (1611):                      omits the Book of Wisdom


Jerusalem (1966):                        And so I prayed, and understanding was given to me


New American (1970):                  Therefore I prayed, and prudence was given me


New Jerusalem (1985):                and so I prayed, and understanding was given me


verse 10        Beyond health and comeliness I loved her,

                     and I chose to have her rather than the light,

                               because the splendor of her never yields to sleep


Light is always special to Poor Clares.


Psalm 90:12-13, 14-15, 16-17 (14)


The Lectionary uses this Psalm as follows:


Readings      Page in         Verses used


114C             751               3-4, 5-6, 12-13 (8)

129C             820               3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14-17 (1)

143B             893               12-13, 14-15, 16-17, (14)   Today.


verse (14)     Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!


verse 12a      Teach us to number our days aright.


verse 14b                that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.


Hebrews 4:12-13


verse 12a      Indeed the word of god is living and effective


Matthew 5:3


no comment


Mark 10:17-30


verse 17        As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,

                               knelt down before him, and asked him,

                               “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”


Saint Jerome translates knelt down with genu flexo, the derivative for genuflect.


This is one of the questions a scholar identifies as needling Jesus.[1]


verse 18        Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?

                     No one is good but God alone.”


A scholar points out that Matthew is not so off-putting.  In Matthew 19:17, Jesus simply accepts the compliment, with “Why do you ask me about what is good?  There is one alone who is good.”  Quoting the scholar exactly, “We can only wonder, then, why Matthew repudiates this [according to Mark] honorable repudiation of the compliment (Matt 19:17).” [2]


verse 28a      Peter began to say to him,


A scholar notes that this is a passage “where Peter’s appearance is clearly redactional and not caused by the surrounding context.”  The scholar goes on,[3]


…the inappropriate reference of vv 29-30 to Peter who left his nets and not his fields, implies Mark’s redaction.…We cannot say why Mark chose Peter as spokesman; those holding a traditional view of authorship would say that it was because the material came to Mark through Peter; but this should not be taken in the sense that Peter told Mark he made the statement of v 28b to Jesus, for as we have seen the statement would be inappropriate on his lips.


The more I read about Saint Peter, the less I regard him as the brightest light on the Christmas tree.  Since some of the Faithful regard this attitude as less than reverential, Bette, my wife, has had her eye out for scholarly documentation.  Probably the most scholarly current work is John, where Raymond E. Brown writes, “BD [the Beloved Disciple] is consistently counterpoised to Simon Peter, and over and over again he is closer to Jesus than Peter and more perceptive in his faith.”[4]


When Mark writes that Peter began, the grammarian points out that Mark is using a formula to move through his narrative.


verse 29        Jesus said, ”Amen, I say to you,

                               there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters

                               or mother or father or children or lands

                               for my sake and for the sake of the gospel

verse 30                  who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age:

                               houses and brothers and sisters

                               and mothers and children and lands,

                               with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.”


A scholar notes that house is plural at Matthew 19:29 and uses that plural as a sign “that Matthew sometimes pluralizes or doubles items found in his source materials…Mark and Q.”[5]


Scholars like to look at lists.  There is a scholarly argument over the meaning of this list.  the scholar with the latest word writes that the list moves from what is less important to what is more important, from the less important house to the more important lands.  A house is a place of shelter, draining resources, lands are agricultural fields from which sustenance is drawn.  With so many of the Newport News Bethlehem Monastery Poor Clares from different lands, recognition is due to the currently discredited view that lands refers not to fields but to national origins.  Who knows?  Someday that view may come back into favor.[6]


In any event, Sister Collette’s sister, Lynn, went to a new “land,” passing from this life to the next, a journey for which the Faithful all prepare.  Father Peter made that announcement at the Sunday Monastery Mass, August 31, when these Notes were prepared.


Bette and I anticipate being away beginning September 16.  Shortly before that, I intend to distribute these notes for several weeks in advance,


Reading from the Book of Wisdom treasures wisdom more than health, more than life.  The Psalm switches from knowledge, prudence, and understanding to love during all of our days.  Hebrews combines knowledge and love in the effective living word of God.  Mark removes the whole scenario out of the abstract with the promise of persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.


For sources, see the Appendix file.

[1] 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.


[2] F. Gerald Downing, “`Honor’ among Exegetes,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 61, No. 1 (January 1999) 59.


[3] E. Best, “Peter in the Gospel According to Mark,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 4 (October 1978) 554-555.

[4] Raymond E. Brown, S.S., edited, updated, introduced, and concluded by Francis J. Moloney, S.D.B. The Anchor Bible Reference Library: An Introduction to the Gospel of John (New York: Doubleday, 2003) 178


[5] Neil J. McEleney, S.C.P., “Peter’s Denials—How Many? To Whom?” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 52, No. 3 (July 1990) 468.


[6] Robert H. Gundry, “Mark 10:29: Order in the List,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 59, No. 3 (July 1997) 465-475.