These readings lend themselves to praying about the differences between a happy, joyful and an unhappy, miserable marriage.  The reading from Maccabees may have a secular, Hellenistic bent.  Following that line of praying, the Faithful should be happy to make whatever sacrifices are necessary for happiness.  Abuse is never necessary.  Prudence is always required.

Psalm 17 is written within the context of the suffering of Maccabees.  2 Thessalonians uses the same Greek root word for wicked people, and the evil one.  In that way, Satan becomes a stand-in for the antagonist in an abusive marriage or for the antagonistic aspects inherent even in a non-abusive marriage.

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus makes the point that the crass aspects associated with marriage and remarriage are not present in the next life.  In the overall context of marriage, the message from 2 Thessalonians is that God will protect spouses from the disorderly aspects in their lives.

This is not to say that spouses are obliged to remain in a disorderly union.  Sometimes it is more orderly to get out of a marital union, than to remain.  The protection that God offers from Thessalonians does not deny the need for prudence in all things, but is offered within the context of whatever prudence spouses can muster in their various situations.


Annotated Bibliography

Material above the double line draws from material below the double line.  Those uninterested in scholarly details should stop reading here.  If they do, however, they may miss some of the fun stuff scholars are digging up.


First Reading: 2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14

          Maccabees 7:14

          David A. DeSilva, “The Sinaiticus Text of 4 Maccabees”[1]

          DeSilva points out that there is no single unchallenged text for Sacred Scripture.  What is used, he labels “eclectic,” by which he means what is considered the best way to solve discrepancies between texts.  DeSilva chooses to concentrate on the Sinaiticus Text, as if it were unchallenged by other texts.  DeSilva then compares the Sinaiticus Text with similar Greek writings to conclude that there is a relationship specifically between 2 Maccabees 7:14 and Greek standards of virtue.


Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 17:1, 5-6, 8, 15 (15b)

          Psalm 17

          Paul R. Raabe, review of David G. Firth, Surrendering Retribution in the Psalms: Responses to Violence in the Individual Complaints[2]

          Raabe makes the point that violence is not an option for the psalmist.  The psalmist leaves violence and retribution to God.


Second Reading: 2 Thessalonians 2:16—3:5


Alleluia: Revelation 1:5a, 6b


Gospel: Luke 20:27-38

          Luke 20:32-33

          Paul Elbert, “An Observation on Luke's Composition and Narrative Style of Questions"[3]

          Elbert observes that Luke explains this question from the Sadducees by Jesus saying that the wife is already dead, before presenting the question, about whose wife she will be in the afterlife.


Luke 20:35-36

Margaret Barker, The Great High Priest: The Temple Roots of Christian Liturgy[4]

Luke writes, “They can no longer die, for they are like angels.”  Barker comments, “One of the secrets of the holy of holies was resurrection, the state beyond time and matter, and so Jesus described the resurrected as sons of God, angles (Luke 20:36).”  Barker goes on, “There may even have been the question of celibacy: Jesus’ definition of angels, that they do not marry because they are resurrected and are sons of God (Luke 20:35-36), must be relevant to the Christians’ understanding of themselves as the new angel priesthood.”



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


[1] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 1 (January 2006) 59.


[2] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 1 (January 2007) 114.


[3] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 1 (January 2004) 102.


[4] London: T & T Clark International: A Continuum imprint, 2003 77, 113, 123.