Psalm 98:6 sing joyfully, is a call for joy, despite everything.  Happy old people are signs of lives well-lived and contentment with all God provides.  Happy old people are a consolation to the soul and a beacon of hope to the young.  Psalm 98 sets the theme for this Sunday.

As old folks like to say, “Old age is not for sissies.”  With time, the body disintegrates, with all sorts of aches and pains, in which only those directly affected, are very interested.  The pains of the end are the beginnings of new life in the next life.  So, what else is new?  Once a year, anyway, it behooves the Faithful to contemplate the last things, like death.

Luke is about maintaining, metaphorically somehow, a temple for God in the heart, a temple to remain there for life everlasting.  Politics can only enter the heart to the extent the heart-owner permits.  That means it is next to impossible for one person to judge another. 

This is not just some abstract theorizing.  What lingers in the hearts of humans is apparent in United States Supreme Court Justices, who once on the bench, secure for life, can follow truth to unexpected places.  For that reason, one never knows for sure how Supreme Court Justices will decide cases.  Neither does one know how God will decide cases, either.  From Sacred Scripture, the Faithful know that personal and group accountability are facts of life with which, eventually, everyone must deal.

In the ordinary course of events, old age harbors death.  That helps people think about meeting God and may account for why the Pope rarely appoints young men bishops.  That would not account for why the practice of female bishops ended centuries ago.  See Ordained Women in the Early Church for a full accounting.[1]

Readings for this Sunday suit contemplating one’s own death.  Contemplating death is a painful aspect of life on earth.  The very first Christians thought the rapture would come before death did.  Physical death is not essential to the Christian life.  Death, nevertheless, happens, so it is right to seek consolation in passing on to the next life. 

Malachi presents death as a purification of the human community, a Divine ethnic cleansing.  The pangs of death can also purify the individual soul for eternal life.  When people feel death is nearby, they often try “to get right with the Lord.”

Thessalonians embraces and enhances the future, rather than despairs.  Young people, contemplating their futures, can despair.  That is why college professors may even skip a scheduled class if they find themselves dealing with an unscheduled person considering suicide.  In the final analysis, with the Psalmist, the Faithful can sing joyfully.




First Reading                     Malachi 3:19-20a

Responsorial Psalm:          Psalm 98:5-6, 7-8, 9 (cf. 9)

Second Reading:               2 Thessalonians 3:7-12

Alleluia:                             Luke 21:28

Gospel:                             Luke 21-5-19


Annotated Bibliography

Musings above the solid line draw from material below.  Those uninterested in scholarly and tangential details should stop reading here.  If they do, however, they may miss some interesting details.


Malachi 3:19-20a


Psalm 98:5-6, 7-8, 9 (cf. 9)

Psalm 98:6

Nancy L. DeClassé-Walford, “Psalm 145:  All Flesh Will Bless God’s Holy Name”[2]

DeClassé-Walford notes, “Although the idea of God as king is expressed many times in the Psalter, only here and in Ps 98:6 does the psalmist refer to God as “the king.”


Psalm 98:8

Gianni Barbiero, “Psalm 132:  A Prayer of `Solomon’”[3]

Barbiero argues that the rejoicing, for joy, has a collective eschatological (ultimate purpose) sense.


2 Thessalonians 3:7-12

Personal Notes cites members of the Protestant Revolt in the spirit of Gerald O’Collins, S.J., writing,[4]


In fact, by allowing the liturgy to be celebrated in the vernacular, by stressing “the table of God’s word” along with the importance of the homily (no. 52), and by granting to the laity—although restricted to certain circumstances—communion “under both kinds” (no. 55), Vatican II conceded the demands of Martin Luther and other 16th-century Protestant reformers, albeit in the 20th century.  In short, while SC [Sacrosanctum concilium [sic]] did not use explicitly the language of “reform” or “reformation,” what it enacted can and should be described in those terms.


2 Thessalonians 3:10

Huldrych Zwingli (1484-1531), “Annotations on Genesis 3:19”[5]

The Protestant revolutionary, Zwingli, writes, “The decree is a general one: leisure, which is the mother of all vices, is prohibited, for we are all born to labor, and the one who does not labor should not eat.  No one is excused from this law, at least if they fear God; indeed, it is a punishment for sin.”  For context, Martin Luther lived 1483-1546.  Luther and Zwingli were almost exact contemporaries.


2 Thessalonians 3:10

Daniel B. Wallace, With Scripture, Subject, and Greek Word Indexes: Greek Grammar:  Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament[6]

Wallace is very technical as he explains In fact, when we were with you, we instructed you that if anyone was unwilling to work, neither should that one eat.  Wallace comments on the words with, anyone, unwilling to work, and that one.  None of his comments make the translation any clearer than it already is.


Luke 21:28


Luke 21-5-19

Luke 21:12-15

Joshua D. Garroway “`Apostolic Irrestibility’ and the Interrupted Speeches in Acts”[7]

Garroway argues,


In what follows I suggest that a brief passage in his prior volume—Luke 21:12-15 [used here]—holds the key for unlocking the mystery of Luke’s use of interruption in Acts.  When Luke has Jesus comfort the apostles by assuring them that he will provide irrefutable words and wisdom in their future endeavors, Luke betrays a conception of apostolic irrestibility that poses a problem when he narrates the affairs of the early church.  The frequent interruptions in Acts allow Luke to reconcile this view of apostolic preaching with both historical reality and literary conventions.  As we will see, Luke at times prevents his speakers from reaching the end of their address because, quite simply, he cannot have it otherwise.


Luke 21:11

Maurice A. Robinson, “Rule 9, Isolated Variants, and the `Test-Tube’ Nature of the NA27/UBS4 Text: A Byzantine-Priority Perspective”[8]

There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.  Without indicating which ones, Robinson reports this verse has zero-support for three variant units.  The point is not to challenge the eclectic Greek, but simply to note difficulty putting it together.


Personal Notes gave up systematically examining the illiterate 2011 Missal November 25, 2012.  On April 7, 2013, with Reading 045C 2nd Sunday of Easter_A Catholic Bible Study 130407, Personal Notes systematically began to incorporate material from A Commentary on the Order of Mass of The Roman Missal:  A New English Translation:  Developed under the Auspices of the Catholic Academy of Liturgy, Edward Foley (ed.) (Collegeville, Minnesota:  Liturgical Press, 2011).  The hope is that this approach will help pray with the new Missal, despite itself.


Mary Collins and Edward Foley, “Mystagogy:  Discerning the Mystery of Faith”[9]

Collins and Foley head the final two pages of their article with “Mystagogue Defined.”  Understanding what is meant by Mystagogue is so important that the following three Sundays will repeat what is there.


Officially [sic] the Roman Catholic Church seems to define Mystagogy in two different ways.  In the RCIA [Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, 1988] Mystagogy is defined as “the period of post-baptismal catechesis” (no. 244).  This period is meant to help both the community and the newly initiated to “grow in deepening their grasp of the paschal mystery and in making it part of their lives.”  This is achieved in three ways:  “through meditation on the Gospel, sharing in the eucharist [sic], and doing the works of charity” (no. 244).  The CCC [Catechism of the Catholic Church], on the other hand, seems to equate Mystagogy with “liturgical catechesis.”  Thus [sic] it instructs:  “Liturgical catechesis aims to initiate people into the mystery of Christ (It is `mystagogy.’) by proceeding from the visible to the invisible, from the sign to the thing signified, from the `sacraments’ to the ‘mysteries’” (no. 1075).  The CCC then goes on to note that [sic] “such catechesis is to be presented by local and regional catechisms” (no. 1075).


Liturgical involvement is what makes mystagogy important for Personal Notes.


For more on sources see the Appendix file.  A complete set of Personal Notes, dating from the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 14, 2002 to the present, is on the web site at 



The Responsorial Antiphon for this Sunday is The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice (cf. Psalm 98:9).[10]   This means that death can be a blessed relief from physical pain and spiritual suffering.


In the gobbledygook prayer at Sunday Mass immediately following mention of forgiven sins, the Faithful hearing the 2011 Roman Missal can listen for “the constant gladness of being devoted to you”[11] and apply the prayer to the rigors of advancing age.


This is a call for grace that some Black Baptists bring to mind with “Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore” (Exodus 14:30).[12]  Getting the Egyptians away from Israel is like getting evil people out of the community and evil itself out of individual personal souls.


[1] Ordained Women in the Early Church:  A Documentary History.  Edited and Translated by Kevin Madigan and Carolyn Osiek.  (Baltimore, Maryland:  The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005.  Pp. xvi, 220.  $48.00).  Reviewed by William Tabbernee, Phillips Theological Seminary in The Catholic Historical Review, January 2007, pages 127-128.


[2] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 74, No. 1 (July 2012) 57, 58.


[3] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 75, No. 2 (July 2013) 248.


[4] Theological Studies, Vol. 73, No. 4 (December 2012) 772.


[5] in Reformation Commentary on Scripture:  Old Testament I: Genesis I—II, (ed.) John L. Thompson (Downers Grove, Illinois:  IVP Academic, An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 2012) 168.


[6] Grand Rapids: Michigan: Zondervan, 1996, 359, 459, 706.


[7] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 74, No. 4 (July 2012) 740, 741, 745.  The quote is from pages 740-741.


[8] in Translating the New Testament:  Text, Translation, Theology, Stanley E. Porter and Mark J. Boda (eds.) (Grand Rapids, Michigan:  William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2009) 60.


[9] in A Commentary on the Order of Mass of The Roman Missal:  A New English Translation:  Developed under the Auspices of the Catholic Academy of Liturgy, Edward Foley (ed.) (Collegeville, Minnesota:  Liturgical Press, 2011) 89-91.  The quotation is from page 99.


[10] 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 the Saints (Collegeville, Minnesota:  The Liturgical Press, 1988) 808.  Personal Notes refers to this book as the Lectionary.


[11] n.a., The Roman Missal:  Renewed by Decree of the Most Holy Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, Promulgated by Authority of Pope Paul VI and Revised at the Direction of Pope John Paul II:  English Translation According to the Third Typical Edition:  For Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America:  Approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Confirmed by the Apostolic See (Washington, DC, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2011) 493.  Personal Notes refers to this book as the Missal.


[12] UMI Annual Sunday School Lesson Commentary:  Precepts for Living ®: 2013-2014:  International Sunday School Lessons:  Volume 165:  UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.), a. Okechuku Ogbonnaya, Ph.D., (ed.) (Chicago, IL  60643: UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.), 2013) 124-125.