I actually snuck in a small change. When in strict mode and a reference method was called on a null value, like $NULL.foo, then ASTReference would throw a MethodInvocationException. There were two problems with this. The first was that really the MethodInvocationException is intended for errors that occur while calling the method, like an exception being thrown form within the method, and as such the wording of the error message was not appropriate for $NULL.foo, and was misleading. The second is that this would cause a redundant error message to be logged. I think too much info is just as bad as too little So... I changed the case of $NULL.foo to throw a VelocityException, and I Modified StrictReferenceTestCase to handle this change.