These readings are about God as Lord of history.  As an historian, I want to examine how that can be.  The major issue in developing any such theory is Church politics determining truth.  The function of an historian is to present the truth, aware of the political repercussions, whether of Church or State.


First Reading: Proverbs 8:22:22-31

          Proverbs 8:1-36

          Richard Clifford, S.J., and Khaled Anatolois, "Christian Salvation: Biblical and Theological Perspectives"[1]

          As Clifford words it, “Wisdom is an attractive woman inviting the young man (the ideal reader in Proverbs) to live with her.”  Proverbs 8:1-36 is “one of her three speeches.”  More importantly, as Wisdom was with God in the beginning (Proverbs 8:22-23), so was Jesus with God “in the beginning” (John 1:1 and with the Father before the world existed (John 17:5).


          Prov 8:1-36

          Jeremy Corley, “A Numerical Structure in Sirach 44:1—50:24”[2]

          Corley tentatively links the thirty-six bicola (two lines) of Sirach 50:1-24 with Proverbs 8:1-36.  Corley works to include mathematics as part of Wisdom.


          Proverbs 8:22-32

Margaret Barker, The Great High Priest: The Temple Roots of Christian Liturgy[3]

          Proverbs portrays Wisdom in many ways.  One way is as a female enticing a male to love her for what she is.  Some texts suggest that a female figure was in the holy of holies.  Another way is as a woman giving birth, before the visible world had been formed and made.  This means that Wisdom was the first work of the Creator.  Barker states that a female figure is clearly present in these Lectionary readings, namely Proverbs 8:22-31.  She means Wisdom is a female figure, which later Christians identified with the Virgin Mary, Queen of Wisdom.


          Barker writes, “She [Wisdom] was also `begotten’ (Prov. 8:22), qnh, a word whose meaning is often avoided; the LXX [Greek Septuagint] used gennan, to beget) but which appears elsewhere in the context of the children of God and the sons of God.”  The Lectionary uses possessed, a transliteration of the Vulgate.  As with so much of Barker, I do not know what to make of this.

          The phrase brought forth in Proverbs 8:24-25 refers to a birthing process.  Proverbs 8 is about the first day of creation, with Wisdom as a co-creator.  Barker explains, “The creation was thus the work of two, a male and a female, as in Genesis 1:26-27.  Proverbs 8 is about a veil between the higher forms and created reality.  W. E. B. DuBois also wrote of a veil that required penetration in order to understand the human condition.  Referring to Psalm 73, Barker writes, “The veil is not mentioned, but the subject matter is familiar: the juxtaposition of creation, history and `the beginning’ suggest a vision in the holy of holies, with the prophet [Isaiah] standing on the far side of the veil.”

          The phrase marked out the vault and set for the sea its limit describes God bringing order out of chaos.  In interpreting the facts, historians also try to bring order out of chaos.  The knack is to include all of the facts, whether they neatly fit the interpretation or not.

          Proverbs 8:30, I was beside him as his craftsman, includes the development of history.  God is God of history.  One function of the historian is to find God there.  The way to do that is to interpret the relationship between the truth and politics as they stack up, one against the other.


          Prov 8:22

          Paul Niskanen, "Yhwh as Father, Redeemer, and Potter in Isaiah 63:7-6411"[4]

          The LORD possessed me, clearly refers to creation by God.


          Prov 8:27-31

Gloria L. Schaab, "A Procreative Paradigm of the Creative Suffering of the Triune God: Implications of Arthur Peacocke's Evolutionary Theology"[5]

          This article is speculative theology trying to understand how a loving God can permit evils such as those associated with the movements of the tectonic plates and much more in nature.  God is able to draw good from evil, as nature replenishes itself at the terrible cost of death unto life.  Schaab speculates that God participates in the anguish associated with the evil aspects inherent in nature through the changing relationship between God and creation.

          The evils of nature are physical.  Human evil, in contrast, is moral.  The fundamental moral evil involves denial of human rights.  All human rights involve the right to dissent from established authority.  That includes not only the right to sin, when dissenting from the established authority of God, but also the right to exercise courage in the face of human authority, which is not clearly from God.  The Church canonizes many Saints because they stood up to misplaced ecclesiastical authority.

          Presently, the Magisterium fails to recognize any human right to dissent.  This leaves history to approach human rights not as an advocate, but as an observer, pleased to see the concept developed.  The Magisterium is beginning with the right to life as a quantitative matter.  The Faithful are also interested in the right to life as a qualitative matter.


          Prov 8:31

          Aelred Cody, O.S.B., review of Sebastiano Pinto, “Ascolta figlio”: Autorità e antropologia dell’ insegnamento in Proverbi 1—9[6]

          Pinto includes Proverbs 8:31 as belonging to a genre of instruction.  Pinto unsuccessfully tries to build a case for biblical theology using human sciences such as sociology, anthropology, and psychology.


Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 8:4-5, 6-7, 8-9


Second Reading: Romans 5:1-5

          Rom 5:3-4

          Edward L. Bode, review of Filippo Urso, Imparò L’Obbedienza dalle Cose Che Pati” Eb 5, 8: Il valore educativo della sofferenza in Gesù e nei cristiani nella Lettera agli Ebrei[7]

          Urso studies the educational value of suffering for Jesus and Christians in the Letter to the Hebrews.  In the process of this study, Urso notes Romans 5:3-4.  Though the quote is not from the Lectionary, but from the reviewer, Urso regards this passage as referring to learning through suffering, “through tribulations, believers attain hope of the future glory of God.”


          Rom 5:5

          Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, S.J., “Bernard Lonergan at the Service of the Church”[8]

          Martini is offering a panegyric in honor of his fellow-Jesuit, Bernard J. F. Lonergan (1904-1984).  Lonergan integrated theology with history and other types of knowing.  Lonergan published over twenty volumes.  Martini links “a certain `mystical’ vision of human existence” between Lonergan and Romans 5:5, used by the Lectionary.  The following review follows that theme.


          Rom 5:5

          Jill Raitt, review of Elizabeth A. Dreyer and Mars S. Burrows (eds.), Minding the Spirit: The Study of Christian Spirituality[9]

          Links Augustine with Romans 5:5.  Raitt observes that “In the near future, 75% of the world’s population will live in cities,” thereby making Augustine increasingly important.  Dreyer is developing “the new [academic] field of lived religion.  This is important for the Magisterium, because to the extent the Magisterium loses credibility with the Faithful, lived religion is like a boat without a rudder.  Raitt writes, “This book is essential … particularly for historians.”  Raitt quotes Philip Sheldrake to say, “the outer world is not the problem.  The problem is living exteriorly, that is, “out of our skins,” something important for those concerned about racism.


          Rom 5:5

Christiaan Jacobs-Vandegeer, “Sanctifying Grace in a `Methodical Theology’”[10]

          Though written after the article by Cardinal Martini, Jacobs-Vandegeer does not cite the Cardinal.

          This article is about unscrambling the theology of the influential Bernard Lonergan.  Lonergan is a Canadian who wrote in Latin.  He seems to follow Plato and Augustine, rather than Aristotle and Aquinas and, therefore, has little appeal for me.  He wrote his doctoral dissertation in 1947, in plenty of time for my seminary professors to digest, by the time I left, after seven years, in 1959.  As I understand the problem, the problem is between understanding sanctifying grace as charity and experiencing that same charity in the soul, within the context of various Church dogmas.  Jacobs-Vandegeer cites Romans 5:5 to equate the love of God [that] has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us with sanctifying grace.

          One may smile wondering what Lonergan means by his remark, “I do not think that only cognitional acts are conscious.”


Alleluia: cf. Revelation 1:8


Gospel: John 16:12-15

          John 16:4b-33

          Francis J. Moloney, S.D.B., "Raymond Brown's New Introduction to the Gospel of John A Presentation—And Some Questions"[11]



          John 16:4b-33

          Craig E. Morrison, O.Carm., “The `Hour of Distress’ in Targum Neofiti and the `Hour’ in the Gospel of John[12]

          The Lectionary does not offer a passage long enough to make this article relevant.


          John 16:12

Margaret Barker, The Great High Priest: The Temple Roots of Christian Liturgy[13]

          Barker uses the phrase, but you cannot bear it now to support her Chapter I. “The Secret Tradition.”  The purpose of Barker writing is to unveil the secret tradition.


          John 16:13

          Kelli S. O'Brien, "Written That You May Believe: John 20 and Narrative Rhetoric"[14]

          O’Brien writes, “believing is characterized not so much by understanding as by acceptance of Jesus and a willingness to be taught.  Receptivity is rewarded by further revelation and greater understanding.  Faith comes progressively, not whole but in stages.  O’Brien includes John 16:13, the Spirit of truth among the citations to make his point.


          John 16:13

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, United States Catholic Catechism for Adults[15]

          The Bishops use the quote, When he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth, which is exactly the words of the Lectionary.  This quote is a prayer at the end of Chapter 9, “Receive the Holy Spirit (Jn 20:22).”  Chapter 16, “Confirmation: Consecrated for Mission,” references John 1:12-15, all of which the Lectionary uses.



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

[1] Theological Studies, Vol. 66, No. 4 (December 2005) 761, 762.


[2] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 1 (January 2007) 63.


[3] London: T & T Clark International: A Continuum imprint, 2003 118, 130, 173, 176, 180, 198, 210, 214, 246, 248, 249, 256-258, 260 (27 VG), 267, 271-272, 274, 278, 286, 291, 329, 343, 355, 356.


[4] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 3 (July 2006) 407.


[5] Theological Studies, Vol. 67, No. 3 (September 2006) 554.


[6] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 1 (January 2007) 130.


[7] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 2 (April 2006) 351.


[8] Theological Studies, Vol. 66, No. 3 (September 2005) 519.


[9] Theological Studies, Vol. 67, No. 4 (December 2006) 915.


[10] Theological Studies, Vol. 68, No. 1 (March 2007) 62, fn. 43, 63, 68.


[11] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 65, No. 1 (January 2003) 16.


[12] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 67, No. 4 (October 2005) 599.


[13] London: T & T Clark International: A Continuum imprint, 2003 13


[14] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 67, No. 2 (April 2005) 291.


[15] Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2006 105*, 110, 210*.