Live forever, shine brightly, power and glory, splendor are the words for these readings.

 

Daniel 12:1-3

 

With a view toward eternal reward, this reading is also used in Funerals, page 211, Funerals for Adults.

 

verse 2b                  some shall live forever

 

A scholar thinks that the immediate context refers to the Qumran community, a chosen remnant.[1]

 

verse 2c                  others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace.

verse 3a        But the wise shall shine brightly

 

The Vulgate (circa 410):                         et alii in opprobrium sempiternum.

                                                   Qui autem docti fueriunt fulgebunt quasi splendor                                                                      firmamenti

 

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):                   and others unto reproach, to see it always

                                                   But they that are learned shall shine as the brightness                                                        of the firmament.

 

King James (1611):                                and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

                                                   And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of                                                                   the firmament;

 

Jerusalem (1966):                                  some to shame and everlasting disgrace.

                                                   The learned will shine as brightly as the vault of                                                                 heaven

 

New American (1970):                            others shall be an everlasting horror

                                                                        and disgrace

                                                   But the wise shall shine brightly

                                                              Like the splendor of the firmament

 

New Jerusalem (1985):                          some to shame and everlasting disgrace

                                                   Those who are wise will shine as brightly as the                                                                       expanse of the heavens,

 

One reason for wise, rather than learned is more people are wise than learned and because the liturgists appropriately[2] associate this passage with the last things, with the final rewards of a good life.

 

For several reasons, I look for positive, encouraging aspects of the readings, rather than negative, discouraging aspects.  One reason is visiting the sick, people seeped in Catholicism, who have fought and are fighting the good fight and who merit hope rather than despair.  Another reason is an agnostic atheistic friend who became angry with a believing friend who said that the threat of punishment was required in order to be good.  My agnostic atheistic friend who has no religious fear of hell or purgatory absolutely denied that such fear and threat was required for her to be good.  The bedevilment of the situation is that after that the believing friend gave up going to church.  Yet another reason is the Poor Clare nuns who read these Notes.  While the good nuns, like the rest of us, sometimes profit from a wake-up call, most of the time they do better concentrating on the positive aspects of the religious life.

 

Scholars point out that Daniel 12 is associated with the suffering servant of Isaiah.[3] Jesus is the suffering servant.  The consolation is that the suffering servant is there to save the Faithful, to show how to cope with evils such as discouragement and chaos.  The promise is a promise of everlasting life.

 

Psalm 16:5, 8, 9-10, 11

 

A scholar notes that Peter quotes from this Psalm in his Pentecost sermon (Acts 2:25-28).[4]

 

The Lectionary uses this Psalm at four Sunday liturgies.

 

Readings      Page in         Verses used

                     Lectionary

 

   41B            323                      5,    8, 9-10, 11 (1) Easter

   46A            369-370        1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11 (11a)

   99C           675               1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11 (5a)

 158B            966                      5,    8, 1-10, 11 (1) The readings for today.

 

verse 1          You are my inheritance, O Lord!

 

The Vulgate (circa 410):               Conserva me, Deus, quoniam speravi in te.

 

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):         Hear, O Lord, my justice: attend to my supplication.

                                                   Give ear to my prayer, which proceedeth not from                                                                        deceitful lips.

 

King James (1611):                      Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.

 

Jerusalem (1966):                        Look after me, God, I take shelter in you

 

New American (1970):                  Keep me safe, O God;

                                                              In you I take refuge.

 

New Jerusalem (1985):                Protect me, O God, in you is my refuge.

 

Where the Lectionary finds verse 1 is beyond me.

 

verse 8          I set the LORD ever before me;

 

verse 11a      You will show me the path to life.

                               fullness of joys in your presence,

                               the delights at your right hand forever.

 

The psalmist means that God is the God of history, both in its collective and personal patterns.[5]

 

Hebrews: 10:11-14, 18

 

verse 12b                and took his seat forever at the right hand of God

 

verse 14        For by one offering

                               he has made perfect forever those who are being consecrated.

 

The suffering servant here becomes the eternal high priest, offering sacrifice for human sinfulness.[6]  The point in Hebrews is that with sins forgiven, “there is no longer offering for sin.”

 

verse 18        Where there is forgiveness of these,

                               there is no longer offering for sin.

 

Through suffering, the Faithful offer meaningful sacrifices to the Father, as it were, enabling the Father, in turn, to express love for the Faithful.  Suffering has positive meaning is one of the Gospel messages.

 

One of the Fathers of the Church, Saint Ephraem (+373), confessor, deacon, and doctor, admonishes the Faithful to do penance as a sort of enclosure to protect the soul.  “Put a hedge of thorns about your field and your soil, by prayer and fasting together with instruction.  If you are protected by this enclosure, the wild beast shall not invade thee, by which I mean the devil.”[7]  This Gospel is parallel to the pre-Vatican II Gospel for the First Sunday of Advent, Luke 22:25-33.

 

Luke 21:36

 

verse 36a      Be vigilant at all times

 

Mark 13:24-32

 

verse 28a      “Learn a lesson from the fig tree.

 

The Vulgate (circa 410):               A ficu autem discite parabolam:

 

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):         “Now from the fig tree learn this

 

King James (1611):                      Now learn a parable of the fig tree;

 

Jerusalem (1966):                        “Take the fig tree as a parable:

 

New American (1970):                  “Learn a lesson from the fig tree

 

New Jerusalem (1985):                `Take the fig tree as a parable:

 

The NAB translators seem afraid of the word parable.

 

verse 26        “And then they will see `the Son of Man coming in the clouds’

                               with great power and glory.

 

Scholars suppose that Mark was set down about 80 AD and that the Thirteenth Chapter was redacted in, out of sense of what Jesus would have done, rather than out of a direct sense of what Jesus did.  As one scholar words it, “…the largely secondary chap. 13.”[8]  Mark is bracing the Faithful for the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus, a pattern the Faithful themselves experience.  The idea is that life forever, shine brightly, power and glory, and splendor are “at the door.”

 

verse 29        In the same way, when you see these things happening,

                               know that he [the Son of Man] is near, at the gates.

 

In conclusion, these readings are about the suffering servant, Jesus Christ, the eternal high priest, offering his life as a sacrifice pleasing to the Father.  Daniel is about the staying power of hope in the power and glory of God.  The Psalm is about God directing history through all vicissitudes back to the honor of the Father.  Hebrews is about the role of Jesus and the Faithful within a context of evil and chaos confusing unbelievers.  Mark is about a promise of things to come, about the Son of Man returning in all his power and glory, in a life being shared with the Faithful.

 

For more on sources, besides the footnotes, see the Appendix file.



[1] Sue Gillingham, “From Liturgy to Prophecy: The Use of Psalmody in Second Temple Judaism,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 3 (July 2002) 486

[2] Susan Fournier Mathews, “The Numbers in Daniel 12:11-12: Rounded Pythagorean Plane Numbers?” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 63, No. 4 (October 2001) 643.

 

[3] Michael L. Barré, S.S., “Textual and Rhetorical-critical Observations on the Last Servant Song (Isaiah 52:13—53:12),” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 1 (January 2000), 7.

 

[4] Paul Overland, “Did the Sage Draw from the Shema?  A Study of Proverbs 3:1-12,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 3 (July 2000) 424.

[5] Joseph Jensen, O.S.B., “Yahweh’s Plan in Isaiah and the Rest of the Old Testament,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 48, No. 3 (July 1986), 453.

 

[6] Craig R. Koester, “Hebrews, Rhetoric, and the Future of Humanity,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 1 (January 2002) 112.

 

[7] The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers: Volume One: From the First Sunday of Advent to Quinquagesima, tr. and ed. M. F. Toal, D.D. (P.O. Box 612, Swedesboro, NJ 08085: Preservation Press, 1996) 11.

 

[8] P.M. Casey, “Culture and Historicity: The Cleansing of the Temple,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 59, No. 2 (April 1997) 308.