Sunday, October 26, 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? 

Exodus 22:20-26
“Anyone who sacrifices to a god other than God alone must be put to death.
“Don’t abuse or take advantage of strangers; you, remember, were once strangers in Egypt.
“Don’t mistreat widows or orphans. If you do and they cry out to me, you can be sure I’ll take them most seriously; I’ll show my anger and come raging among you with the sword, and your wives will end up widows and your children orphans.
“If you lend money to my people, to any of the down-and-out among you, don’t come down hard on them and gouge them with interest.
“If you take your neighbor’s coat as security, give it back before nightfall; it may be your neighbor’s only covering—what else does the person have to sleep in?"

Psalm  18
God is bedrock under my feet,
the castle in which I live,
my rescuing knight.
My God—the high crag
where I run for dear life,
hiding behind the boulders,
safe in the granite hideout.
I sing to God, the Praise-Lofty,
and find myself safe and saved.
The hangman’s noose was tight at my throat;
devil waters rushed over me.
This God set things right for me
and shut up the people who talked back.
God’s king takes the trophy;
God’s chosen is beloved.
I mean David and all his children—

1 Thessalonians 1:5-10
You paid careful attention to the way we lived among you, and determined to live that way yourselves. In imitating us, you imitated the Master. Although great trouble accompanied the Word, you were able to take great joy from the Holy Spirit!—taking the trouble with the joy, the joy with the trouble.

Do you know that all over the provinces of both Macedonia and Achaia believers look up to you? The word has gotten around. Your lives are echoing the Master’s Word, not only in the provinces but all over the place. The news of your faith in God is out. We don’t even have to say anything anymore—you’re the message! People come up and tell us how you received us with open arms, how you deserted the dead idols of your old life so you could embrace and serve God, the true God. They marvel at how expectantly you await the arrival of his Son, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescued us from certain doom.

Matthew 22:34-40
When the Pharisees heard how he had bested the Sadducees, they gathered their forces for an assault. One of their religion scholars spoke for them, posing a question they hoped would show him up: “Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?”

Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”


Anonymous said...

Msgr. Knox is a world ahead of The Message and his is a translation not an interpretation.

Peter Brennan

Anonymous said...


I agree with you.


I am just curious how The Message go as compared to the Good News Translation.

Ironically, the Spirit drove me to read this version. In the past, I just used to admonish dynamic equivalent Bible in favor of the formal ones.

But maybe the Spirit wants me to dug deeper with the essence of the Scriptures not only being aware of its intrinsic verbiage as you can get from formal ones.

Maybe for the Catholic hierarchy, GNT's paraphrase level is at the minimum acceptable level, being the one received the imprimatur.

Note that The Message and CEV didn't get the full imprimatur.

amfortas said...

The spirit drove you to read this version. No, you chose to read this version. God gave you free will.

CarlHernz said...

Gerald, Interesing points you raise.

However the fact that the Good News Translation has received approval has nothing to do with its reading level. It is easy to read only because of very diligent work on the part of talented translators who painstakingly labored to create a dynamic-equivalence translation that would make sense to those new to the English language. It often gets mistaken for a paraphrase, but it is not.

The CEV has Church approval, but apparently its Old Testament section is not completed yet and will receive approval once Catholic books are added (the Psalms and Proverbs are approved however). Produced by the American Bible Society, the same group that created the GNT, its producers are quite familiar with the process of and interested in producing Bibles that are approved for Private Catholic use.

Both the CEV and GNT received approval ONLY because it's producers SUBMITTED their work for such approval. Church authority does not engage in approving translations otherwise, and proposed reading level is not a factor that can exclude or approve a translation for formal approval.

My fear is that THE MESSAGE proves to be a good work that will fall to the wayside because it's producers either do not understand that all Bibles, even for private Catholic use, require formal approval (or perhaps they are opposed to the process?).

This would be sad because we lost the New Living Translation Catholic Editon just recently because its producers seemed flippant about the approval process and decided for themselves that Catholics didn't need it in order to read their version. The NLTce was, as a result, a commercial failure and went out of print.

It would be great for THE MESSAGE to receive approval because we have not had an approved paraphrase available since the 1970s Living Bible.

So I am not opposed to what Timothy is doing in bringing this version to our attention. I am just confused and even a bit irritated that the producers of this new paraphrase risk it following the path of the Catholic NLT and therefore robbing us of any of its great points just because they didn't submit their work for approval. If this goes on any longer, sooner or later bishops will do with THE MESSAGE what they did to the NLTce, namely tell the Catholic public that this version is not approved for our private use.

And that would be a shame if we lose a work that is possibly very good and could be useful to aid Catholics like THE MESSAGE may be. It is up to the producers of a Bible version to submit their work for the approval process. If they do not do this, the work is doomed not because Church authority wants to keep it away from people but because Bible producers refuse to submit it to begin with. And Catholics won't buy a Bible that bishops tell us to avoid if it comes to that.