Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sunday's Message: Divine Mercy Sunday

I feel like mixing things up a bit this week, so I am bringing back the series 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? I have used it while teaching my high school theology classes, along with the NRSV and NABRE, and have had positive results.  

I would like to also propose a question each week to reflect upon, particularly in light of the rendering found here in The Message:

What does it mean to call Christ "Master" as it is rendered in two of the readings for this week?

Acts 4:32-35
The whole congregation of believers was united as one—one heart, one mind! They didn’t even claim ownership of their own possessions. No one said, “That’s mine; you can’t have it.” They shared everything. The apostles gave powerful witness to the resurrection of the Master Jesus, and grace was on all of them.  And so it turned out that not a person among them was needy. Those who owned fields or houses sold them and brought the price of the sale to the apostles and made an offering of it. The apostles then distributed it according to each person’s need.

Psalm 118
Tell the world, Israel,
“His love never quits.”
And you, clan of Aaron, tell the world,
“His love never quits.”
And you who fear God, join in,
“His love never quits.”
I was right on the cliff-edge, ready to fall,
when God grabbed and held me.
God’s my strength, he’s also my song,
and now he’s my salvation.
Hear the shouts, hear the triumph songs
in the camp of the saved?
        “The hand of God has turned the tide!
The stone the masons discarded as flawed
is now the capstone!
This is God’s work.
We rub our eyes—we can hardly believe it!
This is the very day God acted—
let’s celebrate and be festive!

1 John 5:1-6
Every person who believes that Jesus is, in fact, the Messiah, is God-begotten. If we love the One who conceives the child, we’ll surely love the child who was conceived. The reality test on whether or not we love God’s children is this: Do we love God? Do we keep his commands? The proof that we love God comes when we keep his commandments and they are not at all troublesome.  Every God-begotten person conquers the world’s ways. The conquering power that brings the world to its knees is our faith. The person who wins out over the world’s ways is simply the one who believes Jesus is the Son of God.  Jesus—the Divine Christ! He experienced a life-giving birth and a death-killing death. Not only birth from the womb, but baptismal birth of his ministry and sacrificial death. And all the while the Spirit is confirming the truth, the reality of God’s presence at Jesus’ baptism and crucifixion, bringing those occasions alive for us.

John 20:19-31
Later on that day, the disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” Then he showed them his hands and side. The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were exuberant. Jesus repeated his greeting: “Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you.” Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them. “Receive the Holy Spirit,” he said. “If you forgive someone’s sins, they’re gone for good. If you don’t forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?” But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We saw the Master.” But he said, “Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won’t believe it.” Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” Then he focused his attention on Thomas. “Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.” Thomas said, “My Master! My God!” Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.” Jesus provided far more God-revealing signs than are written down in this book. These are written down so you will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and in the act of believing, have real and eternal life in the way he personally revealed it.


citizen DAK said...

"If you don’t forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?” ( ! )


“Peace to you.” ( :-)

Anonymous said...

To call Christ 'Master' (prefer the more traditional 'Lord!') is more than verbal acknowledgement but is a heart and life commitment that shows (should show !) in all that I am, in all that I do, ever striving to honour him.

Biblical Catholic said...

That......"translation" seems to completely deny the possibility of a priest retaining sin.....

CarlHernz said...

John 20:23 uses a comparison of two verbs in reference to sins.

The word in Greek for sins that are forgiven is the term "send away" as in the scapegoat of Yom Kippur being sent away with the sins of Israel. The Greek word for retain is the opposite, meaning to "keep in custody."

A proper paraphrase would pick up on this reference to the scapegoat of Yom Kippur, maybe saying something like "those sins you dismiss are sent away for good, those that you do not are not set free."

The failure to make this evident in the paraphrase, that the power to dismiss or keep from dismissing sins as being the point of Jesus' words is peculiar. Either the translator is not aware of how the Jewish mindset picks up on such a use of words or the resulting rendering does not want to admit to what is really being said.

CarlHernz said...

Post script: Just an afterthought...A dynamic translation could also read, "Those sins you forgive are dismissed, but those you don't forgive stay put."

By breathing the Holy Spirit upon the apostles Jesus is ordaining them to act as the Temple priest on Yom Kippur who had authority over the goats, deciding which to impose Israel's sins upon and send away and which to keep for the sacrifice. According to Leviticus 16 the goat that was freed lived even though it had the sins of Israel imposed upon it. The goat that was retained lost its life.