Have mercy on me, a sinner![Lk 18:13] [1] Reconciliation Part II: Who Forgives

Definitely, all my sinfulness starts with my basic disobedience to You, God. Since Adam’s time, this is the way I have been: Behold, I was born in guilt, in sin my mother conceived me. [Ps 51:6] I have been mortally afflicted since youth. [Ps 88:16] So, of course, I must beg your forgiveness. With the Psalmist I must cry: Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love; in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions. Thoroughly wash away my guilt; and from my sin cleanse me. For I know my transgressions; my sin is always before me. [Ps 51:3-5] Just as in the time of the Temple, You do not desire sacrifice or I would give it; a burnt offering you would not accept. Instead you want obedience, contrition, humility: My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a contrite, humbled heart, O God, you will not scorn. [Ps 51:18,19] Thus it was and is still absolutely necessary for me to plead for Your forgiveness, God. All sin is against You and only You can forgive me.

Indeed, those who argue for God-only forgiveness will insist: “What about the first three commandments?” Those are strictly God’s, right? Wrong. Just as You, God, are hurt, are disobeyed, are sinned against in all the other commandments, so I harm you, my sisters and brothers, every time I worship an idol instead of God, particularly if that idol is me; I both give you bad example, but also somehow I draw the human collective a little farther from God, I opt out of the Body of Christ and thus weaken it, I say to the world, God is wrong, follow me, follow my example instead. That’s part of social sin, tearing the seamless garment of Christ, tearing me apart from you, my brothers and sisters and rupturing my link with You, Jesus, through whom I can either participate in and build up Your body or tear it down.

The same is true every time I desecrate Your name, God. God, You must be horribly hurt that we constantly use Your name “in vain,” saying without thought, without reflection as to its meaning, its import, “O God!” when surprised, when angry, as an expletive, in flippant disregard for Who You are. Yet You make it very clear that is absolutely wrong; indeed, You, Yourself, Jesus, taught us to pray: hallowed be Your Name [Mt 6:9; Lk 11:2], but I have become so use to saying that, that I don’t ever think about what it means, what it implies, what it requires. And so, if I use Your name in anger, in frustration, in amazement, in any context where it is obvious that I just am using it to say something, I have hurt you, my brothers and sisters, by indicating by my irreverence, my callous disregard of its meaning, that it’s ok…see, I wasn’t zapped by a lightening bolt. Get your kicks and do it too! That’s how I sin against you, my friends.

Finally, my blatant disregard for the sanctity of You Sabbath, Your Day, God, my shopping, conducting my affairs, my business as if it were like any other day of the week, conveys that same message, that same scandalous, irreverent, disobedient behavior which says to all who see: “Forget God. He doesn’t care. He doesn’t pay attention to my little foibles. Why should He pay attention to yours. I can set up my own rules, so can you, my and your own schedule, my and your own sacred days. We don’t have to follow something set up centuries ago..” And the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom [Mt 27:51], God exposes Himself to me to console, to comfort, to gather us in and what do I do, I scream: Crucify Him, Crucify Him [Lk 23:21; Mk 15:13] and hang the abomination of desolation [Dan 12:11; Mt 24:15] in God’s place. That’s why I must as for your forgiveness, my friends; I have killed your God.

As God Himself has showed me, all sins against You, God, and therefore, I need Your forgiveness; I have pushed You away and I must be reconciled with You. But, at the same time, all sins against you, my brothers and sisters of our God family. To think that God let’s me off the hook when I blatantly dishonor, kill, steal, abuse, lie, slander, and cheat you, brother and sister, is nonsensical, idiotic, does not compute.

And this goes not only for these photo negative, active sin caught on the film of history, but also for neglect of the positive print of love, passive sin, believing I can just have faith without good works, without becoming involved in making the world a better place, in helping those who need my help: If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. [James 2:15-17] Both active and passive sin are here and now, involve me with you, my neighbor. The passive sin neglects the corporal [bodily] works of mercy, of kindness, of goodness, the cup of water works, the providing of food, clothing, care, concern type of works.

Active sin hasn’t even gotten to neglecting…I actively attempt to deceive, crush, obliterate, exterminate you, your rights, your possessions, your reputation, your very self. That’s why I have to start with the works required by the commandments. Maybe that’s what Jesus was pointing to when he knocked my namesake off his horse and asked him: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Notice that, while Jesus completely identifies with the Christians Saul is persecuting, these Christians were the ones being persecuted: Saul, meanwhile, was trying to destroy the church; entering house after house and dragging out men and women, he handed them over for imprisonment. [Acts 8:3; 22:4; 26:9–11]. Thus, though You, God, are always the injured party when I sin, that injury is also to the person effected by my sin. Persecuting violates the commandments,…it doesn’t even get to service.

Most obvious is physical injury, the person I wound is you; you are injured; you are killed, you are dead. But the same holds true of mistreatment of you, my parents, of you others whose integrity before You, God, I abuse in casual sex, in depriving you of what you own, of your good name, even of coveting what you have [a slap in Your face who have given me all I need]. In all these, I chose not only myself over You, God, not only following my own will instead of willing to obeying Your commandments, I have also chosen myself, my way, my comfort, my ego-centric world that I imagine revolves around me over you, everybody but me. I over look, ignore, refuse to recognize the situation from your point of view. I refuse, therefore, to do exactly what You, God, ordered me to do: to do to you, my neighbor, what I would want done to me in the same situation, to treat you as I would want to be treated. I have not loved but ignored, brushed aside, trampled over you.

The fact that I am not alone since all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God, [Rom 3:23] and through sin, death, and thus death came to all, inasmuch as all sinned, [Rom 5:12], that is, the fact that you, my brother, my sister, sinned against me, owe me a debt, have trespassed on me, does not “balance my books,” obviate the need for me seeking your forgiveness. I cannot think that since you have done evil to me, I can do evil to you with impunity, to “even up the score;” that somehow what I do is not held against me because it is “an eye for an eye.” Do not repay anyone evil for evil…“Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord….” Indeed, that way leads to hatred, violence, murder, war, annihilation; that path is that path of terrorists and tyrants. Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good. [Rom 12:17, 19, 21].

This is not fantasy. This is not fairytales or goody two-shoes. Forgiving you is absolutely necessary if I expect to be forgiven by God. Jesus placed the scales of justice squarely in my own tainted, sin filled and guilt-ridden hands: forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors [Mt 6:12]. I must forgive you your sins, your trespasses, your walking over me, if I expect to be forgiven by God. Jesus made this point again and again. And I need to do this not just once, but 70 x 7 times [Mt 18:22]. Which means, in turn, that I must seek forgiveness 70 x 7 times [Mt 18:22]. I’ve noticed that, while I have a pension for ignoring, downplaying, brushing aside my sins against you, I am super quick to take offense at any little peccadillo of yours against me, harboring black and dire thoughts of eyes for an eye and teeth for a tooth, Edmond Dantès, John McClane type revenge.

And I certainly do not come up to Your standard Jesus: Love one another as I have loved you. [Jn 13:34] As You pointed out to me in a previous reflection, while most will identify this as simply a iteration of Lv 19:18, You shall love your neighbor as yourself, I think this takes loving you others to a new level. While in my better moments, I may come up to the standard You set, I have many moments when I do not love myself…to various degrees. I may be just miffed at my blowing something or I may be really angry at myself for “not living up to my standards,” regardless of whether these standards are Yours or simply my ego’s projection. In any event, love one another as You loved us not only purifies such extraneous egoisms, but maintains a constant level of love, a gold standard by which I can measure my love, my agape, my outreach.

Thus, if I apply this gold standard to my actions, I not only recognize when I fall short of treating others as You would treat them, but I am constantly reminded that You identify Yourself with each and every one of “them,” the omnipresent, easy tag for distancing myself from you as my God-family, as I love you, and thus, when I fall short of loving “them,” I fall short of loving You. If I would see You, Christ, in every one of you I meet, I would know that I cannot pretend to serve You, Jesus, directly, whom I do not see, and ignore serving you, my least of these, whose want and need are blatant before me.

Therefore, it is not enough that I set myself straight with You, God. For every sin I commit, I need the forgiveness of both God and you, my brothers and sisters; I need to seek reconciliation of both God and you for our community to be a community, a people of God. I need to seek your forgiveness, my brothers and sisters. Justice demands I make things right with you, I make adequate amends for having wronged you, hurt you, ignored you, deprived you, debased you, demoralized you. And I need your and your and your forgiveness for the times I have personally sinned against you.

Forgiveness, thus, is an absolutely necessary, often forgotten, ignored, even despised as weakness, lubricant of our social structure, of any relationship, be it God and me, you and me, your family and my family, your “hood” and my “hood,” your wealth and my poverty, your sex and my sex, you race and my race, your religion and my religion, your nation and my nation, your world and my world. It is the realization that there truly is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. [Gal 3:28] It is a bi-lateral, mutual, common-ground understanding, an agreement, a wisdom revealed, that we are unique and that’s ok, that we share more than we differ, that we, save God[2], are all human and fallible and make mistakes.

No, forgiveness can’t be limited to just God and me as the authorities then and many people now seem to think. Yes, I must seek forgiveness from You, God, I must also seek forgiveness from you, my friends.

[1] Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

[2] This does not mean that I don’t have to “forgive” God…when He takes a loved one home and leaves me abandoned, inconsolable, enraged, frantic, freaked out, depressed unto despair, when I rant and rave against heaven and cannot see the light of morning, He carries his tantrum traumatized child until my tears flow and my wracked convulsed psyche comes to the peace of the heart, of the soul, that passes all understanding…and I can “forgive” God His wisdom and love.


Why I’m a Catholic: the Sacrament of Reconciliation: Part I; Who’s Sinned Against

Have mercy on me, a sinner![Lk 18:13][1]

This is why I am a Catholic, Part 2: (1) the Eucharist; (2) Reconciliation; and (3) Truth.[2] While others may have other special things about the Church that entices them to join, to belong, to stay in this lumbering ancient colossus of Scripture and Tradition called the Catholic Church, I have a special love of its God-given ability to forgive sin.

I see three parts to the Sacrament of Reconciliation: (a) who’s sinned against; (b) who forgives; and (c) how are we sure we are forgiven.

Against whom do I sin, over whose laws and lives do I trespass, to whom do I incur debt[3]. In Psalm 51, a psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him after he had gone in to Bathsheba,[Ps 51:1-2], states specifically that it is God: against you, you alone have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your eyes so that you are just in your word, and without reproach in your judgment.[Ps 51:6]

Many today still take the same position that David and the Jewish authorities of Jesus’ day did, not seeing each person as a specially loved child of God, not seeing that Jesus is God incarnate and works through the incarnate world. Since all sin is basically and primarily against You, God, they say, “Only God can forgive sin.” They stop there, “See, it’s against God only that I sin. Therefore I have to seek forgiveness from God. And I can go directly to God and ask forgiveness.”

Yes, absolutely, and no, definitely.

Sins against the first three commandments, idols, Your Name and the Sabbath, are fairly easy to identify as being against You, but the other seven seem to be primarily against men.

Yes, absolutely, I sin against God.

(a) Every action against the Commandments, including the last seven, is my choice, my direct disobedience of You, God, my placing myself above You. Thus all sin originates in the first commandment; I make myself an idol, I set myself up as my own god, and I obey my self rather than You. Therefore, David was right: Against You, You alone have I sinned; I have done what is evil in Your eyes, so that You are just in your word, and without reproach in Your judgment. [Ps 51:6]

No, definitely, I also sin against my neighbor.

(b) Obedience to You means keeping the other seven commandments because You tied my obedience to you with my treatment of others. Obedience is linked to my being human in the way You made me, in a community of family, of friends, of neighbors. Indeed, the second great commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself.”[Mk 12:31; Mt 22:39, Lv 19:18; Jas 2:8] Indeed, in a sense, that “yourself” should be capitalized, “Yourself,” since loving them and myself involves first loving You, but more to the point, since we all come from You, since You are in each of us, loving others involves loving You, is part of loving You, is a concrete way to love You.

In the New Testament, You made very, very clear Your personal identification with everyone, in what I do or don’t do to even one of these least brothers of mine.[Mt 25:40] As John said: If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. [1Jn 4:20] To paraphrase, if anyone says, I am forgiven by God and do not care if I forgive my brother, I do not love my brother whom I sees and thus, cannot love God, whom I have not seen. Jesus took this very personally when Paul persecuted the early Christians: Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?…I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. [Acts 9:5,6; 26:14,15] This is brought home even more poignantly when I call upon God to forgive me my sins as I forgive the sins of those who sin against me.[Mt 6:12] So this sin bit ties us, God and me and others, together as a package.

So, Yes, Definitely, I sin against both God and my neighbor.

[1] Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

[2] Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways! [Rom 11:33]…it just occurred to me that God was having me roll this Apologia Pro Vita Mea out in harmony with the liturgical year. The defense of the real presence in the Eucharist was completed in Advent, the season of the Incarnation, the growing within Mary of the Son of God, who became truly man and truly present on our earth. This presentation of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the making holy of the welcoming back of me, the Prodigal Son by the Father, will take place during Lent, the liturgical celebration of Christ’s life and ultimately, his perfect obedience; he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him. [Heb 5:8b-9], that is, by which he reconciled us with the Father through atoning for our sins. The final presentation of truth, the validity of what we profess, the guarantee of God’s truth residing in the Church, will parallel the liturgical season of the resurrection and, particularly Pentecost, the reception of the Spirit of Truth upon the pillars of the Church, the Apostles and original disciples.

[3] I am fascinated by the ecumenical interchange of “debts,” “sins,” and “trespasses.” The first two have their solid origin in the Greek; ὀφείλημα, opheilēma, is the word Mt uses [Mt 6:12] in his version of the Lord’s prayer; it means: “that which is owed; that which is justly or legally due, a debt”. Metaphorically, it is used to mean “offence, sin.” It is used only twice in the NT.

Lk uses both “sins” and “debt;” forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us. [Lk 11:4] The Greek word for “sin,” ἁμαρτία, hamartanō, means “to be without a share in,” “to miss the mark,” “to err, be mistaken,” “to miss or wander from the path of uprightness and honor, to do or go wrong,” and finally, metaphorically, “to wander from the law of God, violate God’s law, sin.” It is used 150 times in the NT.

Maybe it is this “going wrong,” this “wandering from the path,” that gave rise to “trespass,” i.e. if I wander from the path God put me on, I am likely to wander onto your path, to trespass, to stomp all over you and your righteousness.

My New Year’s Resolutions: Boundaries and “unto’s”

My Two New Year’s Resolutions

My NYR’s this year are boundaries and “unto’s”. My very patient, astute, loving, caring, and wonderful wife pointed out that I have real problems with boundaries…or lack thereof. I have been thinking about that ever since and she is absolutely right. I have a major problem with boundaries, thinking that I control much more than I do, that I should control much more than I do, that I am responsible for much more than I am, that I can do much more than I can…note the theme of “more”…thus the key to this effort is restricting my boundaries to reality…not imagination, not jealous fantasies, not envious illusions, but reality.

Practically speaking, it means watching myself ever moment of the day and pulling myself back in when my inflated ego wants to “take over,” wants to go tiptoeing through the tulips of life, snatching, grasping, clutching, envying, desiring, coveting, without regard to God or others. God has given very specific gifts to me, has a very personal plan for me, wills a very specific future for me, and I tend to go barging out of those specificities, rejecting them right and left, thinking I know better, forgetting my dependence on Him, my supposed love for Him, my obedience to Him, my allegiance to Him. Rather stupid and objectively ridiculous on my part!

And, as if that weren’t bad enough, by disregarding these lovingly set boundaries, these personally tailored limitations, I spill over, unwanted, unbidden, into the lives, the personal, private domain, the responsibilities, the delights, the revealing of the gifts of everyone around me. Now if this happens to sound like trespassing, major time, and, if I ask that I be forgiven my trespasses as I forgive those who trespass against me, then what I am dealing with here is not just a psychological quirk, a minor foible, an inconsequential idiosyncrasy, but the other translations of ὀφείλημα, opheilhmata, i.e. “debt,” or “sin.”

I keep reminding myself that I am restricted to now, not then,…to what is, not what was or will be; and that I am restricted to here, not there, this, not that: not that person’s wealth, that person’s power, that person’s gifts, that person’s entity…not in that place, that position, that role, that otherness. That email is not mine to read, that letter is not mine to open, that task is not mine to take on, that problem is not mine to solve, that responsibility is not mine to assume…that is not mine to do, say, be.

I am no gentle giant. Oh, I may think myself to be. But a friend who was truly a gentle giant was memorialized yesterday…and in comparison with him, I am a pigmy, not a gentle giant. However, that’s ok. God loves me just as I am, warts, sinfulness, and all. He sees right through all my facades and hugs me anyway, perhaps even because of them, since He realizes that I wouldn’t be me without them. He’s very patient and will help me and wait for me to shed them one by one.

This latest boundary-less-ness is the latest onionskin of habitual sin that has surfaced. A lot of drawing circles around my feet and saying to myself: stay in that, that’s where you are, that’s were God wants you, that’s where you need to stay.

This boundary-less-ness exacerbates my other resolution-ary flaw: controlitis. By imagining myself in control of my life, I place myself on a pedestal, make pretenses of power, and puff up with pride. Rather stupid and idiotic, if I examine the underlying reality…that, in reality, when it comes right down to it, I control nothing, that I am totally dependent on God for everything, that the only thing that I do control, my free will, is so overgrown with the moss and debris of cultural, social, status, fear-driven overlays that it staggers to even exist, let alone exert itself. The very thought of choosing against these worldly forces for a moral right, a truth, a belief, a divine reality, throws my psyche into cataclysmic confusion and consternation.

I think this is at least part of what Jesus was referring to when he was talking about the difficulty of the rich to get into the kingdom of God: Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”[1] The NABRE explains it this way: “since wealth, power, and merit generate false security, Jesus rejects them utterly as a claim to enter the kingdom. Achievement of salvation is beyond human capability and depends solely on the goodness of God who offers it as a gift.”[2] If these “things,” this power, wealth, and achievement, so cloud my mind and possessing them so dominates my will, I can do little to nothing to clear the way for “the goodness of God” to offer the gift of salvation. Only God can first clear away this detritus, this junk, this sinful clutter and then lead me to choose to be open to Him, to join Him in the work of salvation.

Control is possible only to the degree that it conforms with God’s plan, God’s will, God’s providence. After that, as the saying goes, if I want to make God laugh, so I expound on my great “plans.”

This brings me to my second resolution…although that is an inaccurate term to describe these inspirations of the Spirit…more like “incorporations” in the original meaning of that term, to bring into one’s body, to make one’s own, to personalize and customize it to fit me…the second resolution, the “unto’s.” Instead of control, the Divinely endorsed approach to life is the “unto’s.” I have dwelt on these before: Mary’s “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” [Luke 1:38] She calls herself God’s δούλη, a female slave. Pretty radical debasement.

But I think she understood, she got it, she could grok the true relationship that we have with God: He calls the shots, we carry them out. But it is even more radical than that…He not only calls the shots, He creates the environment in which the shots are called, He provides everything necessary to implement the shots, in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28), our literal existence, the sine qua non without which we would not even be, let alone be able to “move” and “carry out.” I are totally, utterly, and completely not only helpless, but non-existent without Him. So, thus, He creates me, He gives me everything I need to do His will, He tells me His will, He gives me the grace to carry out that will, He watches over me and keeps me in existence as I choose whether or not to carry out that will, He holds me up as I act on His will, and, in His providence, He provides the ultimately good outcome of my actions, regardless of whether in this specific action. I choose to do or not to do His will. [Rom 8:28].

What I must choose is not really to initiate a action independent of His will, but I must choose to open myself to the cascade of gifts, of caring, of love, of events that are tailored just for me, to help me to achieve my greatest happiness.

The wonderfully wondrous, serendipitous thing about such openings is that they simultaneously place God in the driver’s seat [where He is anyway but I just choose to ignore, forget, and shunt aside Him, at least in “my world”, by the idol of me “in control] and they, thus, focus attention on God, show God to be the All-Caring Father that He is, and makes Him “worthy,” owed in gratitude, in my eyes to receive glory and honor and power [Rev 4:11], “for Yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever,” as we say. They encourage and motivate me to love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself. [Lv 19:18; Dt 6:5; 10:12; Jos 22:5; Mt 19:19; 22:37–39; Lk 10:27; Rom 13:9; Gal 5:14; Jas 2:8…repetitive redundancy, da ya think? Maybe the Holy Spirit wishes to bring it my attention[3], to bring it my attention, to bring it my attention…you can lead a horse to water…]

Looking at “unto” in a different light as God’s will for me now, it is the nexus, the center and link of me to God, the point where “the rubber meets the road.” I have often looked for God’s will in the wrong places: both as something in the future and/or as a goal which I must strive to attain. Both of these are much too complicated for normal practical implementation. While there is certainly an already-but-not-yet quality to much of Jesus revelation, e.g. the Kingdom, His presence, the sacrifice of Calvary, even the redemption of the world, the will of the Father is a much more tangible, omnipresent reality, revealing itself each moment of my life. It is not way up there, but right here, right now, in this room, at this computer, with these thoughts, at this word, this letter, this…is the Father presenting Himself to me right now and loving, nurturing, urging me to open myself to His will in this moment, to let Him be done unto me in this eternal second.

I have the option to say “no” to Him, to refuse his ministrations, to refuse to cooperate with His will and, while the overall progress of His providence inexorably proceeds according to that will, my acceptance, cooperation, and participation has been temporarily [let’s hope not permanently] side-tracked onto my private, personal “idolization express” to isolation, death and destruction.

It’s not always easy to open myself to God’s “unto” at this moment. Jesus made that extremely clear when, literally sweating blood, He asked His Father: Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will.[Mk 14:36; see also Mt 26:39; Lk 22:42] “Note the complete obedient surrender of the human will of Jesus to the divine will of the Father.”[4] This is the ultimate “unto”, the complete surrender to the Father, in spite of His knowledge of exactly what was going to happen to Him.

I can only speculate what is going to happen to me, yet this is the “unto” that the Father asks also of me, of each of us. To allow Him to control my life, to give me what I need and not what I want, to have Him do unto me what He wills and not what I will, to live and die according to His plan and not my meanderings. A tough and constant tussle with my will,…a perpetual continuous ongoing decision to serve by “only” standing and waiting for Him to reveal the next moment. But I guess since Jesus, Son though he was,…learned obedience from what he suffered, [Heb 5:8] I should expect or, rather, actually want no less, an imitation of Him, denying my will, myself, taking up my cross as He did, daily, and following Him to death and glory.

[1] Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

[2] NABRE footnote on Mark 10:23-27.

[3] In fact, He follows the Deuteronomic rendition with these words: Take to heart these words which I command you today. Keep repeating them to your children. Recite them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them on your arm as a sign and let them be as a pendant on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates. [Deut 6:6-9] While the NABRE note on these signs states: “these injunctions were probably meant merely in a figurative sense,” phylacteries and mezuzah are still used by observant Jews.

[4] NABRE footnote for this verse in Mark.