First Reading:                   Isaiah 53:10-11

Responsorial Psalm:          Psalm 33:4-5, 8-19, 20, 22 (22)

Second Reading:              Hebrews 4:14-16

Alleluia:                             Mark 10:45

Gospel:                             Mark 10:35-45



In these readings, Jesus is forming his family for all to see.  In the Gospel, Jesus sets psychological boundaries.  To sit at my right or at my left is not mine  to give.  Jesus also sets up how relationships are to work.  Whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.  The family of Jesus will not be fully functional on its own until after he ascends into heaven.

The Prophet Isaiah teaches that through his suffering, my servant shall justify many.  The sense is that suffering can atone for sin.  The Responsorial antiphon is about holding up under stress.  Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.  Hebrews urges the Faithful to confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.

In “Family Therapies:  A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal,” Mark A. Yarhouse and James Sellers write,


The Christian tradition extends the nature of [family] structure to include a number of social, community and familial characteristics essential for individual and systemic health.  Rogerson (1996) developed a model from the Old Testament scriptures that he refers to as the “Structure of Grace”.  Pertaining to family, such grace structures must include patterns of covenant, grace, empowering and intimacy in order for individuals to thrive.  Covenant structures offer stability and security, grace structures provide acceptance not based on performance or merit, empowering structures encourage growth and individuality and intimacy structures offer safety, love and trust.  The Biblical text provides ample evidence that structures, rules and authorities are needed to protect all of us from harm.[1]


Yarhouse and Sellers also seem to recognize the dichotomy between truth and politics, which determines which, when they write, “ … the similarity between universal family structures and that of Biblically defined truth might permit the Christian clinician to utilize the approach without having to jettison major components of the theoretical underpinnings [of the structural approach to family therapy].”[2]

Ultimately, the Cross and Glory go together as the Faithful go through life in various functional and dysfunctional relationships inside and outside of the primary family.


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 material.


Isaiah 53:10-11

The Church uses this passage in its care for the sick.[3]


Isaiah 53:4-12

Steven L. Bridge, review of Steve Moyise and Maarten J. J. Menken (eds.), Isaiah in the New Testament[4]

Bridge writes,


Isaiah’s considerable influence is demonstrated by the ways in which the NT authors repeatedly draw upon his prophecies to validate, shape, and infuse content into their writings.  In the gospels, Isaiah’s oracles appear at crucial moments of Jesus’ life.  They validate and explain … his suffering and death (53:4-12).


Isa 53:12

Eugene Hensell, O.S.B., review of Jim.  W. Adams, The Performative Nature and Function of Isaiah 40—55[5]

Adams specifically treats Isaiah 52:13—53:12, of which the Lectionary Isaiah 53:10-11 is part.  This reading or today is one of the passages that “highlight the theme of the servant, which permeates these [Adams] chapters and entreats the reader through self-involvement to embrace the role of Yhwh’s servant.”


Psalm 33:4-5, 8-19, 20, 22 (22)

Codex Sinaiticus[6]

The continuing point of the exercise reaching into the original manuscripts is to accept some doubt.  From doubt results the search for truth as part of Christian life.  The Church chose Sacred Scripture from many competing original manuscripts.  Development of the words of Sacred Scripture is an historical reality.  These Notes try to include this reality as an act of humility against the self-righteous pride required to lead a Christian life.  This paragraph is now relegated to the Appendix.


Psalm 33:19

Richard J. Bautch, “An Appraisal of Abraham’s Role in Postexilic Covenants”[7]

Bautch draws from verse 19 that “the divine life giver who fashions all creatures is constantly within them, to enliven and if need be protect them on an ongoing basis.”


Hebrews 4:14-16

Heb 4:14—5:10

Alan C. Mitchell, S.J., “The Use of prepein in Hebrews 2:10”[8]

Mitchell argues, “… the writer [of Hebrews] stresses the superiority of Jesus’ mediation when claiming he is not only priest but also Son.”


Heb 4:14, 15

Todd D.  Still, "Christos as Pistos: The Faith(fulness) of Jesus in the Epistle to the Hebrews"[9]

The term “high priest” occurs seventeen times in Hebrews.  Still argues: the point for using the term high priest is that Christ is both trustworthy and faithful to God.


Heb 4:14

James W. Thompson, “Outside the Camp: a Study of Heb 13:9-14”[10]

Thompson argues that to find grace for timely help is “… the only answer to a weary community.”


Heb 4:16

Scott W. Hahn, “A Broken Covenant and the Curse of Death: A Study of Hebrews 9:15-22”[11]

Hahn argues, “By virtue of Christ’s death and subsequent exaltation, the faithful now have access to the very presence of God (4:16) …”


Mark 10:45

Mark 10:4-52

Michael Patella, O.S.B., review of Stephen P. Ahearne-Kroll, The Psalms of Lament Mark’s Passion: Jesus’ Davidic Suffering[12]

Ahearne-Kroll “calls into question the supposed necessity for Jesus’ death within an apocalyptic framework of meaning” (p. 170).  Patella judges that the “conclusions appear forced.”


Mark 10:45

Nicholas Perrin, review of Scot McKnight, Jesus and His Death: Historiography, the Historical Jesus, and Atonement Theory[13]

Perrin writes, “Part 3 begins with M.’s close examination of the saying about ransom (Mark 10:45), a verse whose primary importance lies in its attesting Jesus’ vocation as atoning Son of Man (pp. 168-75).”


Mark 10:45

Barbara E. Reid, O.P., review of Mary Ann Beavis, Jesus and Utopia: Looking for the Kingdom of God in the Roman World[14]

This review uses the word utopia and its derivatives eleven times.  Reid mentions “ancient writings on utopia.”  This causes me a problem, because I thought Saint Thomas Moore made up the word for his 1516 book, Utopia.[15]  That set aside, Reid notes, “in contrast to `kingly’ models of power, in the basileia movement power takes the form of service, and leaders take the lowest place (Mark 10:45 [used here]; Luke 22:26-27; John 13:1-20.”


Mark 10:45

F. Scott Spencer, review of Richard A. Burridge, Imitating Jesus: An Inclusive Approach to New Testament Ethics[16]

In the words of Spencer, Burridge argues that “… Mark commends Jesus’ self-sacrificing death for many’ (10:45) as the culmination of a life devoted to the double love commandment (cf. 12:28-34).”  Spencer continues, “Thus, a critical factor in ending apartheid was an ethic of imitation (of Jesus) and inclusion (of the marginalized).”


Mark 10:45

Luis Sánchez-Navarro, review of R. E. Ederle, Discipulos y Apóstoles de Jesús: La relación entre lost discipulos y los Doce según Marcos[17]

Sanchez-Navarro relates that Ederle argues, “Mark does not present a relationship between superior and inferior (the supreme rule is that of mutual service (10:45)), but depicts the Twelve as having a particular authority marked by neither isolation nor authoritarianism (p. 321).”


Mark 10:35-37

Sean Freyne, “The Galilean Jesus and a Contemporary Christology”[18]

Freyne argues, “The establishment of the Twelve as the symbolic core of his (Jesus’) new family could well have been understood as marking a strong messianic claim.  Indeed, there is evidence that some of his own closest disciples thought along these lines (Mk 10:35-37; Acts 1:6.)”  One of the problems with Mark is that Mark points out how the disciples misunderstood Jesus.  Mark, by his uncomfortable truthfulness, adds credibility to Jesus.  The Roman Catholic episcopate might do likewise with regard to its sexual coverup scandal.


Mark 10:45

Elizabeth Struthers Malbon, review of Brendan Byrne, S.J., A Costly Freedom: A Theological Reading of Mark’s Gospel[19]

Malbon writes that “B. notes: `Mark’s gospel does not explain, as later Christian soteriology sought to do, how Jesus’ `obedience unto death’ in that (demonic) conflict brought about the `ransom of many’ (10:45), the fundamental act of human liberation’ (p. 264).”  Writing from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Malbon states that “the theological perspective would preclude the book’s appropriate use in state universities.”  This and other aspects of the review trouble me.


Mark 10:35-45

The Greek is difficult at 10:35, about whether it should be the two sons of Zebedee.  The Lectionary omits two, as does the Sinaiticus.[20] 

Numbering the verses is unwieldy.  In the Sinaiticus, there is no verse 36 and verses 35-37 merge.  Eclectic Greek includes a verse 36.  The Lectionary does not number the verses.  In verse 38, the Lectionary has Jesus said, as does the eclectic Greek.  The Sinaiticus has he said. 


Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland, The Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism, 2nd ed., Erroll F. Rhodes, tr.[21]

A Ninth Century manuscript with verses 35-46 had been in Kubbet el Chazne, Damascus, but is not accessible. 

The Alands explain,


… the earliest manuscripts were written in scriptio continua, i.e., the uncial letters were written continuously, word after word and sentence after sentence, without a break and with extremely few reading aids.  In Mark 10:40, at the conclusion of the pericope about the request made by James and John the sons of Zebedee for position at the right and left of Jesus in his kingdom, the text of Jesus’ refusal read in the uncial manuscripts … Without changing the letters but by dividing them into words differently the text is susceptible of two completely different meanings.  The letters …  can be divided as …, or they can be taken as the single world …  The seats beside Jesus, then, are reserved either for certain ones who have already been designated (and these might well be the sons of Zebedee themselves), or for others (excluding the sons of Zebedee).

The apparatus of Nestle-Aland26 [I am using, 27 where the symbol for the Majority text, including the Sinaiticus, is identified with a number, 2427] reads … This indicates that the scribes interpreted the text correctly as … —when they observed a distinction; cet. incert.  (ceteri incerti, the rest are uncertain) refers to the uncials, where the letters are written continuously and with out punctuation (characteristically B2, a later hand in Codex Vaticanus, clarifies the interpretation by a mark that was not available to the first scribe).  The minuscule 225 (together with a few others), however, along with a part of the Old Latin tradition (it was distinct from lat, which supports the text), and a single Sahidic manuscript, agree in reading …, which the Sinaitic Syriac further reinforces with the addition of … [which is in the Sinaiticus I am using].  We may note in passing (anticipating a later discussion) that the second variant noted in the apparatus (the addition at the end of the verse) … represents the influence of a parallel passage (this addition is derived from Matt. 20:23), and the category of devotional supplements. Both these factors occur repeatedly as a source of variants in manuscripts.

Mark 10:40 is the best-known example of variants developing in a text where there is no variation of letters …


Again, the Alands comment,


Matt. 20:22 and 23 are obvious examples of influence from parallel texts.  In both places, the words of Jesus to the sons of Zebedee have been expanded to the fuller form found in Mark 10:38 and 39.  The impressive manuscript evidence against it needs no comment.


As far as I am concerned, a comment is needed.  As in many other places, I do not understand what the Alands mean.



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



I mistakenly overlooked the following for reading.  I intend to annotate this citation the next time through.

Heb 4:14-16

George T. Montague, S.M., review of Antonio Portalatin, Temporal Oppositions as Hermeneutical Categories in the Epistle to the Hebrews[22]


[1] Mark A. Yarhouse and James Sellers, “Family Therapies:  A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal” (2009 manuscript in press) 126.


[2] Mark A. Yarhouse and James Sellers, “Family Therapies:  A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal” (2009 manuscript in press) 123.


[3] 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) 259.


[4] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 1 (April 2007) 190.


[5] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 2 (April 2008) 332.


[7] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 1  (January 2009) 56.


[8] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 54, No. 4 (October 1992) 697.


[9] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 4 (October 2007) 748-50, 755.


[10] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 1 (January 1978) 58.


[11] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 3 (July 2004) 422.


[12] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 3 (April 2009) 635.


[13] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 1 (April 2007) 158.


[14] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 3 (April 2008) 592.


[15] Webster’s Third New International Dictionary , Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002. (accessed August 7, 2009).


[16] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 1 (April 2009) 159.


[17] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 1 (April 2009) 165.


[18] Theological Studies, Vol. 70, No. 2 (June 2009) 288.


[19] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 3 (April 2009) 639.71 (2009) #3 639.


[21] Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989, 123, 282, 307.


[22] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 3 (July 2007) 589.