A look at the Greek, on this ecumenical problem of the Blessed Trinity, is highly ambiguous.  Prior to the Fourth Century, the Eastern Church Fathers did not teach that there is a Holy Spirit.  The Council of Nicaea of 325 declared that Jesus was God, but did not define the Blessed Trinity.  What amazes me is that the Church did not define that the Holy Spirit existed until the Fourth Century, in 381, with the Council of Constantinople, which was only attended by Eastern bishops.  The Western Church accepted the findings of this council and that has been the traditional teaching on the Trinity ever since.[1]

This means that Biblical Faith has at least two meanings.  The first is Faith based on how the Faithful originally understood the Bible.  The second is Faith based on how the Faithful developed that understanding as time went on.[2]

With Pope Benedict XVI in the country speaking about academic freedom, a more sophisticated than pay, pray, and obey presentation of the Faith is suitable.  It makes sense that the Holy Father will speak to Presidents of Catholic Colleges about their need to produce vocations to the priesthood and religious life.  That need on the part of the Presidents of the Catholic Colleges joins to the need of the Holy Father to support Catholic higher education for the laity.

As long as the Holy Father continues to regard Catholic colleges and universities as catechetical schools, limited to teaching what rote memory can offer, there will be a continuing problem with vocations.  While rote memory can offer considerable understanding, rote memory is not the essence of higher education.  Unrelenting search for truth, in other words, thinking, is the essence of higher education.

When I went to Rome for the educational dimension of the Year 2000 Jubilee, Catholic professors from the United States seemed to boycott the proceedings.  Professors I called, before leaving, did not even know it was taking place.  When I got to Rome and addressed the historians who were there, I found European history professors who would not have attended, had they realized the attitude the Vatican was taking toward their vocations.

What I said there was that we erred to teach church history as a history of scandal, when church history was a history of the work of the Holy Spirit among the Faithful.  They applauded my comment.  The true effort to associate with the doctrine of the Holy Trinity is the effort to find the presence of that Trinity in church history.


Annotated Bibliography

Material above the double line draws from and is based upon material below the double line.  Those uninterested in scholarly and tangential details should stop reading here.  If they do, however, they may miss some of the interesting details scholars and others are presenting.


Exodus 34:4b-6, 8-9

          Exodus 25—40

          Janet S. Everhart, “Serving Women and Their Mirrors: A Feminist Reading of Exodus 38:8b”[3]

Everhart wonders what a nice verse like 38:8b, about serving women with their mirrors, is doing in a place like Exodus 25—40, which include the Lectionary readings.


          Exodus 34

          Brian Britt, “Prophetic Concealment in a Biblical Type Scene[4]

Britt uses bowed down as a sign of prophets hiding their prophecies.


          Exodus 32:30—34:9

          Gerhard Langer, review of Christoph Dohmen, Exodus 19—40.[5]

Dohmen insists that the Lord of the Hebrews was also kind and merciful.  I wonder if the Lectionary is presenting a type of schizophrenic monotheistic God for the Faithful to contemplate.


          Exodus 34:6-7

          John C. Endres, S.J., “The Spiritual Vision of Chronicles: Wholehearted, Joy-filled Worship of God”[6]

Endres argues that the gracious and compassionate God, described in these Lectionary readings, also appears in the Book of Chronicles, as the Jews develop their idea of who God is.


          Exod 34:6-7a

          Michael W. Duggan, review of Alviero Niccacci, OFM, and Roberto Tadiello, OFM CAPP, Il libro di Giona: Analisi del testo ebraico e del racconto[7]

Duggan writes that Niccacci argues “The dispositions of mercy and love, which Yhwh revealed to Israel in the covenantal renewal at Sinai, are now communicated to even the greatest of Judah’s enemies,” as the Lectionary puts it, slow to anger.  The Lectionary skips over verse 7.


          Exod 34:6-7

          John T. Willis, review of Samantha Joo, Provocation and Punishment: The Anger of God in the Book of Jeremiah and Deuteronomistic Theology[8]

Joo shows how kindness and mercy balance the wrath of God.  She wonders whether the Deuteronomic revision tried to shift blame for Jewish misfortunes from the LORD to the people.  The reviewer concludes, “… a study of God’s anger evokes a study of God’s mercy (and vice versa) for balance.)”


Daniel 3:52, 53, 54, 55 (52b)


2 Corinthians 13:11-13

          2 Cor 10—13

          Calvin J. Roetzel, review of Frank J. Matera, II Corinthians: A Commentary[9]

Matera argues that in Chapters 10—13, Paul is concerned with intruders onto his teaching.  That is why the Lectionary reading advises, mend your ways.


          2 Cor 10—13

          Daniel W. Ulrich, “The Missional Audience of the Gospel of Matthew[10]

Ulrich writes, “The tradition of hospitality within Pauline churches was so strong that they welcomed missionaries who sharply criticized Paul and preached `a different gospel’ …” as the Lectionary implies for this Sunday, for example, live in peace.


          2 Cor 10:13

          Harry P. Nasuti, “The Woes of the Prophets and the Rights of the Apostle: The Internal Dynamics of 1 Corinthians 9”[11]

Nasuti argues that in Chapters 10—13 Paul is holding up his weakness as a sign that Jesus is building him up.


          2 Cor 13:10

Robert A. J. Gagnon, “Why the `Weak’ at Rome Cannot Be Non-Christian Jews”[12]

Gagnon argues that it is Gentiles who need to live harmoniously together.


          2 Cor 13:13

          Joseph Plevnik S.J.,”The Understanding of God at the Basis of Pauline Theology”[13]

Refers to the blessing of 2 Cor 13:13 as a sign of Faith in the Holy Spirit as the basis of Pauline theology.


          2 Cor 13:13

          Jerome Murphy-O'Connor, O.P., “Tradition and Redaction in 1 Cor 15:3-7[14]

The blessing of 2 Cor 13:13 is of a universal type, with all of you.


          2 Cor 13:13

          Jeremy Corley, “The Pauline Authorship of 1 Corinthians 13”[15]

Corley argues that the three nouns of the blessing at 2 Corinthians 13:13, grace, love, and fellowship make the blessing Pauline.


cf. Revelation 1:8



John 3:16-18

          John 3:1-21

          Craig L. Blomberg, review of Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda, The Johannine Exegesis of God: An Exploration into the Johannine Understanding of God[16]

          According to Sadananda, Blomberg writes, “John 3:1-21 [of which the Lectionary uses 16-18] and 4:1-42 [used in Reading 28A, the Third Sunday of Lent] reflect the dialogues between the Johannine community and crypto [hidden]-Christians and Samaritan believers, respectively.”  In other words, the Lectionary reading for today describes the outsider Johannine community.


          John 3:1-21

          Todd E. Klutz, review of Richard L. Rohrbaugh, The New Testament in Cross-Cultural Perspective[17]

Rohrbaugh maintains that the Gospel of John arose from “an alienated group (an `anti-society’).”  That is why John has to explain that Jesus did not come to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.


          John 3:16

          Stanley B. Marrow, “Kosmos in John”[18]

Marrows argues that God giving his Son for the world means that the world is not intrinsically bad.


          John 3:16

          Robert J. Daly, S.J., “The Soteriological Significance of the Sacrifice of Isaac”[19]

Daly argues for a relationship between God sending his only son with Abraham being willing to sacrifice Isaac.


          John 3:17

          Jerome H. Neyrey, S.J., "`I Am the Door' (John 10:7, 9): Jesus the Broker in the Fourth Gospel"[20]

In the Lectionary God sent his Son, who, Neyrey observes, then came as a broker, between the Father and humanity.


          John 3:31-36

          Tom Thatcher, "John's Memory Theater: The Fourth Gospel and Ancient Mnemo-Rhetoric"[21]

Thatcher argues that the quotation marks used by the Lectionary do not definitely delineate where the speech of Jesus ends and the narrative of the evangelist begins.  The ancients did not use quotation marks or other orthographical equivalents.  The way best to understand is to treat John as delivered orally, in theater format.


          John 3:16

          Paul Lawrence, The IVP Atlas of Bible History [22]

This is one of at least ten maps without a scale of miles.  The map on page 168, however, enables a rough calculation of eighty miles between Jerusalem and Galilee, with Samaria about halfway between.


For more on sources see the Appendix file.

[2] Clint Tibbs, “The Spirit (World) and the (Holy) Spirits among the Earliest Christians: 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 as a Test Case,”  the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 2 (April 2008) 313-330.  No verses in this study pertain to Trinity Sunday.  This volume, however, arrived the day I began to prepare Personal Notes for Trinity Sunday. 


[3] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 1 (January 2004) 50.


[4] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 1 (January 2002) 37 ff., 47.


[5] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 3 (July 2006) 509.


[6] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 1 (January 2007) 15.


[7] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 1 (July 2007) 127.


[8] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 3 (July 2007) 552.


[9] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 4 (October 2004) 661.


[10] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 1 (January 2007) 80.


[11] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 50, No. 2 (July 1988) 255.


[12] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 1 (January 2000) 70.


[13] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 65, No. 4 (October 2003) 563.


[14] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 43, No. 4 (October 1981) 588.


[15] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 2 (April 2004) 273.


[16] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 67, No. 3 (July 2005) 541.


[17] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 4 (October 2007) 830.


[18] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 1 (January 2002) 97.


[19] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 39, No. 1 (January 1977) 68.


[20] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 2 (April 2007) 281, 282.


[21] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 3 (July 2007) 503, 504.


[22] Downers Grove, Illinois,  InterVarsity Press, 2006, 139.