Saturday, November 30, 2013

Sunday Knox for 1st Sunday of Advent: Isaiah 2:1-5

This is a message which was revealed to Isaias, the son of Amos, about Juda and Jerusalem.  In later days, the mountain where the Lord dwells will be lifted high above the mountain-tops, looking down over the hills, and all nations will flock there together.  A multitude of peoples will make their way to it, crying, Come, let us climb up to the Lord’s mountain-peak, to the house where the God of Jacob dwells; he shall teach us the right way, we will walk in the paths he has chosen. The Lord’s commands shall go out from Sion, his word from Jerusalem,  and he will sit in judgement on the nations, giving his award to a multitude of peoples. They will melt down their swords into plough-shares, their spears into pruning-hooks, nation levying war against nation and training itself for battle no longer.  Come you too (they will say), children of Jacob, let us walk together in the path where the Lord shews us light.


This is what Isaiah, son of Amoz, saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. In days to come, the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills. All nations shall stream toward it; many peoples shall come and say: “Come, let us climb the LORD’s mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths.” For from Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

"Bless we now his name who is God over all; wide as earth is his wondrous power, the God that has granted us life since first we were borne in the womb, and most mercifully used us.  Gladness of heart may he give us, and send Israel in our time peace that shall last for ever;  and still may it be Israel’s faith that God’s mercy is with us, ready, when his time comes, to grant us deliverance." -Ecclesiasticus 50:24-26 (Knox)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Evangelii Gaudium 175

"The study of the sacred Scriptures must be a door opened to every believer.  It is essential that the revealed word radically enrich our catechesis and all our efforts to pass on the faith. Evangelization demands familiarity with God’s word, which calls for dioceses, parishes and Catholic associations to provide for a serious, ongoing study of the Bible, while encouraging its prayerful individual and communal reading. We do not blindly seek God, or wait for him to speak to us first, for 'God has already spoken, and there is nothing further that we need to know, which has not been revealed to us'. Let us receive the sublime treasure of the revealed word."

The New Catholic Bible Poll at 1088

  • 1
    22.7% (247 votes)
    New American Bible Revised Edition
  • 2
    20.4% (222 votes)
    Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (1st or 2nd)
  • 3
    16.82% (183 votes)
    Douay-Rheims (Original or Challoner)
  • 4
    11.95% (130 votes)
    Jerusalem/New Jerusalem Bible/New Catholic Bible
  • 5
    10.29% (112 votes)
    New Revised Standard Version
  • 6
    9.74% (106 votes)
  • 7
    6.34% (69 votes)
    Knox Bible
  • 8
    1.75% (19 votes)
    Christian Community Bible/New Community Bible

Monday, November 25, 2013

St. Peter Continued Knocking by Ronald Knox

This sermon was preached at St Mary’s Church, Derby, on Passion Sunday, 3 April 1927 and appears in ‘University Sermons of Ronald Knox’.  I read this last week and really like it, so I have decided to share it with you.  

The story of St Peter’s escape from prison at the time when his life was threatened by King Herod is told in the Acts of the Apostles with remarkable fullness of detail. How he passed through the first and second wards of the prison and then came to the iron gate that leads to the city; how he went up one street before he lost sight of his Angel Deliverer, then stood there considering his position and decided that it would be best to go to the house of John Mark. How he knocked there in the gateway. How a servant girl came to open the grille, and even what her name was. How the people inside the house were occupied at the moment in praying for their imprisoned brother. How they refused to believe that it could really be Peter himself, and how he stood at the door still knocking while they still argued inside. All told with a personal touch, yet St Luke could not know Jerusalem very well, and information must have been usually second-hand, therefore how is it that in this one chapter St Luke has dealt so faithfully with this subject? My impression is that St Luke got his narrative here from an eye-witness. In the last verse of chapter eleven, just before this narrative, you will see that the Christians at Antioch were warned by prophecy of a famine which was soon to affect Jerusalem. They determined to send alms to the Church there, and they did so by the hands of St Barnabas and St Paul.

St Paul was little known in Jerusalem in those days, and he would keep close to the side of St Barnabas. St Barnabas would be almost sure to stay with his nephew – at the house of John Mark. It would be at this house they stayed. It would be at this house that they heard one morning the terrible news: “Herod has arrested the Prince of the Apostles – Peter in all likelihood is to go the same way as James”.

Only fifteen years since the Ascension – so much work still to do. The Church still so weak and so scattered, and now it is to lose its head. They fall to prayer in the house of John Mark, and night finds them still praying – John Mark and his mother, Mary, her brother or brother-in-law, the Levite Barnabas; with him the great, clever convert, who was persecuting the Church little more than a dozen years ago, and a great company of others, among them the servant girl, Rhoda – the rather self-important, not very efficient presbytery maid. A knock at the door breaks in upon the murmur of their intercession. What is it? Fresh persecution? Never mind, Rhoda knows her duty – she will answer the front door. As she opens it, she hears a whisper and recognizes the voice – once before he had been recognized by a maid who opened the door – with unfortunate results. Nothing of the Protestant about Rhoda – she knows the Pope’s voice; so full of the news, she does not stop to reflect whether it be undignified or cold for her guest to be kept waiting, but she rushes in to the family prayers with the announcement that Peter himself is asking admittance. Do they hasten to let him in? Why no, they have only Rhoda’s word for it, and that girl would say anything. They try to soothe her, “Hush, you are excited – you had better go to bed. These long prayers have been too much for you, and you have begun to imagine things. Go to bed – you will be all right in the morning.” Rhoda stands her ground. She is not one to imagine things. She ought to know Peter’s voice when she hears it. Then they consider a fresh tack – perhaps the girl has seen something after all. One has heard strange stories before now of men about to die being seen by their friends at a distance, sometimes miles away. Is this some such apparition? Has Peter been murdered – another martyr? They say to her “It is his angel”, and all the time the real Peter stands there knocking, almost fifteen years to the day since he stood knocking at the door of Pilate’s Praetorium. Then somebody – St Barnabas, I think, for he was a practical and hospitable man – suggests it might be worth while going to the door to see if anyone is there – and there stands St Peter with his finger on his lip.

I hope you will not think me fanciful if I say that this group of Christians praying in the house of John Mark reminds me of a certain school in the Church of England – a certain group of men, not a large one, who are not any longer content to assail the papacy with hard names or to ignore it as if it did not exist – a group which has a friendly attitude and yet refuses to shake off the fetters of its Protestantism. “Believe in the Pope? Of course we believe in the Pope” and they will tell you – “When England was Catholic in the Middle Ages our fathers owed allegiance to Rome and they were right to do so. We too would have suffered in the days of the Martyrs if need be for the privileges of the papacy. Just at present, owing to this unfortunate misunderstanding about Anglican Orders, we are not quite on such close terms with the Vatican as we should like to be, but we would be friends with the Pope if he would let us, and we shall one day achieve reunion with the Vatican and be one once more.”

They cannot say “We have a Pope” but “We had a Pope in the Middle Ages, we would have had a Pope at the time of the Reformation; we would have a Pope now, if only the Pope would take us on our own terms. We shall have a Pope some day.” They pray for a Pope, like the faithful souls gathered in John Mark’s house, but they pray for an imaginary Pope, a historical memory or an ideal fiction. They know that a Pope is necessary to their system. They see their own Church torn with rivalries and dissension. They know that such rivalries and dissensions must be in a Church which replaces the principle of authority by the principle of compromise. They see it riddled with heresies and they know there is no safeguard against the occurrence of such heresies unless the gift of infallibility is centered in one man. They feel themselves to be at best an imperial institution – the Church of Lambeth, or at best the Church of Wembley. They know no power can unite living churches all over the world except the power which has no nationality. They know no voice can be heard over the tumult except one that speaks from another world. Many souls gathered in prayer, but no Pope, and therefore no Church – and all the time Peter stands knocking at the door – a real Pope, a figure in flesh and blood, a prince in being, and by these would-be Catholics of another faith, with all their devotion to an imaginary Pope, the real Pope is cold-shouldered and ignored.

Sometimes one of their number listens to the knocking at the door, listens and is attracted. “How strange that he whom we have longed for so greatly should be waiting at our doors all the time.” No time must be lost clearly in telling the others. “Look, Peter stands at the gate” – and that message is the signal for contradictions – “A fancy, a mere fancy, you are letting your imagination run away with you – it is an attack of nerves – take it easy for a bit – you will find you think differently in a month or two.” Or, if the questioner is not content with these explanations, “What you see is not the real Pope, but a ghost of the Pope – he who reigns at the Vatican is no true prince of Christendom but a phantom of a historical institution, an anachronism, a pathetic survival of the power of the papacy – dead, dying, or, at any rate, just going to die.”
God forgive all those who thoughtlessly embarrass the soul already trying to obey the voice of conscience. If the papacy be dead, then the Catholic Church is dead, and if the Catholic Church be dead, Christ has failed. Close down the churches. Shut up the Bible. Let us have no grinning death mask of Anglo-Catholicism to mock at our despair.

But Peter is still there. All the fury of Herod has spent itself in vain. Peter’s prison on Easter even, like his Master’s tomb on Easter morning, stands empty. We have a Pope.

But now I may be speaking this evening to some non-Catholics who are not interested in any of these High Church vagaries. I may be speaking to people who do not call themselves Catholic. They are plain Church of England people, or plain, old-fashioned Nonconformists. They do not believe in the Pope. They do not want a Pope. They do not see what is the use of the Pope. They have been brought up to think of him as an unscrupulous foreign tyrant, whose claim to exercise authority over men’s consciences is an insult to freeborn Englishmen. They think of him as a tiresome inspector who goes round interfering with other people’s business. They do not see why they should take an interest in a Roman Italian Bishop. If you feel like that, you must not expect me to talk you round in five minutes; but for five minutes I should like to put another point of view before you: to say what we mean by the papacy and the value we set on it; our attitude to the person and to the office of the Pope. You think of the Catholic Church as one of these vast business concerns, with depots all over the world, controlled from a single centre. You think all Catholics are ordered about by their priests, and of the priests as so many tools, following in blind obedience daily a policy dictated, presumably on the telephone, by their bishops; of the bishops as so many foremen, obeying a policy dictated to them from day to day, by wireless, I suppose, from the Pope. You say: “That explains the success of the Catholic Church – it is a business affair, carried on in the most efficient and most unscrupulous way possible, and the head of it, the centre of it all, is one man at the Vatican”. You say it is incredible the way he has succeeded in imposing his will over three (or three hundred?) millions of mankind. The Church of Rome to you is a vast machine, working with all the smoothness of a machine, and one single man controls the lever, and that is your idea, or something like your idea.

I wish I had the time and I wish I had the language to explain to you how gloriously wrong is that impression of the Catholic Church. Every Catholic knows that his Church is a splendidly happy-go-lucky
affair – often haphazard, with sometimes internal quarrels – and that it would not hold together for ten years if there were not supernatural life and unity in this Divine Church.

Let me put to you instead the true idea of the feeling which Catholics have towards the Pope, and our attitude towards his authority, which and where that authority has to be exercised. Did it never occur to you that we call the Pope the Holy Father because we think of him as our father? That the unity of the Church is not the unity of a machine but the unity of a great family? That our obedience to the Holy Father in that very limited range of affairs in which he demands our obedience is not that of a workman towards the foreman who will sack him if he doesn’t work, but it is that of children towards their father – each eager to outdo the others in showing affection; each eager to outstrip the others in anticipating his slightest wish? That we obey him in effect not because we fear him as the doorkeeper of heaven, but because we love him as the shepherd of Christians, of Christ’s flock?

Did it never occur to you that the Pope, on his side, as he looks out over the turmoil and distress of this troubled world, looks at it not with the eyes of a crafty schemer, but with the eyes of a father, longing for the salvation of souls; heartbroken sometimes at the waywardness of his children, overjoyed sometimes when they come back to him, as children will to their father and ask him to make it up? Do you not see that he thinks of you and of all those Christians who renounced his authority as the father in the parable thought of his prodigal son, longing for the Protestant nations of the world to come back from their wandering and to find rest and content in their true home? He knocks at your door, people of England, not like a tyrant demanding submission, but like a father appealing for a welcome, and for the recognition which his unfilial sons refuse.

“Peter stood at the door without and continued knocking” as he knocked long ago in the shade of the porch, while the souls within busied themselves, shutting their ears to the noise, till at last they rose to let him in. So he knocks still, while souls that profess to hold him in all reverence shut their ears and invent comfortable theories; because they cannot or will not come out to seek him in the darkness and the storm. He knocks patiently, for the fisherman has learnt patience. He knocks gently, for his shepherd heart knows that bullying will do no good. But don’t mistake his errand. He has keys on his shoulder. It is the doorkeeper who knocks.

For this and other info on Ronald Knox, stop by the Ronald Knox Society website.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sunday Knox for Christ the King: 2 Samuel (Kings) 5:1-3

After this, all the tribes of Israel rallied to David at Hebron; We are kith and kin of thine, they said.  It is not so long since Israel marched under thy orders, when Saul was still reigning; and the Lord has promised thee that thou shouldst be its shepherd and its captain. And so the elders of Israel went to his court at Hebron; and there, at Hebron, in the Lord’s presence, David made a covenant with them, and they anointed him king of Israel.


In those days, all the tribes of Israel came to David in Hebron and said: "Here we are, your bone and your flesh.  In days past, when Saul was our king, it was you who led the Israelites out and brought them back.  And the LORD said to you, 'You shall shepherd my people Israel and shall be commander of Israel.'"  When all the elders of Israel came to David in Hebron, King David made an agreement with them there before the LORD, and they anointed him king of Israel.

Friday, November 22, 2013

C.S. Lewis on the Psalms

“I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed. It is frustrating to have discovered a new author and not to be able to tell anyone how good he is; to come suddenly, at the turn of the road, upon some mountain valley of unexpected grandeur and then to have to keep silent because the people with you care for it no more than for a tin can in the ditch; to hear a good joke and find no one to share it with. . . . The Scotch catechism says that man’s chief end is ‘to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.’ But we shall then know that these are the same thing. Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.” - Reflections on the Psalms

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

"The Gift of the Word" by Fr. Richard J. Clifford

The November 11th edition of America magazine included an article written by New American Bible Revised Edition translator and Biblical scholar Richard J. Clifford.  It takes a look at the areas of growth and places of challenge in Scriptural literacy for Catholic since the Second Vatican Council and the document Dei Verbum.  The article is entitled The Gift of the Word and here are a few notable excerpts:

"Dei Verbum” sees itself in continuity with two earlier councils that dealt with the Bible: Trent (1545-63) and the First Vatican Council (1869-70), and like them devotes considerable space to the broad context of the Bible—God’s initiative in relating to humanity. God’s desire for a personal relationship with human beings on earth accounts for the self-revelation of God recorded in the Bible. That self-revelation invites a human response (“the obedience of faith”) and results in the formation of an elect people bound to God and to each other. 

Trent also dealt with translations of the Bible, for the age of printing had dawned, flooding Europe with translations. Trent forbade only anonymous translations, passing over in silence other translations, including Protestant ones. It declared the Latin Vulgate “authentic,” a declaration that was later widely misunderstood as making the Vulgate the official version of the Bible for the Catholic Church. As Pope Pius XII’s encyclical “Divino Afflante Spiritu” (1943) taught, and John W. O’Malley, S.J., explains in more detail in Trent, the word authentic at the Council of Trent meant only that among the welter of Bible translations of that era, the Vulgate was a reliable text for preaching and teaching, to be revered because of its long usage in the Latin church. The council fathers were well aware of the errors that had accrued to the Vulgate over the centuries, and decreed that the Vulgate not be printed again until it was thoroughly corrected. Like Trent, “Dei Verbum” acknowledges the venerable nature of the Vulgate, but reaffirms the teaching of “Divino Afflante Spiritu,” which urged biblical scholars to use the original Hebrew and Greek texts for translations. In recent years, there have been attempts to impose the Vulgate as a standard for translation, but such attempts run counter to the directives of “Dei Verbum.”

“Dei Verbum” encouraged Bible reading among Catholics and has been a major factor in unseating the neo-scholastic theology that dominated Catholic and even Protestant thought up to the mid-20th century. But if we look at the final practical chapter of “Dei Verbum,” which enthusiastically encourages Bible reading among all Catholics, we are reminded all too clearly of the task that lies ahead.  First, it challenges Catholics to read the Bible regularly and hear it attentively when proclaimed in the liturgy. .......An unsettling reminder of how important Bible reading is to the flourishing of the Catholic Church comes from the Pew Research Religious Landscape Survey of 2008, which points out the Catholic Church in recent years has lost a third of its membership. Half of those leaving the Catholic Church have become unaffiliated, and half have joined Protestant churches. Of the half that joined Protestant churches, the most cited reason (71 percent) for leaving the Catholic Church was their “spiritual needs were not being met,” in particular their need for meaningful worship and nourishing Bible reading........To be fair, today there are excellent Catholic Bible resources like the Little Rock Scripture Study, the Paulist Bible Study Program, the Collegeville Bible Commentary Series, Now You Know Media, Bible-oriented homily services and the lectures and digital resources of many Catholic colleges and universities. And there are good study Bibles, including The Catholic Study Bible (Oxford University Press). There were harldly any resources like these before Vatican II. The problem, therefore, may not be a lack of resources, but a lack of resolve, planning and imagination.

A second challenge of “Dei Verbum” is to develop a theology that allows the Old Testament greater importance in the Bible. 

A third challenge to the constitution’s exhortation that all Catholics read the Bible in the context of the church comes from fundamentalism......Many Catholics, apparently unaware of anti-Catholic fundamentalist writing, regard fundamentalist approaches to the Bible as the only correct and traditional way of reading the Bible. How can we persuade such Catholics to adopt the truly traditional and correct way of “Dei Verbum”? Some do’s: read the Bible yourself and be willing to say simply what you have found nourishing in the Bible; witness rather than argue. Encourage your pastor to preach on the Bible and your fellow parishioners to engage in Bible study. Some don’ts: don’t argue with fundamentalists or use ridicule, but take fundamentalism seriously. It is an important part of American culture.

Your thoughts?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sunday Knox: Malachi 3:19-20 (4:1-2)

Trust me, a day is coming that shall scorch like a furnace; stubble they shall be before it, says the Lord of hosts, all the proud, all the wrong-doers, caught and set alight, and neither root nor branch left them. But to you that honour my name there shall be a sunrise of restoration, swift-winged, bearing redress.*

*Literally, ‘But to you that fear my name a sun of justice shall rise, and healing in her wings.’

Lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire, leaving them neither root nor branch, says the LORD of hosts. But for you who fear my name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays.


For the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble, And the day that is coming will set them on fire, leaving them neither root nor branch, says the LORD of hosts. But for you who fear my name, the sun of justice will arise with healing in its wings.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Reminder on The Message Contest

Just a reminder that The Message contest ends Sunday at 11:59PM.  You can submit your entries in the comments section of the original post.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

ABS Lectio Divina Revised Manual (Good News Bible)

ABS Lectio Divina Revised Manual

Lectio Divina is a method for the prayerful reading of the Holy Scriptures. This Lectio Divina manual includes a general introduction of Sacred Scripture, introduction to Lectio Divina, detailed description of the traditional steps of Lectio Divina, and practical exercises for prayerful reading of the Bible. This manual is a useful tool for both individuals and communities that desire to sincerely dedicate themselves to the exciting world of the prayerful reading of the Bible.
Hardcover. 115 pages. 9 1/2 x 7 1/2.
I haven't seen this yet, but hope to get a copy soon. My only gripe is with the choice of translation.  Why not utilize the NABRE or NRSV?  ABS publishes editions in both translations.   

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Knox New Testament Commentaries (and Compact Edition)

Over the past month or so I have been acquiring used copies of Msgr. Ronald Knox's three volume A New Testament Commentary series.  They were published by Sheed & Ward in the 1950's and are full of great info.  In this series, volume one deals with the four Gospels, while volume two covers the Acts of the Apostle to 2 Thessalonians, and volume three concludes with 1 Timothy to the Apocalypse.     

The preface (and dust jacket) inform us that these volumes are "meant to be read in conjunction with the Knox New Testament, and wherever a quotation does not tally, it must be taken for a literal rendering either of the Latin or the Greek.  'The notes,' writes Monsignor Knox in his preface, 'are not meant to be exhaustive; they illustrate only those passages whose meaning is disputed, and those which the ordinary reader is apt to find obscure or unexpected.  Even within these limits, little space is left for the commentator to deploy his arguments; and the reader must resign himself to the need for close attention, and constant cross-references.'"  

As stated by the author of The Ronald Knox Society website: "These volumes contain Knox's explanations for various choices in wording, alternate interpretations of phrases, and the sometimes hidden meaning of entire passages. They are of tremendous use and interest to the scholar."  These comments are absolutely true.  This commentary is part textual commentary, part exposition of the text.  The commentary on the text, itself, is not a line by line commentary, but rather Knox comments on these various issues pericope by pericope.  What is most helpful, and something which I wish Knox or the publisher would have included in the Knox Bible, are the book introductions.  They are quite insightful, varying in length from 3-5 paragraphs each.  Of course, the lack of an Old Testament commentary series, which Knox never undertook, might have made including just the New Testament intros look a bit uneven.   Perhaps they would have been helpful in an Knox New Testament volume.

Which leads me to this little discovery.  One of the things I really enjoy about ordering older, used books is the surprise of actually getting the original dust jacket with it.  This happened when I got volume two of the commentary series. And to my surprise, when I turned to the back of the dust jacket, behold I found advertising for other Knox-related products from Sheed & Ward.  I have always known that there were New Testament editions out there, but this seems to indicate that Sheed & Ward published a pocket Knox New Testament in four different editions: Paperback, Leatherette, Cloth, and Leather.  And take a look at those prices!  I am also intrigued by the New Testament gift edition that is listed on the top with its inclusion of various art reproductions.  So, I would really like to get a hold of the New Testament pocket edition in leather.  I did a very quick internet search, but was unsuccessful.  I don't think Baronius is going to be publishing a compact Knox anytime soon, so this edition really intrigues me.  Anyone have an idea about how to acquire a copy?  I will surely offer more than the $6.00 listed!  :)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Jerome Murphy O'Connor, 1935-2013 Jerome Murphy O'Connor, 1935-2013: SAD NEWS: Charlotte Hempel reports on Facebook via Émile Puech that Father Jerome Murphy-O'Connor passed away last night.

Known for his works on St. Paul and his association with the École Biblique, you can read more about Fr. Jerome Murphy O'Connor here.

Réquiem ætérnam dona eis, Dómine,
et lux perpétua lúceat eis.
Requiéscant in pace. Amen.

The Message Contest

The fine people at ACTA Publications have been gracious enough to offer a free copy of The Message Catholic/Ecumenical Edition to one of my readers.  I received a review copy of one a week ago and am very pleased with the overall quality of the volume.  

Eugene Peterson's The Message® is a fresh, compelling, insightful, challenging, faith-filled paraphrase of the Bible into contemporary idiomatic American English and is first and foremost a reader's Bible. The Message®: Catholic/Ecumenical Edition features the deuteroncanonical books paraphrased by William Griffin, including the books of Judith, Tobit, Sirach, Wisdom, Baruch, 1 and 2 Maccabees, and additions to Esther and Daniel, will make the Scriptures come alive again.

So here are the rules:

1) If you have a blog, please advertise this contest on your site or mention this contest on Facebook (If you don't, you can still enter the contest.)

2) This contest is only for people who are in the USA.

3) To enter, please select your favorite rendering from The Message and explain in 1-3 sentences why you selected it.  You can submit your entry in the comment section of this blog.  (You can search The Message, minus the Deuterocanonicals here.)

4) The contest ends on Sunday, November 17th, at 11:59 PM. I'll announce the winner on Monday morning.  At that time, the winner must contact me, via email, with their address within one week to receive their prize.   I will then forward your contact information to ACTA who will send along your prize.

5) One entry per person. If you post anonymously, you must leave a name at the end of your comment entry

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Sunday Knox: 2 Thessalonians 16(15)-3:5

So may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, so may God, our Father, who has shewn such love to us, giving us unfailing comfort and welcome hope through his grace,  encourage your hearts, and confirm you in every right habit of action and speech.  And now, brethren, let us have your prayers, that the word of the Lord may run its course triumphantly with us, as it does with you;  and that we may be preserved from malicious interference; the faith does not reach all hearts.  But the Lord keeps faith with us; he will strengthen you, and keep you from all harm.  We are sure of you in the Lord, sure that you are doing and will do as we bid you;  may the Lord direct you where the love of God and the patience of Christ shew you the way.


May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and good hope through his grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word.  Finally, brothers and sisters, pray for us, so that the word of the Lord may speed forward and be glorified, as it did among you, and that we may be delivered from perverse and wicked people, for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.  We are confident of you in the Lord that what we instruct you, you are doing and will continue to do.  May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the endurance of Christ.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Msgr. Ronald Knox Audio

I recently discovered a website where you can buy old time radio programs.  The site is called, not surprisingly, Old Time Radio Catalog.  Among their many programs I noticed they had a Ronald Knox Collection which included: Ronald Knox on the Birth of Our Lord, Ronald Knox on the Conversion of Newman, Recollections of Chesterton, and, my favorite, Ronald Knox on Translating the Bible.  The last one is available in printed form from Baronius Press, where it is included in the collection of essays that accompany the Knox Bible.  All four programs are relatively short, totaling about an hour and a half.  The disc is in MP3 format which is nice. There is a sample on the page from Knox for you to listen to as well.    

I really enjoy having these recordings.  It gives a special added delight when reading a particular author having actually heard their real voice.  I do that often when I am reading works by contemporary authors like NT Wright or Peter Kreeft.  The same joy I had of hearing Msgr. Knox's voice was rivaled only when I heard the distinctive voice of C.S. Lewis.  So, I highly recommend this collection.  It is only $5.00 with a few bucks additional for shipping.  They sell other Catholic and Protestant recordings as well.      

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Message: Catholic/Ecumenical Edition

"As for the souls of the just, they're in the hands of God; the torment of death never lays a finger on them.  In the eyes of the not-so-just, the just seem to have died and gone to hell; but such affliction as they may have suffered was merely their exit fee from this world to the next.  Their departure was misinterpreted as their demise; in reality they're at peace.  Yes, the just suffer as much as the unjust during the death process; but their passage is full of hope and the promise of immortality." --Wisdom 3:1-4 (The Message)

I was very excited to finally receive a hardcover copy of ACTA's newly released The Message: Catholic/Ecumenical Edition.  I have reported on this publication since it was announced earlier in the year.  If you would like to read an interview I did with Gregory Pierce, President and Co-Publisher of ACTA Publications, go here.  I am sure you will find many of your questions answered in that interview.  

ACTA's description:

Now for the first time and exclusively from ACTA Publications, The
Message features the deuteroncanonical books translated by William
Griffin in The Message: Catholic/Ecumenical Edition. Including the
books of Judith, Tobit, Sirach, Wisdom, Baruch, 1 and 2 Maccabees, and
additions to Esther and Daniel, all translated in the same
contemporary American-idiomatic paraphrased style as the other
editions of The Message.

Eugene Peterson's The Message is a fresh, compelling, insightful,
challenging, faith-filled translation of the Bible into contemporary
idiomatic American English and is first and foremost a reader's Bible.
Eugene Peterson and William Griffin (translator of the
deuterocanonical books) have made the Scriptures come alive again by
translating them in a way that people can understand what God is
trying to say to us today.

This Bible is meant to be read. The Message is not meant to be a
substitute for your other bible translations. It is meant to sit next
to them where you can pick it up and simply start reading. We hope it
will send you back to your other translations with new insight and

William Griffin translated the Deuterocanonical portions straight from the Nova Vulgata, which might makes it one of the only English translations from that Latin text.  I am working on getting connected with Mr. Griffin to talk to him about that process, so stay tuned.  Of course, Eugene Peterson's translation is what is found, unchanged, for the remainder of the books.  

In regards to the product itself, as with almost all editions of The Message that I have seen in the past, this text is arranged in a single-column format.  For a more idiomatic Bible like this, it really has to be.  Each page is very readable and the verse numbering, arranged by paragraph, are placed on the margins of the text.  The text looks and feels like The Message, which is a good thing. Each biblical book is preceded by a short introduction, including the Deuterocanonical books.  The Deuterocanonical books are placed in their proper Catholic order, as oppose to having them all bundled together between the Old and New Testaments.  This volume also begins with new introductions from the translators Eugene Peterson and William Griffin.   Peterson concludes his introduction by saying: "I am immensely grateful to my Catholic friends and colleagues for their encouragement to 'complete' The Message.  I hope that it will lead to increased ecumenical use and dialogue."

There are two short sections called "The Story of the Bible in Five Acts" and "The Drama of the Bible" placed in the appendix that give an overall guide to reading the Bible as a whole.  In regards to size of the book, itself, it isn't meant to be portable.  The size of the book comes in at 9.1 x 6.1 x 2.3 inches.  So, it is a bit bulky, but not in the same way as found in the rather large New Jerusalem Bible standard edition.  In the future, I would really like to see this Bible available in a more portable edition, much like the Remix editions which are currently available in the Protestant canon and are very popular.  

I am truly excited that this edition is now available for Catholics.  The people at ACTA have maintained throughout that this is not meant to replace your favorite Catholic translation, but rather to be an aid to understanding and discovery.  I think it succeeds in this quite well.  The content and format of this edition is conducive to reading the Bible in large chunks.  The Message remains popular in Protestant circles, and I know of a number of Catholics who take great comfort in reading from it.  So, I am glad that there is finally a complete Catholic edition available for them and for all who are interested in seeing a rendering of the Bible in a fresh, unique way.  As of now, you can purchase The Message in hard or soft cover editions, as well as in an E-book edition for your Kindle or Nook.  Also, ACTA has keyed The Message into their handy This Transforming Word resource which provides a commentary on the readings for Sundays and Feast Days written by Alice Camille.  The Year A edition is currently available for purchase.

"A final comparison.  One can drink wine as it is and swallow hard or one can drink it mixed with water and enjoy it; hence, a book is good when it's written, but better when it's read.  And so it is with mine."  -2 Maccabees 15:39 (The Message)

Thank you to ACTA for providing me a review copy of this product.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Bible Miniseries

I know that this was shown during Lent earlier in the year, but I was curious what you thought of The Bible miniseries that was shown on the History Channel.  I'll be honest, at first I wasn't too big a fan of it, but after multiple viewings, I have actually come to appreciate what they were trying to do.  It is by no means perfect, and they did some creative things that I question, like the scene with Jesus and Lazarus, but overall I appreciated the spirit that went into its production.  Also, my high school students absolutely love the series.  They have reacted more favorably to these films than anything I have shown over the past five years.

They will be releasing the Jesus portion of the miniseries into theaters in February as a movie called The Son of God.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Pope Francis and the Bible

This comes from the United Bible Society News from October 13:

Bible Societies around the world met in Rome last week to form a greater bond with the Catholic Church.  During the ‘Bible and Family’ partnership meetings between the United Bible Societies (UBS) and the Catholic Biblical Federation (CBF), the Pope called for an Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family and evangelisation to take place in October 2014, which greatly encouraged delegates.

The Rome-based meeting, which ended last Thursday after a morning audience with Pope Francis, was organised by UBS to explore ways in which Bible Societies can work more closely with the Catholic Church to get the Bible into the hands of more families.

“I particularly showed him the Poverty and Justice Bible (Catholic edition) and the May They BeOne Bible and explained that the Bible Societies are producing them with the full support of the Catholic Church,” says Dr Zimmer. “He was delighted: ‘Go ahead!’ he smiled. His support is very precious to us.”“Pope Francis’s call for this Extraordinary Synod of Bishops focusing on family issues has greatly encouraged us in our discussions this week around the very same topic,” said UBS Director General Michael Perreau. “We warmly welcome the Pope’s commitment to bringing the Bible to families. Now it’s up to us to work together to make it happen.”

Rev Dr Rudi Zimmer, Chairman of the UBS Global Board, was one of four participants in the meeting who was granted direct access to Pope Francis. He says that, despite being surrounded by vast crowds, the Pope took time to hear about the meeting, his face lighting up when he heard about the focus on making the Bible available to families and encouraging them to read it.

Bible Society and CBF representatives from more than 30 countries have spent the past three days discussing the spiritual pressures on the family in modern society and how they can collaborate on projects to address these. Topics have included the central role of women in family life, how to get families reflecting on and engaging with the Bible, and translating, publishing and distributing the Bible with Catholic families in mind.

“The family is the one remaining place in today’s society where there is hope of passing faith onto future generations,” said Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for the Family, as he opened yesterday’s meeting. “It is vital that we take up this challenge and develop practical ways of encouraging families to engage with the Bible.”

Bible Society Australia’s head of marketing, Damian Fisher, was a delegate for the Rome meeting and called it a “rare global opportunity for Bible Societies around the world to collaborate and partner with the Catholic Church and the Catholic Biblical Federation”.

“The Bible and Family conference is fertile ground for exploring ongoing partnership work across the Roman Catholic world. Being one of a minority of Bible Societies which has a very good relationship with and experience of working with the Catholic Church, Bible Society Australia saw an opportunity to support these global efforts, share experience and build concrete plans to work more closely with the Catholic Church in translating, distributing and engaging people with the word of God.”

While in Rome, Mr Fisher will also meet with Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Cardinal George Pell to discuss further how Bible Society and the Australian Catholic Church can work together for the Bible.