Tuesday 9 April 2013

Whatever happened to the Whitened Sepulchres?

Some while ago, I posted my analysis of the bits of the first half of St Matthew's Gospel which are omitted from the Sunday Lectionary.

Some people found it interesting (as did I) so here is the rest of the analysis, covering the remainder of St Matthew's Gospel.

Over time, I hope to go through the remaining Gospels, and eventually the Epistles, to see what we are not to hear at Sunday Mass.  I suspect that there are patterns.  Certainly today's post suggests that many of the strong criticisms of the Pharisees, Sadducees and High Priests have been cut.

As before, I list all omissions, and have emboldened those where I think there is no parallel text used from another Gospel.

Chapter 15

1:21 Pharisees and tradition: [largely covered by reading from St Mark ch 7, but some verses of that omitted too, which I will pick up when I cover St Mark’s Gospel.]

29-39 Healing  the lame, the blind, the deaf, the crippled and many besides, and the feeding of the four thousand - the parallel passage from St Mark is also omitted.

Chapter 16

1 - 12 Pharisees ask for a sign: the sign of Jonah; ‘have nothing to do with the leaven of the Pharisees’  - the parallel passage from St Mark also omitted. 

28: In truth I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming with his kingdom.' - the parallel passages from St Mark and St Luke are also omitted.

Chapter 17

10: 9 - 26 Elias must come before Christ; also cut from St Mark;  

the Lunatic; Prophecy of Death and Resurrection; the parallel passages from St Mark and St Luke are also omitted. 

The Temple Pence  - only in St Matthew

18 1-14 Unless you become like little children [St Mark’s shorter account used: which covers 1- 5, but omits 6- 14: If anyone hurts the conscience of one of these little ones...  100 sheep and one lost...]

Chapter 19 omitted.  

vv 1- 9 Is it right for a man to put away his wife? [St Mark’s version used.]

10 - 12 Eunuchs for the Kingdom - only in St Matthew

13 - 26 The Rich Young Man; [St Mark’s version used.]

27 - 30 St Peter: and what about us who have left all?... Cut also from Sts Mark and Luke

Chapter 20 

16b - 34  Many are called, but few are chosen - Matthew only

Prophecy of passion and death - Cut from St Mark, too

A place on thy right and on thy left... [St Mark’s account used (though optional, if shorter reading chosen)]

The Son of Man came to serve and to give his life as a ransom. [St Mark’s account used.]

Two blind men cured. [St Mark’s account used - featuring only one blind man, Bartimaeus]

Chapter 21

12 - 27 Cleansing of the temple [St John’s account used]

The fig tree withers up Also cut from St Mark

By what authority? Also cut from St Mark and St Luke

44 - 46: Chief Priests and pharisees saw clearly He was talking of them... Cut from St Mark, too.

Chapter 22 

22-33  Sadducees and the Resurrection: the seven brothers.  [St Luke’s version used.]

41 - 46 Whose son is the Christ to be? Cut from St Luke, too.

Chapter 23 

13 - 39  Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees...; If a man swears by the temple...; Straining for the gnat...;  Whitened sepulchres...; Fathers slew the prophets...; Brood of vipers...; ... as a hen gathers chickens... (all of this either unique to St Matthew, or in some cases also cut from St Luke)

Chapter  24

1 - 36 The destruction of the Temple; The end times: false prophecies; All the world will hate you; The Abomination of Desolation; Here is the Christ...; The Son of Man coming upon the clouds of Heaven; The fig tree; That day and that hour unknown [St Luke’s account used].

45 - 51: Wise and foolish servants [St Luke’s account used - which doesn’t mention ‘weeping and gnashing of teeth...’]

Chapter 26

1 - 13 Caiaphas plotting; the precious ointment; [St Mark's account used]

Ch 28 11 - 15 Soldiers bribed to say they slept.  (St Matthew only)


Patricius said...

Wow! I'm hard pressed to keep up with the fascinating material you are posting at present with both the chant and the Gospels being close to my heart!

Regarding the Gospels, however,may I ask if you are suggesting that there was some peculiar agenda behind the inclusion/exclusion of particular passages when the new Lectionary was drawn up?

I am not sure that it is quite straightforward because- for example- passages omitted on Sundays turn up on weekdays. I was struck by the last example on your list concerning the bribery of the soldiers remembering having heard it only very recently. I checked and it is in fact used on Easter Monday.
What does seem intriguing, however, is the shift between lectionaries from what I would call a clear Gospel emphasis in the old one to an "Evangelist emphasis" in the new one. It is as if we have moved from a focus upon the Gospel simply as a proclamation of CHRIST to a focus upon what each of the EVANGELISTs has had to say in that proclamation. I say this because, while there are doubtless good scholarly reasons for examining what Matthew, Mark etc. as individuals had to say, our primary reason for listening to the Gospel always - surely - has to be in order to encounter Christ Our Lord. Nevertheless there are historic precedents for the reading of all four Gospels during the cycle of the year.
I shall look forward to your further postings on this subject.

Ben Trovato said...


Thanks for your kind comments.

At present, I am not suggesting there is an agenda: I am exploring what is and is not presented.

If there are patterns, I will subsequently, doubtless, seek to find meaning in them - and realise that to do so intelligently one of the things I need to do is buy Bugnini's book in which he gives his account of the changes and the thinking behind them.

But equally, I hope to provoke others to think and to comment, in the hope that I will learn from them too; and I have already found your comment thought-provoking, as it frames the difference between old and new lectionaries in a different way from the way in which I had vaguely conceived it.