These notes are prepared long in advance because we will be unusually busy October 30-November 8.
These readings match the desires of the spirit with the desires of the flesh. The idea is to learn from the flesh what to do about the spirit, to learn to desire God from the way people desire worldly pleasure.
verse 13 She [Wisdom] hastens to make herself known in anticipation of their [those who seek Wisdom] desire
In the Nova Vulgata, Saint Jerome uses concupiscent, concupiscence, for desire.
verse 15 For taking thought of her is the perfection of prudence
Some of the other translations into English are interesting.
The King James Version does not recognize the Book of Wisdom as part of the inspired canon.
Douay-Rheims: To think therefore upon her [Wisdom], is perfect understanding.
The New American Bible replaces their desire with men’s desire.
The Jerusalem Bible: Even to think about her is understanding fully grown.
The New Jerusalem Bible Meditating on her is understanding in its perfect form.
This semantic focus on prudence relates to the prudent virgins found below in the Gospel.
verse 16 because she makes her own rounds, seeking those worthy of her, and graciously appears to them in the ways, and meets them with all solicitude.
Douay-Rheims: For she goeth about seeking such as are worthy of her, and she sheweth herself to them cheerfully in the ways, and meeteth them with all providence.
Jerusalem: She herself walks about looking for those who are worthy of her and graciously shows herself to them as they go, in every thought of theirs coming to meet them.
New Jerusalem: For she herself searches everywhere for those who are worthy of her, benevolently appearing to them on their ways, anticipating their every thought.
New American Bible follows the Lectionary.
Psalm 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8
verse 2 O God, you are my God whom I seek; for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.
A scholar elaborates on the tenor of Psalm 63.
In order to understand the reactions of the two remaining groups (the “vast nations,” and their kings) to the Servant—the Faithful might look first at [Isa] 52:15b, “But kings shall shut their mouths.” The general consensus is that this gesture signals some kind of shock or astonishment, but M. Gruber has shown that in ancient Near Eastern literature “to open the mouth” and similar expressions mean to smile, laugh. Conversely, “to shut the mouth” means to refuse to smile, to sulk. This meaning is abundantly evident in Psalm 107:42, “The upright shall see (this) and rejoice (weyismahu), but all the wicked shall shut their mouth (qapesa piha).” This contrast between the just rejoicing and the wicked closing their mouth appears in Psalm 63:12: “And the king shall rejoice (yismah) in God… but the mouth of those who speak lies shall be shut (yissaker).”
To summarize thus far as regards
the opening stanza [of Isaiah], the Servant is portrayed as a wisdom figure who
“instructs” certain groups—“the high, the exalted, and the lofty”—which are
specified a few verses later as the rabbim,
the “vast nations” and (their) “kings.” At
least according to 52:14 the “great ones” are unable to get beyond their shock
and grief over the Servant so as to understand his instruction. In contrast, nothing is said about the
reaction of the “vast nations” to his appearance. But somehow they do “understand” his unspoken teaching and rejoice over him. They are most likely the subject of 52:15cd,
“For what they had never been told they perceived what they had never heard
they understood.” Finally, the leaders of these nations, the
members of the third group, have yet another reaction to the Servant. They adopt a posture of sulking and refuse to
join their subjects in rejoicing over the Servant. None of the groups reacts here with the “surprise”
or “astonishment” reflected in most translations, nor do any of them react to
the purported “exaltation” of the Servant. They react rather to what God teaches through
him: his vicarious suffering for
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
verse 14 For if we believe that
A scholar comments.
The context of 1 Thess indicates that
Paul, appealing to the Thessalonians’ faith in the saving power and promise of the Lord’s death and resurrection, reassures them: “since we believe that Jesus died and rose again…God will bring with him those who have died through Jesus.” He is telling them that this should be clear to them from their Easter faith. Basically, he is asserting that the promise of God holds true even for those among them who have died. In vv. 16-17 he insists that at the Lord’s coming the deceased believers will be brought to life first.
To cite the Lectionary:
verses 15-18 Indeed, we tell you this, on the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will surely not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself, with a word of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God, will come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore, console one another with these words.
Continuing with the scholar:
But in 1 Thess 4:14, in the rush to state that the deceased faithful will then be with the Lord, Paul leaps over his own thought, leaving it incomplete. He does not state clearly where the deceased are taken. Clearly, axei implies that they were brought to life and then taken somewhere. Verses 16-18 indicate that the dead are first restored to life, then taken up on the clouds to the lofty heights above the earth. Verses 15-18 indicate that Paul thinks of full human beings taken up, body and soul, to join the risen Lord: the dead are first brought back to life, then they are taken up. The implication is that they are brought to life so that they can be taken up. The use of the cloud as a vehicle of transportation supports this interpretation.
is strengthened by 2 Cor 4:14, which is a close parallel to 1 Thess 4:14. In 2 Cor as well,
This explanation makes
The imagery in 1 Thess 4:16-18 suggests that
Thus, the taking
up, as it is understood here by
In this explanation, v. 14 and vv. 16-18 complement each other. On the one hand, v. 14 indicates that God brings the deceased faithful into his presence (hence, the taking up in vv. 16-18 means being assumed into the glory of God). On the other hand, the resurrection of the dead mentioned in v. 16 implies that axei in v. 14b includes the resurrection.
What Paul says in 2 Cor 4:14, which emerged as a real parallel to 1 Thess 4:14, has to do with his own death rather than with the deceased faithful. At 1 Thess , he deals with the presence of the deceased at the Lord’s coming. He expresses his firm conviction that God, through Jesus, will raise him and will place him in God’s presence. The parallelism with 1 Thess 4:14 suggests that the faithful, as well, will be raised from the dead through Jesus and will be brought into God’s presence. If this interpretation is correct, 2 Cor 4:14 discloses that Paul’s ideas on the parousia in 2 Cor 4:14 have not changed much from those in 1 Thess 4:13-18. He still presumes that some will be alive at the Lord’s coming, and apparently he still imagines the encounter with the Lord as a taking up.
[no comment here]
The grammarian is exercised over this first verse.
Parables are often introduced by the formula omoiwqhsetai, wmoiwqn, omois estin, with a following dative which however does not correspond, or corresponds only inexactly, to the term of the comparison. Thus “the kingdom of God” is not in reality “like unto a merchant,” but is likened to the pearl of great price (Matt 13:45); nor is it “like unto ten virgins,” but to the wedding (Matt 25:1), nor is it “like the sower, but like the harvest (Matt 13:24). This looseness of expression is to be accounted for by the fact that the formulae omoios estin etc. are added in the Greek, the Aramaic using simply the preposition le corresponding to the dative; for the Jews were accustomed to introduce parables by a formula such as Mashal: le (melek she…I, “Similitude: to (a king who…)” (for examples see Strack-Billerbeck II, 8), this being an elliptical form of: “I will tell you a similitude. To what can the affair be likened? To (a king who…)”: cf. in the Gospel a similar full formula with the question in Matt. 11:6; Mk ff; Lk (; ff; ff.) Clearly the Aramaic formula, and consequently also the Greek one used to render it, is not to be understood as “the kingdom of heaven is like a king,” but “concerning the kingdom, it is as in the case of a king.” Though this interpretation is clearly enough called for in the examples cited above, this is less clear in others. Thus it is not so sure that we can maintain that the kingdom of heaven is really to be likened not to the grain of mustard-seed or the leaven, but to the tree wherein the birds nest and the leavened dough (J. Jeremias, Die Gleichnisse Jesu, ed. 5, 1956, p. 85 ff; and for the last-mentioned doubtful point cf. O. Kuss, Zum Sinngehalt des Doppelgleichnisses vom Senfkorn und Sauerteig, Biblica 40 (1959) 641-53, where it is shown that the idea of the evolution of the kingdom of heaven cannot be excluded from the parable).
verse 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise.
Wisdom is seeking
God like people seek personal pleasures, as the flesh pines for the psalmist,
The Magnificat ®
readings are from Caryll Houselander. Houselander appears
like a Catholic Worker, focusing on the poor. Like St.
Learning to desire God from the way people desire worldly pleasure seems exemplified in this smoking, swearing mystic who thought of herself as a woodcarver. Mine is not and never has been one of her “in many minds virginity is associated only with negative qualities, with impotence—impotence of body and mind, emotional and spiritual impotence.” Pray, pay, and obey impotence is my main concern with Magnificat spirituality.
The spiritual life consists not only of the passive virtues, but also of the active virtues. Once nailed to the Cross, few options remain; but actively choosing the options that lead to the Cross is the test of discernment. Houselander was considered neurotic; Saint Isaac of Nineveh wrote on depression. The readings for this Sunday explore such tensions of life. The knack of it all is to make what choices the Faithful may have as inspired by the Spirit as the Faithful can make them.
 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)
Cassell’s Latin Dictionary: Latin-English
and English-Latin revised by
General Editor, The
The Holy Bible: Translated from the Latin
Vulgate with Annotations, References, and an Historical and Chronological
Table: The Douay Version of The Old Testament, First published by the English
College at Douay, A.D. 1609: The Confraternity Edition of The New Testament: A
Revision of the Challoner-Rheims Version Edited by Catholic Scholars under the
Patronage of the Episcopal Committee of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine
(New York. P.
 Saint Joseph Edition of The New American Bible: Translated from the Original Languages with Critical Use of All the Ancient Sources: Including The Revised New Testament and the Revised Psalms Authorized by the Board of Trustees of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine and Approved by the Administrative Committee/Board of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and the United States Catholic Conference: with many helps for Bible reading: Vatican II Constitution on Divine Revelation, How to Read the Bible, Historical Survey of the Lands of the Bible, Bible Dictionary, Liturgical Index of Sunday Readings, Doctrinal Bible Index, and over 50 Photographs and Maps of the Holy Land (New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1992).
 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, page 22-23.