Sunday, November 1, 2015

Knox vs. The Message: All Saints Day

Matthew 5:1-12

Jesus, when he saw how great was their number, went up on to the mountain-side; there he sat down, and his disciples came about him. And he began speaking to them; this was the teaching he gave. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs. Blessed are the patient; they shall inherit the land.  Blessed are those who mourn; they shall be comforted.  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for holiness; they shall have their fill.  Blessed are the merciful; they shall obtain mercy.  Blessed are the clean of heart; they shall see God.  Blessed are the peace-makers; they shall be counted the children of God.  Blessed are those who suffer persecution in the cause of right; the kingdom of heaven is theirs. Blessed are you, when men revile you, and persecute you, and speak all manner of evil against you falsely, because of me.  Be glad and light-hearted, for a rich reward awaits you in heaven.

The Message:
When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:
“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.
“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
“You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.
“Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds.


Christopher Buckley said...

"When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds..."

I have to laugh. If anything drives home the Protestant megachurch speak of the Message, it's that phrase.

Seriously, there is nothing in the Greek that says anything about ministry: just that he saw crowds and called then onto a mountain to teach them.

The Message seems intent on making Jesus the ideal megachurch pastor.

James Ignatius McAuley said...


Not on point, but related. Over the years, I have noted two distinct complaints regarding scripture on your blog. One is the translation. The other is the notes/commentary. I will not hesitate to say that I despise most of the notes/commentary in the NAB/NABRE. It bothered me, but I noted in both the old Roman Breviary and at times in the Liturgy of the Hours, the Office of Readings patristic reading explains the scripture reading. So, I have been buying from the following which have patristic commentaries on scripture:

Fathers of the Church from Catholic University of America Press - I am reading Origen on the Gospel of Luke now, this is sublime.

Ancient Christian Writers from Paulist Press - I am reading Origen on Ezekial - simply wonderful

New City Press- works of St. Augustine, including his commentaries on John and the Psalms.

Hellenic College of the Holy Cross Press - excellent translations on works of Cyril, Chrysostom and others

Ancient Christian Tests by Intervarsity Press - I am reading Jerome's Commentary on Jeremiah presently.

This has completely turned upside down how I read scripture. I know longer worry if it is in leather or gilded, but rather, if it sets me on fire with the love of God, like burning seraphim, as Isaiah witnessed.

Frankly, reading both Jerome and Origen has made me value the idea of multiple translations in one volume (ala the Hexapla) - it would be great to see a Catholic Bible with the Douai- Rheims Challoner, Knox, Confraternity, NABRE, Christian Community Bible, and RSV Catholic 2d.

Prayers and love to you all!


Anonymous said...

@ James

Amen! "The Law of the Lord means more to me than finest gold"


David Garcia said...

I think the Message had its moment in the sun as a new novelty but it has grown dated, become tiresome, and is really just too far off the path. I agree with others that if someone really needs/wants a paraphrase they would probably be better served with the Living Bible (not to be confused with the new living translation whose revisions over the years have put it into the translation column).

I also agree that the Message serves the mega church crowd well... But of course that begs the bigger question - what are the mega churches doing to Christianity? Even the Catholic diocese mindset have become "let's merge parishes and become mega parishes". We all know why they are doing it so there's no need to discuss it. But it's destroying the body. I left my parish becuase its just too big and every other parish in my area is also huge. It's a sad, sad development. :(

Christopher Buckley said...


One alternative for smaller parishes is the Personal Ordinariate (

If you are a current or former Episcopalian, Anglican, Methodist, or AME, or you are now in a Catholic RCIA program, you can join with the membership application found on the website above.

Ordinariate parishes are typically much smaller and intimate. They may also appeal to you because of their special permission to use an RSV lectionary. :-)

I used to be a member myself, out of solidarity. But there were no Ordinariate parishes where I live, so ultimately I returned my membership to my local archdiocese.

Food for thought-

Anonymous said...

Good these versions still prefered a 'Blessed' than 'Happy' for the Greek makarios.