Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday's Message

I am continuing a new weekly series which will be posted every Sunday morning called "Sunday's Message." Here, I will reproduce the readings for Mass from The Message: Catholic/Ecumenical Edition.  I want to thank Greg Pierce at ACTA for giving me permission to do this weekly post.  While this is not an "official" Catholic edition, one of my hopes for doing this new series is to have a lively discussion on the renderings, compared to the more formal ones we are use to reading and hearing at Mass.  Is there a place for a translation like this?  Could this be a good Bible to give to a Catholic "seeker" or young adult? 

Isaiah 5:1-7
I’ll sing a ballad to the one I love,
a love ballad about his vineyard:
The one I love had a vineyard,
a fine, well-placed vineyard.
He hoed the soil and pulled the weeds,
and planted the very best vines.
He built a lookout, built a winepress,
a vineyard to be proud of.
He looked for a vintage yield of grapes,
but for all his pains he got junk grapes.
“Now listen to what I’m telling you,
you who live in Jerusalem and Judah.
What do you think is going on
between me and my vineyard?
Can you think of anything I could have done
to my vineyard that I didn’t do?
When I expected good grapes,
why did I get bitter grapes?
“Well now, let me tell you
what I’ll do to my vineyard:
I’ll tear down its fence
and let it go to ruin.
I’ll knock down the gate
and let it be trampled.
I’ll turn it into a patch of weeds, untended, uncared for—
thistles and thorns will take over.
I’ll give orders to the clouds:
‘Don’t rain on that vineyard, ever!’”
Do you get it? The vineyard of God-of-the-Angel-Armies
is the country of Israel.
All the men and women of Judah
are the garden he was so proud of.
He looked for a crop of justice
and saw them murdering each other.
He looked for a harvest of righteousness
and heard only the moans of victims.

Psalm 80
You prepared the good earth,
you planted her roots deep;
the vineyard filled the land.
So why do you no longer protect your vine?
Trespassers pick its grapes at will;
Wild pigs crash through and crush it,
and the mice nibble away at what’s left.
God-of-the-Angel-Armies, turn our way!
Take a good look at what’s happened
and attend to this vine.
Care for what you once tenderly planted—
the vine you raised from a shoot.
And those who dared to set it on fire—
give them a look that will kill!
God, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, come back!
Smile your blessing smile:
That will be our salvation.

Philippians 4:6-9
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

Matthew 21:33-43
“Here’s another story. Listen closely. There was once a man, a wealthy farmer, who planted a vineyard. He fenced it, dug a winepress, put up a watchtower, then turned it over to the farmhands and went off on a trip. When it was time to harvest the grapes, he sent his servants back to collect his profits.
“The farmhands grabbed the first servant and beat him up. The next one they murdered. They threw stones at the third but he got away. The owner tried again, sending more servants. They got the same treatment. The owner was at the end of his rope. He decided to send his son. ‘Surely,’ he thought, ‘they will respect my son.’
“But when the farmhands saw the son arrive, they rubbed their hands in greed. ‘This is the heir! Let’s kill him and have it all for ourselves.’ They grabbed him, threw him out, and killed him.
“Now, when the owner of the vineyard arrives home from his trip, what do you think he will do to the farmhands?”
“He’ll kill them—a rotten bunch, and good riddance,” they answered. “Then he’ll assign the vineyard to farmhands who will hand over the profits when it’s time.”
Jesus said, “Right—and you can read it for yourselves in your Bibles:
The stone the masons threw out
is now the cornerstone.
This is God’s work;
we rub our eyes, we can hardly believe it!
“This is the way it is with you. God’s kingdom will be taken back from you and handed over to a people who will live out a kingdom life.”


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting the Message reading for Sunday Mass. I try first to read and meditate on the readings (NAB) and then the Message. At times I see the same sense as the Message and other times a different angle. This wider view; then coupled with a good homily really helps to bring God's message home!

Ed Rio said...

I did basically the same as Anonymous: 1st read them from the NAB (using Living With Christ), then came here and saw them taken from The Message, but, then I read them from the GNT-CE too. And it seems to me that the GNT-CE is kind of the middle ground translation. Not quite as formal as the NAB, and flows a little better for us common folk. But not as dynamic (?) as the Message in places. To me, they all said the same thing though, but I didn't have to go over the readings more than once like I did with the NAB. Those letters of St. Paul can be especially tricky to grasp if the translation follows more closely the original sentence order.

The Message would be a good one to give a Catholic seeker or young adult. I think it would be nice for them to read before or after Mass to help maybe shed a little extra light on the passages.

Timothy said...

Thanks to the two of you for your comments. I enjoy reading the Message on Saturday nights before Sunday Mass. Alice Camille's "This Transforming Word Year A" has been a great help, since she has the passages and her commentary on them on the same page.

Paul, of course, can be difficult to understand. Some have complained that the NAB is a bit stiff and difficult in this regard. I know that one of the intentions of the ongoing NABRE NT revision is to make Paul more readable.

Anonymous said...

I still think the Message translation is horrid. I can't like it; granted, I only tolerate the NABRE because it's our lectionary translation. Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but I'd prefer the RSV. (I grew up in a Protestant Baptist church where the NKJV and other "archaic" sounding stuff was the norm, so I'm used to that language.)

I know some people like the accessibility of these translations, and that's okay, but I vote for upping the vocabulary level a bit. (But then, I'm a literature person who reads Shakespeare and Chaucer for fun, so...) I suppose the real litmus test is, "Are you reading it?"

Timothy said...

Anon (2),

Yeah, this should never be read at Mass, to be sure. I do think it can be helpful for reflection and for seekers/youth.

I too would like to see a more lofty translation for Mass. I think the closest out there would be the adapted NRSV lectionary in Canada.

James Ignatius McAuley said...


The Gospel was excellent. The more I read it, the more I like it. Very colloquial.


Erica M said...

Formerly Anon @Timothy:

Yes, I would love to see the NRSV translation approved for the Mass here in the US; the inclusive language isn't my favorite, though. Ex: Daniel 7:13 uses "human being" in an incredibly messianic passage. The footnote mentions "son of man", but still...

I'm assuming the revised lectionary version handles some of these issues; if that's the case, I'd really enjoy it. But again, that's just me. Several of my fellow parishioners love the NABRE and as long as they're reading it, I love it too. (I'll even concede I prefer the NABRE's rendition in some places, but don't tell anyone I told you!)

Leonardo said...


I want to comment on the traslation of Matthew 21, 43 which in this translation says "in your Bibles", where others, included NABRE, say "in the scriptures".

The first one may give the impression that there are a community of civilizations with their own "Bibles", and Jesus was beyond that.


rolf said...

That was my thought also when I read that verse. I am sure that 'The Message' translation of that verse probably rings true to many 'sola - scriptura' fans!

Jonny said...

Erica & others who prefer the more formal translations:

There is an approved lectionary based on the RSV-2CE, which is used by the Anglican Catholics and in other parts of the world. This does not have the inclusive language problems, and therefore the lectionary and Bible are the same. You can read it on your smart phone for free with the lighthouse catholic multimedia app! It includes the entire RSV-2CE Bible as well, and the study notes for an additional fee.

Leonardo said...

Thanks for the comments. These day I am reading the NABRE Saint Joseph Edition, which I bought in Barnes and Noble. I reinforced the book with a plastic cover, and I am enjoying it.

Yesterday I realized that no Bible can be judge by only a word. We have the need of the advice of someone who knows the entire book.

Best regards.

rolf said...

I bought both volumes of the Ignatius (RSV-2CE) Catholic Lectionary about 7 years ago. After they were sold off to the Anglican Ordinates, I don't think they have been available new for a few years now.