Monday, February 25, 2008

For the time has come when they will not endure sound doctrine

Didja' catch this yesterday from the Gospel reading? It was a long one, I'll grant you. But here's a tip me hearties, when you flip your missalette to the Gospel page and you see something like this:
Jn 4:5-42 or 4:5-15, 19b-26, 39a, 40-42
You should be heading to Defcon 4 or Threat Level Orange. This one probably should have sent you to Defcon 5 or Threat Level Red because it had three flashing indicators:
  1. There are lots of commas and hyphens, indicating we are dancing around something or maybe trying to excise elements of context.
  2. That funny little "a" after 39 and the "b"after the 19 - indicating that somebody liked part of the verse, but not the whole thing
  3. There is an innocuous, but poisonous little word in there: "or"

Now I'm sure there are myriad excuses folks could come up with for shortening the Gospel. Perhaps it's just too long for the oldsters to stand through the whole thing? I imagine they would more likely come up with something along the lines of scholarly discourse and important relevant scriptural exegeses that I am just too much of a damned simpleton to understand.

Basically, they cut out approximately 18 verses out of the Gospel (if you count the a and b vivisections as one verse). I imagine, if at your parish they chose the shorter route your productivity for the day was greatly enhanced by saving you the 30 seconds it would have taken to listen to the missing verses.

More likely, to the heart of the matter, if you had a checkered matrimonial past and your parish excised the verses in question, your conscience was at greater ease for not having been pricked by this:
Jesus said to her,
“Go call your husband and come back.”
The woman answered and said to him,
“I do not have a husband.”
Jesus answered her,
“You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’
For you have had five husbands,
and the one you have now is not your husband.
What you have said is true.”

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