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.’”


Anonymous said...

Apples or Figs? I believe the Message translation is a tool, among many, that can bring new readers to the Bible. Yet at first reading, I questioned why did Peterson decide to use "Apple" instead of "Fig". In the parallel verses, in Matthew and Mark, he uses "Fig." However, really no big deal, because if you were just to replace "fig" with "apple" in your favorite translation little would be lost; unless you are a horticulturist. However, I do think that there is a problem in this translation and that problem is the placement of the tree. The sense of the parable is distorted by placing the tree in your front yard that you see every day with a vineyard that a land owner might visit once a year. A sign of repentance is more profound when you see it a year later. (Note: the NAB seems to be the only translation that uses "orchard" versus "vineyard.")


Biblical Catholic said...

It loses something in the historical and Biblical context too, with all the imagery in the prophets about how Israel is a vine, and God is angry because he expects to see it produces figs but he gets only wild figs. It's not like the Greek word here is an ambiguous one that might have many possible meanings, like many of the words used for various animals in the Old Testament. The Greek word used here is clearly the word for 'figs', changing it to 'apples' is not merely a bad translation, it's a flat out replacement of the actual word with a different one.