The Lectionary readings for today turn trying to please God into pleasing self. This is the opposite of trying to please self in pleasing God. In other words, the Faithful should ensure that God is at the pinnacle of everything they desire. The focus on God reduces stress caused by the unknown and offers courage to face life at whatever arises. A focus on God takes self-discipline to bring order out of confusing stress.
The Second-Isaiah 45:1, 4-6 Lectionary readings are about the self-discipline required for courage in the face of uncertainty. According to Isaiah, the Jews are in Exile in order to gain the self-discipline required both to return to their God and to return to their Holy Land. While in Exile, their return is most uncertain, yet the prophets (First Isaiah, Second Isaiah, and others) offer encouragement. Isaiah 45:1 prophecies what God will do is scary. Isaiah prophecies that God will use Cyrus, the gentile king, to do what God wants, namely to free Israel.
Read carefully, Second Isaiah 45:5 proclaims that
there is no God beside God,
despite the Lectionary translation of besides God. Isaiah 45:4 says
Psalm 96:10, dating back to the monarchial period, before the Exile, proclaims that God is present as the real king of Israel. God sent the Israelites into Exile for neglecting that aspect of their religion. First Isaiah warned that Exile would happen. Accepting the divine order of creation, means rejecting the disorder of the devil. Such acceptance of divine order at the core of the soul is scary against whatever one anticipates for the future.
Tying to readjust the present order into something
more just and God-centered can cause considerable stress. The life of
The great administrator, Saint John Chrysostom (354-407), Patriarch of Constantinople, recognizes the need for order when he writes, “Do not say to me that some have misused this power, look rather at the good of the established order, and you will see how great is His wisdom who established these things from the beginning.”
For an earlier administrator,
The acceptance of the Holy Spirit by the Thessalonians
in the First Letter of Saint Paul to the Thessalonians is the earliest part of
the New Testament; written before 60 A.D.
Paul is thrilled beyond expectation. The Greek Paul uses at 1 Thessalonians 5:2,
about giving thanks for the
Thessalonians, is the same thanks
preserved in the English word Eucharist. By his language,
In the manner of the orators of his day,
While the Lectionary translation is the Holy Spirit, the original Greek
omits the article, the. This seems to mean that
At 1 Thessalonians 5:3,
In the Gospel of
What follows seems a little forced, because I am not bringing it together as much as I would like. The deficiency is mine. The purpose of these Notes is to annotate the bibliography-index on the web site. For that reason, bear with the disconnect.
As was the custom of his day,
Angry religious leaders asked
The religious leaders who executed
The Fourth Station, where
In conclusion, trying to please God is what these
readings are about. The readings depict
the suffering associated with self-discipline as meaningful in the eyes of God
and not as anything inherently foolish. The
will of God is life and order, rather than death and disorder. In Isaiah, that means God will bring order
Finally, in the Gospel of Matthew,
To re-summarize, the Jews wound up in Exile because they mixed up their priorities, forgetting who their God was. The results remain scary. The future remains as uncertain for the ancient Jews as it does for the Modern Jews and Christians and all of us together. The Lectionary readings offer encouragement for whatever lies ahead, as the Faithful try to hone their talents according to the will of the Almighty.
For more on sources see the Appendix file. Personal Notes are on the web site at www.western-civilization.com/CBQ/Personal%20Notes
 Richard J. Clifford, S.J., “The Unity of the Book of Isaiah and Its Cosmogonic Language,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 55, No. 1 (January 1993 ) 11, 13, 15.
 Richard J. Clifford, S.J., "The Unity of the Book of Isaiah and Its Cosmogonic Language,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 55, No. 1 (January 1993 ) 14.
 J. J. M. Roberts, "The Enthronement of Yhwh and David: The Abiding Theological Significance of the Kingship Language of the Psalms,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 4 (October 2002) 677, 679, 680.
 St. John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor, Let Every soul be Subject to Higher Powers,” PG 17, Commentaria in Ep. Ad Romanos,, Ch XIII, 1-7 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) 302, 304.
 Jeremy Corley, "The Pauline Authorship of 1 Corinthians 13,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 2 (April 2004) 271.
 Richard A. Horsley, “Wisdom of Word and Words of Wisdom in Corinth,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 39, No. 2 (April 1977) 230.
 Jeremy Corley, "The Pauline Authorship of 1 Corinthians 13,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 2 (April 2004) 261, 271.
 Maximilian Zerwick, S.J., English Edition adapted from the Fourth Latin Edition by Joseph Smith, S.J., Scripta Pontificii Instituti Biblico—114—Biblical Greek (Roma: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico, 1994) 58.
 Joseph Plevnik, S.J., "The Understanding of God at the Basis of Pauline Theology,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 65, No. 4 (October 2003) 566.563-564.
 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) 58.
 Louise Joy Lawrence, "`For truly, I tell you, they have received their reward’ (Matt 6:2): Investigating Honor Precedence and honor Virtue,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 4 (October 2002) 700.
 Chrysostom 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) 294.
 Wendell E. Langley, S.J., “The Parable of the Two Sons (Matthew -32) against Its Semitic and Rabbinic Backdrop,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 67, No 2 (April 2005) 242.