The Mosaic covenant gave Israel and the rest of the Faithful in Western Civilization a conscience toward the most vulnerable of society, namely the widow, the orphan, and the immigrant.  Exodus refers to aliens.  Immigrants are especially important to the United States, because everyone, except a native American, is an immigrant-alien of one sort or another.  The Mosaic charge is clear:  You shall not wrong any widow or orphan.  If ever you wrong them and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry.  My wrath will flare up, and I will kill you with the sword; then your own wives will be widows, and your children orphans. 

A covenant is a contract or agreement.  The Abrahamic Covenant was one sided, from God to the Faithful.  The Faithful had to do nothing.  God would always be with them.  The Mosaic Covenant was two-sided, between God and the Faithful.  The Faithful agreed to follow the Mosaic Ten Commandments of love.  God agreed to be with his Chosen People.  Either party could break the Mosaic Covenant.

The main economic concerns of how the Faithful love one another, including enemies, in the modern world rest between socialism and capitalism.  In the extreme, socialism is good theory (from everyone according to his ability, to everyone according to his needs) but is less than productive in practice.  Capitalism is bad theory (who does not work does not eat) but is productive in practice. 

There are no easy answers, but God expects the Faithful to figure it out, according to the best lights he offers.  The Word of God this Sunday directs the Faithful to consider and reconsider the welfare of those less fortunate than they are, in the spirit of love expressed in the Ten Commandments.  Fortune in this gritty sense is primarily economic fortune, rather than political or religious fortune. 

How do the Faithful aim at constructing society to treat the most vulnerable?  The meaning of Western Civilization lies in the answer to that question.  The role of God, Creator and Redeemer, gives meaning to life as the Faithful do their best to love one another.  This sense of love extends from intimate family relationships to include impersonal relationships throughout society.

For example, looking outside their immediate families, many Faithful are frustrated about finding year-round shelter for homeless men, women, and children.  The benefits of social security and healthcare for the elderly, and vulnerable others does help mitigate that Mosaic covenant frustration.  How to fulfill the rest of this Mosaic Covenant within the context of current politics in the United States of America may be what Occupy Wall Street is about.  For this week, at least, the Ten Commandments of what is right comes down to sharing resources equitably.  With the Responsorial Antiphon, the Faithful pray, in these difficult times:  I love you, Lord, my strength.


 

 

Readings

First Reading:                    Exodus 22:20-26

Responsorial Psalm:          Psalm 18:2-3, 3-4, 47, 51 (2)

Second Reading:               1 Thessalonians 1:5c-10

Alleluia:                             John 14:23

Gospel:                             Matthew 22:34-40

 

 

Divergences between the Lectionary and the NABRE

In 2011, The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops authorized a revised translation of the New American Bible (NAB), thereby setting up a new tension with the Lectionary used at Sunday Mass.  Scholars are citing the new translation (New American Bible Newly Revised) as NABRE.  This tension between the Lectionary and the NABRE will increase with the use of the new Sacramentary, now called Missal, beginning in Advent.  Church authorities are playing name games, because the full title of the Lectionary includes Missal.[1]  One purpose showing the divergences in translation is to show the Church contradicting itself, meaning something is wrong with one, other, or both of the translations.

 

Exodus 22:20-26

It is more productive to lay out everything in both versions.

Verse 20

                     Thus says the LORD:

Lectionary:    “You shall not molest or oppress an alien,

                               for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt

NABRE:        [No opening quotation marks.]  You shall not oppress or afflict a resident alien, for you were once aliens residing in the land of Egypt.

The Lectionary uses an indentation style indicative of poetry, which the NABRE does

not use.  The Lectionary does not use resident that the NABRE does use.  Residency is

a term meaningful for African-American people in the United States and colonial

peoples everywhere.

Verse 21

Lectionary:    You shall not wrong any widow or orphan.

NABRE:        You shall not wrong any widow or orphan.

There are no differences.

Verse 22

Lectionary:    If ever you wrong them and they cry out to me,

                               I will surely hear their cry.

NABRE:        If ever you wrong them and they cry out to me, I will surely listen to their cry. 

The Lectionary hear implies something other than the NABRE listen to.  To illustrate:  all the American Association of University Professors wants the administration of The Catholic University of America to do is give professors, like Charles Curran, a hearing, before firing them.  The administration claims a moral imperative not to grant such a hearing, which I think may help account for why the Washington Theological Union announced June 27 that it is closing, due to lack of enrollment.[2]  The Washington Theological Union is a group of Catholic seminaries pooling their resources in order to stay active.  The Washington Theological Union[3] is a member of the Washington Theological Consortium[4] that enables students to cross-enroll at The Catholic University of America.  The Washington Theological Consortium includes non-Catholics.  Evidently, Catholic University is not a sufficient draw to keep the Washington Theological Union open. 

          Raymond Arroyo did not mention the closing when his invited guest, Cardinal

Donald Wuerl announced the opening of the Blessed John Paul II Seminary.[5]  It seems

to me there has to be a relationship between closing the Theological Union and opening the new John Paul II Seminary. 

I anticipate that Wuerl will bless the seminary October 22, the feast day of John Paul II and the anniversary of his installation as pope in 1978.  The Washington Archdiocese has scheduled the ceremony for the Saturday before these readings are scheduled.  The new seminary will accommodate thirty men, who will take classes at Catholic University, where Wuerl is Chancellor.[6] 

Verse 23

Lectionary:    My wrath will flare up, and I will kill you with the sword;

                               then your own wives will be widows, and your children

                                         orphans.

NABRE:        My wrath will flare up, and I will kill you with the sword; then your own wives will be widows, and your children orphans.

The differences appear to be only a matter of form.

Verse 24

Lectionary:    “If you lend money to one of your poor neighbors among my

                                         people,

                               you shall not act like an extortioner toward him

                               by demanding interest from him.

NABRE:        If you lend money to my people, the poor among you, you must not be like a money lender [sic]; you must not demand interest from them.

The Lectionary leaves the impression that Jews are not to accept interest from

neighbors, but the NABRE confines that prohibition to fellow Jews.  I have a memory

from my seminary days, over fifty years ago, that the NABRE is correct.

Verse 25

Lectionary:    If you take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge,

                               you shall return it to him before sunset;

NABRE:        If you take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, you shall return it to him before sunset;

Verse 26

Lectionary:              for this cloak of his is the only covering he has for his body. 

                     What else has he to sleep in? 

                     If he cries out to me, I will hear him; for I am compassionate.”

NABRE:        for this is his only covering; it is the cloak for his body.  What will he sleep in?  If he cries out to me, I will listen; for I am compassionate.  [No closing quotation marks.]

 

Psalm 18:2-3, 3-4, 47, 51 (2)

It is more productive to lay out everything in both versions.

Verse 2

Lectionary:    I love you, O LORD, my strength,

NABRE:        He said:  I love you, LORD, my strength,


 

Verse 3

Lectionary:              O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.  My God, my rock of refuge, my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold!

NABRE:                  LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, 

                     My God, my rock of refuge,

                               my shield, my saving horn, my strong-

                                         hold!

Verse 4

Lectionary:    Praised be the LORD, I exclaim,

                               and I am safe from my enemies. 

                     The LORD lives and blessed be my rock! 

                               Extolled be God, my savior

NABRE:        Praised be the LORD, I exclaim! 

                               I have been delivered from my enemies.

Verse 47

Lectionary:    The LORD lives and blessed be my rock! 

                               Extolled be God my savior.

NABRE:        The LORD lives!  Blessed be my rock! 

                               Exalted be God, my savior!

Verse 51

Lectionary:    You who gave great victories to your king

                               and showed kindness to your anointed.

NABRE:        You have given great victories to your

                                         king,

                               and shown mercy to his anointed,

                               to David and his posterity forever.

Here is sloppy scholarship, again.  Documentation fails to indicate that the Lectionary verse 51 is incomplete.

 

1 Thessalonians 1:5c-10

Verse 5c

Lectionary:    … among you …

NABRE:        … [among] you …

The Greek has among bracketed.

Verse 7

Lectionary:    … for all the believers …

NABRE:        … for all the believers …

The Greek uses a participle, rather than a noun, for believers.  The idea is people believing.[7] 

Verse 8

Lectionary:    … in Achaia …

NABRE:        … [in] Achaia …

The Greek has in bracketed.

Verse 10

Lectionary:    … from the dead …

NABRE:        … from [the] dead …

Daniel B. Wallace explains, “… it is probable that … in 1 Thess 1:10 does not mean `Jesus, the one continually delivering us …,’ but `Jesus, our deliverer from the wrath that is coming,’ as is evident by the prepositional phrase that refers to a future time.”

Both the Lectionary and the NABRE translate the phrase, Jesus, who delivers us from the coming wrath.[8]  Wallace helps enhance the underlying Greek meaning of the English translation.

Matthew 22:34-40

Verse 34

Lectionary:    … Jesus had silenced …

NABRE:        … he had silenced …

Verse 35

Lectionary:    … , a scholar of the law …

NABRE:        … [a scholar of the law] …

The Greek has a scholar of the law bracketed.

 

Annotated Bibliography

Musings above the first solid line draw 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.

 

Exodus 22:20:26


 

Exod 5:15

Jeremy Schipper, “From Petition to Parable: The Prophet’s Use of Genre in 1 Kings 20:38-42”[9]

Schipper argues that cry out is ordinarily a petition for mercy or clemency, rather than judgment and condemnation.  With this verse, Schipper is helping explain the role of the prophet with Ahab and his wife, Jezebel.[10]

 

Exod 22:21-22

Daniel G. Groody, C.S.C., “Crossing the Divide:  Foundations of a Theology of Migration and Refugees”[11]

Groody observes that First Testament scholars note two basic covenants between Israel and God, Abrahamic and Mosaic.  The Abrahamic covenant is from God to Israel and is everlasting.  The Mosaic Covenant is between God and Israel and means Israel has to return the commitment of God with its own commitment.  As Raymond Brown worded it, the Mosaic covenant gave Israel a conscience toward the most vulnerable of society, the widow, the orphan, and the immigrant.  Immigrants are especially important to the United States, because everyone, except the native American, is an immigrant of one sort or another.  Material above the single solid line draws from this material.

 

Exod 22:24 a and b

Michael C. McCarthy, S.J., “Divine Wrath and Human Anger:  Embarrassment Ancient and New”[12]

Ancient north African attitudes toward divine wrath make sense with its analogy to human anger.  Anger has its rightful place making human society work toward human good.  The ancient north Africans realized that divine wrath worked toward the same end, with the clear horrible warning of Exodus, I will kill you with the sword:  then your own wives will be widows and your children orphans.

 


 

Exodus 2:20-26

Joseph F. Wimmer, O.S.A., review of Georg Fischer and Dominik Markl, Das Buch Exodus[13]

Wimmer reports that Fischer and Markl argue from a focused theological perspective.  Exodus is about Israel in the Early Bronze Age, about 1400-1200 B.C., as understood about 400 B.C.  The basic thought is freedom from slavery obtained through concern with God for the most dispossessed of society.  Wimmer finds the study relevant for modern society.

 

Psalm 18:2-3, 3-4, 47, 51 (2)

Psalm 18:4-20

Dirk J. Human, review of Reinhard Muller, Jahwe als Wettergott:  Studien sur althebraischen Kultlyrik anhand ausgewahlter Psalmen[14]

Muller argues that Psalm 18:4-20 is about God, the Weather God, who keeps the Faithful safe from chaos.  That is what my rock of refuge means.  The reviewer, Human, concludes, “The book is highly recommendable [sic] to be read by students and scholars of biblical, OT, ancient Oriental, and Hebrew studies.”

 

1 Thessalonians 1:5c-10

1 Thess 1:5

Jaime Clark-Soles, review of Audrey Dawson, Healing, Weakness and Power:  Perspectives on Healing in the Writings of Mark, Luke and Paul[15]

Dawson argues that what sort of people we were among you and the rest of the verse from last Sunday, relates to healing.  Dawson, however, observes that if Paul is referring to healing, Paul is downplaying the activity.  Clark-Soles describes the work as a “serviceable monograph” pertaining “to issues of theodicy, medical ethics, and historical Jesus studies.”  The review leaves me cold.

 

John 14:23

 

Matthew 22:34-40

Matthew 22:34-40

The Church makes this passage from Matthew available for visits to the sick.[16]

 

 

For my background and more on sources see the Appendix file.  Personal Notes are on the web site at www.western-civilization.com/CBQ/Personal%20Notes.

 



[1] 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).

 

[2] Patricia Zapor, Catholic News Service, Washington, “Washington Theological Union is closing,”  The Catholic Virginian, Vol. 86, No. 20 (July 25, 2011), page 11, col. 4-5.  Also, see http://www.google.com/search?q=Washiington+Theological+Union&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a  (accessed July 24, 2011).

 

[5] Raymond Arroyo, the Encore Presentation on ETWN, “The World Over,” Friday, July 22, 2011.  I do not own the technology required to record this program, and accept the risk associated therewith. 

 

[7] Daniel B. Wallace, With Scripture, Subject, and Greek Word Indexes: Greek Grammar:  Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Michigan: Zondervan, 1996) 620.

 

[8] Daniel B. Wallace, With Scripture, Subject, and Greek Word Indexes: Greek Grammar:  Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Michigan: Zondervan, 1996) 620.

 

[9] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 2 (April 2009) 270.

 

[10] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jezebel  (accessed July 24, 2011).

 

[11] Theological Studies, Vol. 70, No. 3 (September 2009) 659.

 

[12] Theological Studies, Vol. 70, No. 34(December 2009) 848.

 

[13] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 73, No. 1 (January 2011) 121.

 

[14] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 72, No. 4 (October 2010) 809.

 

[15] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 73, No. 2 (April 2011) 380.

 

[16] 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) 305.