Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday's Message: 26th Week of Ordinary Time

I am continuing a new weekly series which will be posted every Sunday morning 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? 

Ezekiel 18:25-28
“Do I hear you saying, ‘That’s not fair! God’s not fair!’?
“Listen, Israel. I’m not fair? You’re the ones who aren’t fair! If a good person turns away from his good life and takes up sinning, he’ll die for it. He’ll die for his own sin. Likewise, if a bad person turns away from his bad life and starts living a good life, a fair life, he will save his life. Because he faces up to all the wrongs he’s committed and puts them behind him, he will live, really live. He won’t die.

Psalm 25
Show me how you work, God;
School me in your ways.
Take me by the hand;
Lead me down the path of truth.
You are my Savior, aren’t you?
Mark the milestones of your mercy and love, God;
Rebuild the ancient landmarks!
Forget that I sowed wild oats;
Mark me with your sign of love.
Plan only the best for me, God!
God is fair and just;
He corrects the misdirected,
Sends them in the right direction.
He gives the rejects his hand,
And leads them step-by-step.

Philippians 2:1-11
Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.

Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.

Matthew 21:28-32
“Tell me what you think of this story: A man had two sons. He went up to the first and said, ‘Son, go out for the day and work in the vineyard.’ “The son answered, ‘I don’t want to.’ Later on he thought better of it and went. “The father gave the same command to the second son. He answered, ‘Sure, glad to.’ But he never went. “Which of the two sons did what the father asked?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said, “Yes, and I tell you that crooks and whores are going to precede you into God’s kingdom. John came to you showing you the right road. You turned up your noses at him, but the crooks and whores believed him. Even when you saw their changed lives, you didn’t care enough to change and believe him.


Timothy said...


I am not sure about the use of "crooks" as a translation of "tax-collectors," but I think Jesus is being very much pointed in his comments to his listeners. When I read "whores" I found it quite harsh as well, but I think Jesus is really trying to show that even the apparent "lowest" of society will see the Kingdom. Peterson here, I think, makes me uncomfortable, which I think Jesus intended to do as well.

owenswain said...


I think perhaps in Jesus day, to his first audience, "crooks and whores" may well have been precisely what "tax-collectors and prostitutes" sounded like. Yes, I think the words had that kind of import and impact. Blamo.

I have to confess to having had Christian snootiness regarding this translation/paraphrase. Regrettable. I regret sounding-off as I have about liking The Message less now as a Catholic than I did as a Protestant minister. I regret having that attitude at all for reasons I shall not fill the combox with.

For all our lay haggling, and I definitely include myself in the pewsitter-nitpicker group, many passages in our various often reference preferred translations sound largely the same, minus the fine tooth comb. However, there's little doubt that in the The Message, heart and head get their fair share of awakenings.

So, bunches of posts back I mouthed off and the only good thing I can say about that is it made me eat crow and have occasion to decide to revisit the The Message. I re-subscribed to the free New Message 4 This Week. I went digging for my old copy, minus the deuteros such as it is..

In the language of Message one can only image what Jesus may have referred to me in my bible arogant mode; wannabe religion scholar or worse likely and he wouldn't be wrong.

Timothy said...

Yeah, I think there is value to this translation. It can wake us up from our slumber of formal driven translations. Formal ones have an important value and certainly should be consulted for serious study, but as Owen has suggested, many of those formal translations are not all that different. It takes something like this to shock us a bit. Does the Message always hit the mark, no not always. However, when it does it can be eye opening. Plus, I think we end to be shocked by Jesus more often.

TS said...

I don't have a problem with the "crooks and whores" line because I think it's true to the meaning (tax collectors were crooks and "tax collector" would be heard as "crook" back then). I often like the vividness of "The Message" but just as often am distracted by the colloquialisms like, "Sure, glad to." I guess you can't have one without the other. Of these three readings I think the first reading came off the worse, probably because it's the easiest to understand in the more formal versions. "The Message" is surely at its best the more cryptic the verses.