Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap Day Contest

In honor of this being a leap year, I am happy to offer this Leap Day contest to you, my wonderful readers.  Thanks to the fine people at Oxford University Press and Image Catholic Books, I will be offering two fantastic books which will certainly provide spiritual nourishment for the remainer of the Lenten season.  The two prizes for this contest are:

1) Dr. Brant Pitre's Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist (newly released paperback edition w/ study guide)

2) The Catholic Study Bible Third Edition (NABRE) paperback

Rules for the contest:

1) If you have an active Facebook or Twitter account, please announce this contest. If you don't, that is OK. You can still enter the contest.

 2) Please enter your name in the comment section of this blog post. I (or my wife) will randomly draw one winner at the conclusion of the contest, which will be on Sunday March 6th at 11:59 PM.

 3) I will announce the winner on Monday March 7th. The winner must contact me, via email, within a week with their full name and address.  I will ship the the books free of charge.

 4) One entry per person.

 5) Contest is only available to those who live in North America.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sunday's Message: 3rd Sunday of Lent (Year C)

Welcome back to another edition of Sunday's Message.  When I did this series last year, I showed all the readings for that particular Sunday.  However, this year I have decided to focus on just one reading each week.  I would like to pick out the one that really strikes me, particularly in light of The Message: Catholic/Ecumenical Edition translation, which often arouses some spirited debate on this blog.  (I hope it continues to do so!)   On my part, along with providing a particular reading each week, I plan to offer some personal reflections, as well as the occasional question or two for you to ponder. 

I offer you this question, which comes from the Message weekly email, for this week's reflection:
What important work could bear fruit in your life right now if you have more confidence in God's loving care?

Luke 13:1-9
About that time some people came up and told him about the Galileans Pilate had killed while they were at worship, mixing their blood with the blood of the sacrifices on the altar. Jesus responded, “Do you think those murdered Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans? Not at all. Unless you turn to God, you, too, will die. And those eighteen in Jerusalem the other day, the ones crushed and killed when the Tower of Siloam collapsed and fell on them, do you think they were worse citizens than all other Jerusalemites? Not at all. Unless you turn to God, you, too, will die.”
Then he told them a story: “A man had an apple tree planted in his front yard. He came to it expecting to find apples, but there weren’t any. He said to his gardener, ‘What’s going on here? For three years now I’ve come to this tree expecting apples and not one apple have I found. Chop it down! Why waste good ground with it any longer?’  “The gardener said, ‘Let’s give it another year. I’ll dig around it and fertilize, and maybe it will produce next year; if it doesn’t, then chop it down.’”

Friday, February 26, 2016

Fr. Nick King Audio Course

Many of you are familiar with Fr. Nicholas King S.J. as the person who recently translated the Bible from the Greek to English.  Currently, he is a Visiting Professor at the School of Theology and Ministry at Boston College, where he teaches New Testament and Koine Greek. For 12 years, he was a lecturer in the same subjects at Oxford University. Prior to coming to Oxford, he taught in South Africa, where he served as a District Observer for its first democratic elections.  

The fine people at Now You Know Media have recently come out with The New Testament: A Bible Study Course by Fr. King.  According to the website description, this audio set includes: "36 engaging lectures that give you access to modern scholarship on the New Testament. Fr. King’s original translations breathe new life into the words you have so often heard and studied, accurately conveying the mood of the original documents.  After a fascinating general introduction to the New Testament, you will take a fresh look at the Pauline epistles. You will enjoy four lectures on each of the Gospels before looking at Acts of the Apostles, the general epistles, and Revelation. Finally, you will consider the important themes of Christ’s Resurrection, divine inspiration, and the necessity of the Old Testament.  Above all, you will gain a fuller sense of Jesus as a devout Jew who was telling the old story of God and the People of God in a new way. And as Jesus preached, the gospel message is open to all."

I have at least a dozen sets from Now You Know Media and they are of the highest quality.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Review: Sermon in a Sentence by Baronius Press

"Character is not revealed when life shows its best side, but when it shows its worst." -Archbishop Fulton Sheen (Sermon in a Sentence 63)

At the end of 2015, our friends at Baronius Press published a new series of books called Sermon in a Sentence.  Each volume seeks to provide a "treasury of quotations on the spiritual life"  in a compact, yet readable package for today's Catholic.  Baronius Press decided to inaugurate this new series by selecting three of the most influential and beloved Catholics of the 20th century: St. Faustina Kowalska, Archbishop Fulton Sheen, and St. John Paul II.  Each book, edited and arranged by John P. McClernon, contains "hundreds of direct quotes and short sayings arranged according to the Christian virtues and other spiritual topics, allowing the reader to encounter their thoughts about particular aspects of the Christian life."  There are truly hundreds of quotes in each volume for you to ponder and pray over.  These books are not haphazardly arranged like some of the "quote books" you may have encountered.  The amount of time that Mr. McClernon put into each volume must have been enormous.  The material from the St. John Paul II volume was gleaned from his various public talks, while the Fulton Sheen one comes from ten of his works.  The St. Faustina edition comes entirely from her Diary.

In each of these three books, the first fifteen chapters are arranged corresponding to the classical Fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary.  There is an additional section in all three volumes for the Luminous Mysteries as well.  Other topics that are covered and found in all three books include prayer, the Mass, the Church, the priesthood, as well as topics unique to each person, like St. Faustina and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.  Each quote ranges from 1-3 sentences in length and includes a reference to where you can find the quote in the particular author's body of writing or talks.  In our fast-paced world, these little volumes certainly meet an important need in the Church.  Many of us can easily get overwhelmed by the demands of each day, yet these small devotionals allow us to take a moment to reflect on various topics from these three spiritual masters.  

As usual with anything that comes from Baronius, these books are produced of the highest quality.  Like the various bibles, prayer books, and other volumes they produce these will last a lifetime.  Each hardcover edition measures around 4 5/8" X 6 3/4", which makes them incredibly portable.  The paper is thick and opaque, making reading a pleasure.  The binding is smythe sewn and contains a ribbon marker.  Head/tail bands and endpapers (which many of you know I adore) round out a wonderfully produced volume.  I can't say enough about the continued high standards that Baronius Press continues to meet with each of their releases.

So, if you are looking to add some wisdom from three great heroes of the faith to your daily recitation of the Rosary, the Sermon in a Sentence series is just what you need.  These make perfect gifts for birthdays, for teens receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation, and those entering the Church at the Easter Vigil.  The price for each volume is $14.95, which is amazingly cheap for the quality of the book, itself, as well as the wisdom that is contained within it.  I truly look forward to future volumes.  I would love to see one focused on this blog's patron saint, Msgr. Ronald Knox.

I would like to thank Baronius Press for providing the review copies for this review.

Monday, February 22, 2016

First Look: The Catholic Study Bible (NABRE) 3rd Edition

Yesterday, I received a paperback edition of The Catholic Study Bible 3rd Edition, which appears to have been released about 10 days earlier than expected.  It has the same look and feel as the the 2nd edition (NABRE), which came out in 2011.  The big difference, of course, is that all the reading guides have been updated to reflect the NABRE OT translation.  Also, there are brand new reading guides for the Pentateuch, 1&2 Chronicles, 1&2 Maccabees, Lamentations, Baruch, Tobit, Judith, Mark, and Acts of the Apostles.  All of the other features found in the prior edition, like the New Oxford Maps, concordance, full lectionary readings, in-text maps and charts, are all present in this edition.  I think there may be a few more.  This is a fine edition and certainly worthy of your consideration.  My only complaint is that the bonded leather edition is $95, which is crazy.  The past two editions, including this one, have not come out in genuine leather, which is a shame since the NOAB 4th (NRSV) was produced in a very soft genuine leather.  Get on it Oxford!

Thank you to Oxford University Press for providing a review copy

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Knox on the Old Testament

"We mustn't think of the Old Testament as an awkward fact which we've got to get over somehow, hush it up if possible because it is so difficult to make propaganda out of it.  It's the lock into which the key of the Incarnation fits, and if you begin the Bible with St. Matthew, it makes a mutilated story." -The Hidden Stream

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

One Thing with the NABRE NT Revision

With the helpful update we received last week from Mary Sperry on the revision, I thought maybe we could have a discussion about what we might see in 2025 when the revision may be published.  So, let's list one thing you would like to see in the NABRE NT revision.  This could be something that would be new to the translation or something retained from the current '86 revision. 

For me, at least, I would really like to see certain word choices that the '86 revision did maintained.  For example, the NABRE is one of the few translations to go with "Amen, Amen", "Gehenna", the "I AM" sayings, and "magi".  

What say you?

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Sunday's Message: First Sunday of Lent (C)

Welcome back to another edition of Sunday's Message.  When I did this series last year, I showed all the readings for that particular Sunday.  However, this year I have decided to focus on just one reading each week.  I would like to pick out the one that really strikes me, particularly in light of The Message: Catholic/Ecumenical Edition translation, which often arouses some spirited debate on this blog.  (I hope it continues to do so!)   On my part, along with providing a particular reading each week, I plan to offer some personal reflections, as well as the occasional question or two for you to ponder. 

I always pause for a moment when I read in the Bible that God "listened to our voice."  I get the immense sense of awe and wonder that God would even do that!  Then I remember the beauty of Psalm 8 (NABRE), which seems to reflect this reality of God's care and love for his people and creation:

O Lord, our Lord,
    how awesome is your name through all the earth!
I will sing of your majesty above the heavens
    with the mouths of babes and infants.
You have established a bulwark against your foes,
    to silence enemy and avenger.
 When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and stars that you set in place—
What is man that you are mindful of him,
    and a son of man that you care for him?
 Yet you have made him little less than a god,
    crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him rule over the works of your hands,
    put all things at his feet:
All sheep and oxen,
    even the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fish of the sea,
    and whatever swims the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Lord,
    how awesome is your name through all the earth!

How awesome you are O Lord!

Deuteronomy 26:4-10
"The priest will take the basket from you and place it on the Altar of God, your God. And there in the Presence of God, your God, you will recite:
A wandering Aramean was my father,
he went down to Egypt and sojourned there,
he and just a handful of his brothers at first, but soon
they became a great nation, mighty and many.
The Egyptians abused and battered us,
in a cruel and savage slavery.
We cried out to God, the God-of-Our-Fathers:
He listened to our voice, he saw
our destitution, our trouble, our cruel plight.
And God took us out of Egypt
with his strong hand and long arm, terrible and great,
with signs and miracle-wonders.
And he brought us to this place,
gave us this land flowing with milk and honey.
So here I am. I’ve brought the firstfruits
of what I’ve grown on this ground you gave me, O God.
Then place it in the Presence of God, your God. Prostrate yourselves in the Presence of God, your God. And rejoice! Celebrate all the good things that God, your God, has given you and your family; you and the Levite and the foreigner who lives with you."

Friday, February 12, 2016

Oxford University Press Sale

Oxford University Press is having a 30% off sale on all their titles this weekend only.  This includes all their NRSV, NABRE, and RSV bibles, including the soon-to-be-released The Catholic Study Bible 3rd Edition.  Here is a link you can use.

Thomas Merton on the Bible

"The Bible claims to contain a message which will not merely instruct you, not merely inform you about the distant past, not merely teach you certain ethical principles, or map out a satisfying hypothesis to explain your place in the universe and give your life meaning--much more than that, the Bible claims to be: The Word of God. But what is this 'word of God'? Is it simply a word of extreme and incontestable authority? Does it impose on man an outrageous doctrine which as no real meaning for his life, but which has to be accepted under penalty of going to hell? Once again, this utter distortion of the Bible is the result of fragmentation, division, and partiality. The prophets themselves protested, in God's name, against the perversion of the word of God in the interests of sectarianism, nationalism, power, politics. (See Jeremiah 23:23-40.) To set up some limited human interest as an absolute to be blindly believed, followed and obeyed even unto death is to set up a 'dead word,' a destructive and idolatrous word in the place of the 'living word' of God. "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).  The basic claim made by the Bible for the word of God is not so much that it is to be blindly accepted because of God's authority, but that it is recognized by its transforming and liberating power. The 'word of God' is recognized in actual experience because it does something to anyone who actually 'hears' it: it transforms his entire existence."  -Opening the Bible, 17-18

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Lent 2016

So, Lent is now upon us.  I typically pick a book to journey with me during these forty days, slowly reading and reflecting on a small portion each day.  This year, I have decided to read The Showings of Julian of Norwich.  How about you?  What will you be focusing on during this holy season?

Monday, February 8, 2016

NABRE NT Revision Answers

Thanks to all of you who posted question, and, of course, to Mary Sperry for taking the time to answer them!

One change in previous announcements:
Bishop Trautman resigned from the Editorial Board. He now serves as a consultant. Reverend Edward Mazich, OSB, replaced him as an editor.

What will the new text be called?
No decision has been made as to the name of the final product. I would doubt that any decision will be made until much closer to publication.

Textual basis for the revision:
The teams are working from the 1986 NABNT with reference to NA 28. In questions of canonicity, the Nova Vulgata is consulted.

Say more about how Liturgiam authenticam figures in or guides your work.
The editors consulted Liturgiam authenticam in developing the principles of translation. These principles were reviewed by the Committee on Divine Worship, the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, and the Subcommittee on the Translation of Scripture Text prior to approval by the bishop members of the CCD.

What efforts can you make at this stage to incorporate considerations of other Bishops Conferences / Biblical Associations in hopes of the widest possible adoption?
The NAB is already used broadly in the Philippines, India, and Anglophone Africa.

What kind of ecumenical participation will there be? Will there be translators from the evangelical/mainline/Orthodox traditions involved?
The translation teams include some Protestant scholars and some Orthodox scholars, though the majority of revisers are Catholic.

Are there any literary consultants on the NABRE NT Revision Committee?
Not at present.

Will the NABRE 2025 be available in mobile versions?
Who knows what technologies will be available in 2025!!! As we have with the NABRE, the CCD will welcome proposals for a variety of media. The NABRE is available in e-books, apps, etc., from a variety of publishers.

Are there any plans to modify lightly the Old Testament if the Holy See would compel them to do so even for the lectionary approval to get Vatican's recognitio that would require outside of the committee's scope of work?
At present, no such plan is in place.

Is there any possibility that the completed new revision might include an Apocrypha appendix that would include translations of books outside of the Deuterocanonical books that are included in the RSV and NRSV versions of the Apocrypha (1 & 2 Esdras, 3 & 4 Maccabees, Psalm 151, Prayer of Manasseh)?
At present, no such plan is in place.

We simply opened a copy of the approved translation and read directly from the Bible. …So, no: we COULD quite easily create a Biblical translations that takes into account the breaks in the Catholic lectionary assignments and structures the rendering accordingly.
The Ordo Lectionum Missae requires the addition of incipits and some other small changes in the creation of a Lectionary, plus, some verses are omitted from readings.

Will the footnotes be revised and include commentary by the early Church Fathers?
The footnotes are being revised. At present, only the textual notes and those notes necessary for understanding the text are being prepared. More extensive pastoral/catechetical notes are a later step.

Will the bishops consider permitting its publication without interpretive notes?
The official interpretation of the canon that we have received is that this is not permissible.

Will they consider permitting its publication alternative notes?
Alternative notes may be included alongside the essential NAB notes, but may not replace them.

Would the USCCB ever allow publication of a "protestant edition" of the NABRE?
To the best of my recollection, we’ve never been asked (and I’ve been here 20 years!). If asked, the decision would have to be made at the episcopal level.

Will the NT be ready in time? What kind of coordination is there with the USCCB committee working on the LOTH?
The NT should be ready to be part of the LOTH. Once the editors have completed their work, the Committee on Divine Worship will be part of the review process. As noted above, the Committee on Divine Worship participated in the development of the principles of translation.

Like CELAM began a translation project called the Bible the Church in the Americas (Biblia de la Iglesia en las Américas).
Interestingly, that project (La Biblia de Iglesia en America) was initiated and funded by the USCCB!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sunday's Message: Luke 5:1-11

Welcome back to another edition of Sunday's Message.  When I did this series last year, I showed all the readings for that particular Sunday.  However, this year I have decided to focus on just one reading each week.  I would like to pick out the one that really strikes me, particularly in light of The Message: Catholic/Ecumenical Edition translation, which often arouses some spirited debate on this blog.  (I hope it continues to do so!)   On my part, along with providing a particular reading each week, I plan to offer some personal reflections, as well as the occasional question or two for you to ponder. 

Reflecting on this passage from Luke this week, I can't help but think of how often the Lord has worked miracles in my life.  Sure, for many, these moments of God's grace won't seem as majestic as the great catch of fish depicted in Luke 5, but for me, at least, I know that his hand has been directing and leading me throughout my life.  Growth in my own daily prayer life, including quiet contemplative prayer, has helped me to see and reflect on these moments.  For at least half my life, I would not have recognized them.  I would have, in various ways, been like Simon at the beginning of this passage, who says he hasn't even caught "a minnow."  I would have, in no way, been able to state with any certainty God's presence or hand in my life, in any real or tangible way. However, at some point roughly sixteen years ago, through God's grace and my own willingness to open myself up to him, slowly I began to "let out my nets" to the presence of God.  Now although there have been moments of great joy (and times on my knees) since then, I can honestly say that my view of God is much bigger than I had ever known or expected.  And how great a God He is!

Luke 5:1-11
"Once when he was standing on the shore of Lake Gennesaret, the crowd was pushing in on him to better hear the Word of God. He noticed two boats tied up. The fishermen had just left them and were out scrubbing their nets. He climbed into the boat that was Simon’s and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Sitting there, using the boat for a pulpit, he taught the crowd.  When he finished teaching, he said to Simon, “Push out into deep water and let your nets out for a catch.”  Simon said, “Master, we’ve been fishing hard all night and haven’t caught even a minnow. But if you say so, I’ll let out the nets.” It was no sooner said than done—a huge haul of fish, straining the nets past capacity. They waved to their partners in the other boat to come help them. They filled both boats, nearly swamping them with the catch.

Simon Peter, when he saw it, fell to his knees before Jesus. “Master, leave. I’m a sinner and can’t handle this holiness. Leave me to myself.” When they pulled in that catch of fish, awe overwhelmed Simon and everyone with him. It was the same with James and John, Zebedee’s sons, coworkers with Simon.  Jesus said to Simon, “There is nothing to fear. From now on you’ll be fishing for men and women.” They pulled their boats up on the beach, left them, nets and all, and followed him."

Saturday, February 6, 2016

NABRE NT Revision Introduction

Below you will find the introduction to the NABRE NT revision, as found on the Catholic Biblical Association website.  I will have Mary Sperry's responses for you on Monday.

The Revision of the New American Bible New Testament

At their June 2012 plenary meeting, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved the initiation of a revision of the New American Bible New Testament and entrusted that work to the oversight of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. Following the development of a plan and budget for the project, the work began in 2013 with the appointment of an editorial board consisting of five members, all of whom are active members of the Catholic Biblical Association. The editorial board then drafted a document detailing the "Process and Principles" of the revision project, which were approved by the USCCB.
In July 2014 the revision project was announced to CBA members present at the Annual Meeting at Providence College. In Fall 2014 additional revisers were recruited, who will work together in five teams covering five sections of the New Testament (Matthew & Mark; Luke & Acts; Johannine Literature; Pauline Literature; and Catholic Epistles). Work by the revision teams will begin in early 2015. Following the necessary approvals for liturgy and for publication of a Scripture translation, publication of the final text is expected around 2025.
The three-fold purpose of this process is to produce a translation of the New Testament that is even more suitable for individual study and devotion, catechesis, and proclamation within the Sacred Liturgy. The goal of the revision is to improve a good translation with a focus on fidelity to the original text, clarity of expression, appropriate consistency in rendering Greek into English, and suitability for public proclamation. The revised translation aims to facilitate the reader’s or hearer’s encounter with Jesus Christ through his Word and to build up faith, hope, and love.
Editorial Board:
  • Dr. Harold Attridge
  • Rev. Christopher Ciccarino
  • Dr. Mary Healy
  • Rev. Felix Just, SJ
  • Rev. Edward Mazich, O.S.B.
  • Reverend Edward Mazich, OSB
  • Most Rev. Donald Trautman (Consultant)
  • Mary Elizabeth Sperry (USCCB Staff)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

NABRE NT Revision Questions

I had a little chat with friend-of-this-blog Mary Sperry a few days back to see if she would be willing to field a few questions regarding the status of the NABRE NT revision process.  For those of you who don't know, Mary is the Associate Director for USCCB Permissions and NAB Utilization at USCCB Publishing. Mary has answered questions on this blog before, dating back to 2010, and has graciously kept us all in the loop regarding the NABRE.

So, if you have a particular question for her, feel free to ask one in the comment section of this post.  Please keep in mind that we are still in the early stages of the NT revision, which will last until the next decade.  Please don't ask about particular translation decisions, since that is something that cannot be answered or shared at this time. You are welcome to ask a general question about the NABRE, not related to the NT revision.    

Some info we already know:
Board of Editors

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Psalm 23 in the NABRE

The Lord is my shepherd;
    there is nothing I lack.
 In green pastures he makes me lie down;
    to still waters he leads me;
     he restores my soul.
He guides me along right paths
    for the sake of his name.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff comfort me.
You set a table before me

    in front of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
 Indeed, goodness and mercy will pursue me
    all the days of my life;
I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    for endless days.
-Psalm 23 (NABRE)