Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Oxford NRSV (anglicized) Pocket Edition with Apocrypha in blue calfskin

Last week I mentioned my struggle with finding a reading Bible and alluded to a different Bible that I was now planning to use.  Well, this is the one I was speaking about, and I couldn't be happier.  

The Oxford NRSV (anglicized) Pocket Edition with Apocrypha in blue calfskin from 1998 is not an easy Bible to find these days.  I was blessed that my friend Jason offered his edition to me, since it has been out of print for a while now.  The edition that Oxford offers today does not come in the same cover material, although the page-layout is similar.  Last year, I reviewed the original NRSV w/Apocrypha compact in black genuine leather from Oxford, which I claimed was one of my favorite editions.  It remains so, but this one is much better.  The leather on the '98 edition is calfskin, which has an amazing feel and look to it.  This compact, in contrast to the older edition, also opens flat. The only thing I wish was included in this edition, but was included in the original, are the Oxford Bible maps.  I have no idea why they wouldn't include them, particularly in a Bible bound in premium leather.  Oh well, nothing ever is perfect.   (By the way, the 3 brand new wine-red ribbons were added by its previous owner, which I am grateful for!)

I hope you enjoy some of these pictures:

Monday, February 23, 2015

OBOY: Why I Prefer the NRSV

An important part of the "One Year, One Bible" initiative was choosing to stick with a particular translation for an entire year.  From my perspective, I wanted a translation that was both literary and formal enough for study, while also being useful for prayerful reading of scripture, as well as for teaching.  The obvious candidates were the RSV, NABRE, and NRSV.  Having been already quite familiar and comfortable with all three of these translations, it ultimately came down to a few factors and, to be honest, just going with my gut.  In the end, I chose the NRSV, which I haven't regretted in any way.  (The NABRE was a fairly close second.)

The first factor is that all of my favorite bible editions are in the NRSV translation.  This list includes the NOAB '91, Cambridge NRSV Reference Bible, and my new Oxford Compact in calfskin.  (Stay tuned for a post on the new compact later this week.)  All come in genuine to semi-premium leather and are made with the highest quality binding and materials.  In my opinion, none of the other "contenders" can match the NRSV in this regard.  I might also mention two other NRSV's that I own, the often overlooked NOAB 4th edition which is also beautifully made as well as the mid-90's Oxford reader's Bible.

Secondly, the vast majority of academic study materials I own, including commentaries, dictionaries, concordances, and interlinears, are keyed to the NRSV.  Neither the NABRE or RSV-CE have anywhere near the same in print today.

Thirdly, any Bible that I was going to choose must, in some way, reflect current scholarship and textual discoveries.  For example, if a translation does not acknowledge and utilize in some way the Dead Sea Scrolls, either in the translation itself or the textual notes, I think it is seriously lacking.  I know some will argue with me on this one.

Fourth, textual notes are a must for serious study.  Not only do they instruct the reader of other possible or more literal renderings, they can bring relief to a particular rendering you may disagree with.  There are a handful of places in the NRSV that I would have preferred a more traditional rendering.  Fortunately, more often than not, the textual note is honest enough to include that more traditional rendering.  I read somewhere that the NRSV committee chair, the late Bruce Metzger, commented that the textual notes were integral to the text itself.  No wonder that all editions of the NRSV must be printed with the textual notes.  Even the Saint John's Bible had to abide by this requirement.

Fifth, the issue of inclusive language played a role as well.  Over the past five years, mostly due to teaching high school students, I have recognized the necessity of inclusive language. I have had discussions in the classroom over what a translation means when it says "men" as opposed to human or something like it.  The English language has changed and the students I teach simply do not use the term "man" in an inclusive sense, as it once was.  To be honest, I don't use it in that sense either nor do I really remember a time when I did.  Now with that being said, I think there are a couple places where the NRSV went a tad bit too far in their use of inclusive language.  Daniel 7:13 is a clear example.  That rendering is only redeemed by the presence of a textual note with the literal translation of the Aramaic.  It must also be said, since I see this sometimes stated otherwise on the interwebs: The NRSV does not use vertical inclusive language, which means in relation to God.  The most recent, Catholic translation that did was the revised '91 NAB Psalms.  Fortunately, the NABRE Psalms are a great improvement over the '91 Psalms.

Sixth, the Saint John's Bible utilizes the NRSV.  

Seventh, another imporant reason is that the NRSV is an ecumenical translation.  As stated in Dei Verbum #22: "And should the opportunity arise and the Church authorities approve, if these translations are produced in cooperation with the separated brethren as well, all Christians will be able to use them."  This has become a more important issue for me over the years as well.

Finally, of all the translations out there, I simply enjoy reading from the NRSV more than the others.  This is all a personal preference to be sure, but it is something I have experienced for the better part of five years.  For a long time I avoided the NRSV due to what other people had said and written about it, but through spending a considerable amount of time reading and studying from the NRSV, I have found it to be both readable and reliable.  I keep going back to it.

So, those are the main reasons why I prefer the NRSV.  The other two translations are, of course, fine translations.  My comments in no way are meant to minimize the qualities that the other two possess.  To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if I change my mind once the NABRE NT finally comes out.  However, I have some time before that happens.  Until then, the NRSV will be my translation of choice.  

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Knox vs. The Message: 1st Sunday of Lent (Genesis 9:8-15)

I am going to continue this series of comparing one of the Sunday readings from the lectionary, using the Knox Bible and The Message.  While done in different ways, I think both Knox and Peterson desired to make the Bible more accessible to the average reader.  Let's see if they were successful. 

Here is a covenant I will observe with you and with your children after you, and with all living creatures, your companions, the birds and the beasts of burden and the cattle that came out of the Ark with you, and the wild beasts besides. Never more will the living creation be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again a flood to devastate the world. This, God said, shall be the pledge of the promise I am making to you, and to all living creatures, your companions, eternally; I will set my bow in the clouds, to be a pledge of my covenant with creation.  When I veil the sky with clouds, in those clouds my bow shall appear, to remind me of my promise to you, and to all the life that quickens mortal things; never shall the waters rise in flood again, and destroy all living creatures.

The Message:
Then God spoke to Noah and his sons: “I’m setting up my covenant with you including your children who will come after you, along with everything alive around you—birds, farm animals, wild animals—that came out of the ship with you. I’m setting up my covenant with you that never again will everything living be destroyed by floodwaters; no, never again will a flood destroy the Earth.”
God continued, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and everything living around you and everyone living after you. I’m putting my rainbow in the clouds, a sign of the covenant between me and the Earth. From now on, when I form a cloud over the Earth and the rainbow appears in the cloud, I’ll remember my covenant between me and you and everything living, that never again will floodwaters destroy all life.”

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Lectionary: A Treasure for Liturgy and Prayer

Now You Know Media has a new set out by Fr. Felix Just on the Lectionary.  It looks quite good.  Here is some information about it:
“The study of the sacred page, is as it were, the soul of sacred theology” (Dei Verbum, 24). This teaching from Vatican II emphasizes the importance of studying the Scriptures. But have you fully considered how you encounter the Word of God during the liturgy?
Thoughtful Catholics just like you listen to the readings during mass. Many study the Bible individually but most have not examined the careful and beautiful composition of the Lectionary for Mass. Even if you have undertaken such a careful examination, imagine doing so anew with fresh insight and an expert guide.
You undoubtedly know about the main seasons of the Christian liturgical year (Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter and Ordinary Time), but do you know which biblical readings are used at Mass and other liturgies celebrated in each season? What patterns connect the readings of one Sunday to the next? What are the connections between the several readings used at each liturgy?
This course explores the structure and contents of the Lectionary for Mass, provides an overview of its history and development, and suggests ways you can use it more fully. The course is designed not only for people already involved in liturgical ministries but also for any Christian who wants to become more familiar with the Lectionary and the liturgical year.
This 18-lecture program will also greatly increase your ability to use the Lectionary more regularly and more fully throughout the liturgical year.
Fr. Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D., is the Director of Biblical Education at the Loyola Institute for Spirituality in Orange, California. After receiving his Doctorate in New Testament Studies from Yale University, he taught at Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles), the University of San Francisco, and Santa Clara University. He was also director of the Center for Religion and Spirituality at LMU, and dean of the Lay Ecclesial Ministry and Deacon Formation Programs for the Diocese of Las Vegas. He regularly teaches courses, gives public lectures, and leads biblically-based days of prayer, parish missions, and weekend or weeklong retreats. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

An Update on "One Bible, One Year"

So, those of you who have joined me on this, how are you doing?  I have been doing ok, although I have made a slight adjustment.  At various points over the past month and a half I have been "tempted" to switch to a different Bible edition.  While switching to a different translation has never been the issue, the edition that I want to read from has evolved a bit.

As I posted on January 1st, I committed to reading from two NRSV's, the 1991 NOAB and the HarperOne Compact Thinline for the entire year.  I plan on doing a post soon as to why I chose the NRSV translation, but I will simply say now that I think the NRSV does the best of combining beautiful language with a (generally) formal equivalence translation philosophy, making it good for both reading and study.  As I said, more on this in a future post.

For study and teaching, I have remained steadfast in using my beloved 1991 NOAB NRSV.  It contains all the cross-references and annotations that I need on a daily basis as a teacher.  I always seem to go back to this Bible, ever since I found it a few years back.  However, the one thing that makes this Bible great, its large margins and easy reading page layout, makes it a bit difficult to use as a daily reading Bible for my morning prayer time or to take to a prayer group.

The Bible that I intended to be my reading Bible, the HarperOne Compact Thinline, is a fine Bible, but it just hasn't fit "my needs."  Strange thing to say, huh?  I feel even silly writing those word to be honest.  With all the issues in the world today, I am worrying about something like this!  However, the past month or so I feel like I have come to an important discovery about my relationship between prayer and scripture.  I would say that my main issue, which I have only realized through prayer, is the need to simply read the Bible without any study helps or maps or commentary or even a concordance!  I get too distracted with all those things.  I need to strip those things away and simply become immersed in the sacred word.  So, that is what I am going to do and, as we enter Lent, what a perfect time to do it!  In a future post, I will share with you the Bible I am going to use for this, which was generously offered to me by someone else.   I have come to prefer it for its portability and page layout.  More on this soon.

So, that is where I am at right now.  How are you?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ash Wednesday

But there’s also this, it’s not too late—
    God’s personal Message!—
“Come back to me and really mean it!
    Come fasting and weeping, sorry for your sins!”

Change your life, not just your clothes.
    Come back to Godyour God.
And here’s why: God is kind and merciful.
    He takes a deep breath, puts up with a lot,
This most patient God, extravagant in love,
    always ready to cancel catastrophe.
Who knows? Maybe he’ll do it now,
    maybe he’ll turn around and show pity.
Maybe, when all’s said and done,
    there’ll be blessings full and robust for your God!

Blow the ram’s horn trumpet in Zion!
    Declare a day of repentance, a holy fast day.
Call a public meeting.
    Get everyone there. Consecrate the congregation.
Make sure the elders come,
    but bring in the children, too, even the nursing babies,
Even men and women on their honeymoon—
    interrupt them and get them there.
Between Sanctuary entrance and altar,
    let the priests, God’s servants, weep tears of repentance.
Let them intercede: “Have mercy, God, on your people!
    Don’t abandon your heritage to contempt.
Don’t let the pagans take over and rule them
    and sneer, ‘And so where is this God of theirs?’”

At that, God went into action to get his land back.
    He took pity on his people.

-Joel 2:12-18 (MSG)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

My Lenten Reading 2015

Each year during the season of Lent I typically choose a devotional and a book to read, along with my daily use of the Liturgy of the Hours.  As I mentioned a few weeks back, I will be using Turning Around: Daily Lenten Reflections with The Message as a supplement to my daily prayer routine.  I am looking forward to starting that tomorrow with Ash Wednesday.  

The other book I will be reading is Fr. Donald Senior's Why the Cross?   The topic of this book seems timely, of course.  I have always enjoyed Fr. Senior's works, so this should be the perfect book for Lent.  Here is a short description of the book:

The meaning of Jesus's execution on a Roman cross is one of the most divisive issues in contemporary theological discourse because issues related to the goodness of God and the place of suffering in the Christian life are at stake. Although it is important to locate that discussion in the context of the range of New Testament perspectives on the soteriological significance of the cross, it is also important that we recover the meaning of the cross as a metaphor for discipleship. In the end, the event of Jesus’s death cannot be understood apart from the character of his life. This book will contribute to New Testament studies but also serve related discussions in theology and Christian formation.

I hope to comment, from time to time, about what I read, though not necessarily in an orderly fashion.  If you would like to join me in reading this book, let me know.  Those of you who are committing to some other kind of book or devotional, I would love to hear what you are doing this Lent.  

Monday, February 16, 2015

Dei Verbum at 50 (Paragraph 4)

In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Vatican II's Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, I will be posting twice a month, on Mondays, a paragraph from this important document.  There are a total of 26 paragraphs, so this will take us through to the Fall when we reach the anniversary of its promulgation by Pope Paul VI on November 18, 1965.  I look forward to our discussion.  May I suggest a helpful book by Fr. Ronald D. Witherup called The Word of God at Vatican II: Exploring Dei Verbum published by Liturgical Press.

4. Then, after speaking in many and varied ways through the prophets, "now at last in these days God has spoken to us in His Son" (Heb. 1:1-2). For He sent His Son, the eternal Word, who enlightens all men, so that He might dwell among men and tell them of the innermost being of God (see John 1:1-18). Jesus Christ, therefore, the Word made flesh, was sent as "a man to men." (3) He "speaks the words of God" (John 3;34), and completes the work of salvation which His Father gave Him to do (see John 5:36; John 17:4). To see Jesus is to see His Father (John 14:9). For this reason Jesus perfected revelation by fulfilling it through his whole work of making Himself present and manifesting Himself: through His words and deeds, His signs and wonders, but especially through His death and glorious resurrection from the dead and final sending of the Spirit of truth. Moreover He confirmed with divine testimony what revelation proclaimed, that God is with us to free us from the darkness of sin and death, and to raise us up to life eternal.

The Christian dispensation, therefore, as the new and definitive covenant, will never pass away and we now await no further new public revelation before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ (see 1 Tim. 6:14 and Tit. 2:13).

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Knox vs. The Message: 6th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Mark 1:40-45)

I am going to continue this series of comparing one of the Sunday readings from the lectionary, using the Knox Bible and The Message.  While done in different ways, I think both Knox and Peterson desired to make the Bible more accessible to the average reader.  Let's see if they were successful. 

Then a leper came up to him, asking for his aid; he knelt at his feet and said, If it be thy will, thou hast power to make me clean.  Jesus was moved with pity; he held out his hand and touched him, and said, It is my will; be thou made clean.  And at the word, the leprosy all at once left him, and he was cleansed. And he spoke to him threateningly, and sent him away there and then: Be sure thou dost not speak of this at all, he said, to anyone; away with thee, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift for thy cleansing which Moses ordained, to make the truth known to them. But he, as soon as he had gone away, began to talk publicly and spread the story round; so that Jesus could no longer go into any of the cities openly, but dwelt in lonely places apart; and still from every side they came to him

The Message:
A leper came to him, begging on his knees, “If you want to, you can cleanse me.”
Deeply moved, Jesus put out his hand, touched him, and said, “I want to. Be clean.” Then and there the leprosy was gone, his skin smooth and healthy. Jesus dismissed him with strict orders: “Say nothing to anyone. Take the offering for cleansing that Moses prescribed and present yourself to the priest. This will validate your healing to the people.” But as soon as the man was out of earshot, he told everyone he met what had happened, spreading the news all over town. So Jesus kept to out-of-the-way places, no longer able to move freely in and out of the city. But people found him, and came from all over.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Guest Review: The Didache Bible: Ignatius Bible Edition

I am happy to share with you a guest review from longtime reader Eric:

I received my copy of the Didache Bible a couple weeks ago (thanks Rose at Ignatius Press!), and I have been very impressed.  As with my other reviews, this one is written from the everyman-in-the-pew perspective.

First, out of the box...  I think Ignatius/MTF hit a home run with the physical size of this Bible:  it fits in the hand comfortably, isn't too big or too small, and has two ribbon markers (thanks!  ribbons good!).  The binding is nice and tight and has survived multiple trips to work in my briefcase for lunchtime reading.  I do like the synergy with it and the Catechism (both covers are a 

similar color), but the glossy cover on the Didache Bible isn't my personal cup of tea.  I would have preferred a hardcover material like on their regular Second Catholic edition hardcovers (a more matte simulated leather - I seem to remember it being called skivtex or something like that).  But, it's only a cover, and what's on the inside is what's important.  No worries anyways, I'm planning to pick up a leather-bound copy once they become available.

Physically, the interior layout is much improved over the regular Ignatius second Catholic edition.  I like the cross-references separated from the text by a red line, and separated by another from the footnotes.  I'd suggest maybe another half-point thicker on the line so it stands out more, but otherwise it's great!  The ghosting is well controlled, and I'm not sure what the difference in font or paragraph spacing are, but I do like it better than the regular 2CE. It's very comfortable on the eyes to read, and I don't think I would have had a problem before getting my bifocals.

We've had the RSV-2CE translation for almost a decade, so nothing more needs to be said about the it.  What really makes this edition even better is the footnotes.  And, here is where the Didache Bible truly shines.  For lack of a better term, the notes are theological.  They don't really go into textual variants from what I've seen (although they do address Is 7:14 virgin/young woman issue quite nicely).  They explain the 'why' quite nicely.    The apologetics inserts are very helpful; they give enough information to get the reader going on the subject, without trying to go into overwhelming detail.  I haven't had a chance to read through too many of them yet, but they reference both scripture and catechism.  The notes don't go into a lot of of the more historical explanations like other study Bibles, but do point out the symbolism behind various passages (such as explaining Jesus appearing to the poor and the pagans when discussing the visit of the wise men in Matt 2).  And much of it is based on the Catechism, but also references some saints and early church fathers along the way.

In many ways, this is the study Bible that a lot of Catholics have been waiting for.  I think this Bible fits nicely in the spectrum of RSV-2CE offerings; we have a very portable devotional NT & Psalms; a still portable mainly text Bible, a theological treatment of scripture, and the full-bore study Bible (well, NT plus parts of the OT).  This will be a great resource to help teach CCD students about the Bible by relating it directly to church teaching.  I think pairing the Didache Bible with either the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible or one of the NABRE or Jerusalem Bibles would make a truly powerful tool for a Bible study, by pulling scripture out of a vacuum and integrating it directly with church teaching.  Maybe we'd have to call it Bible-and-Church study if this is used.

Some other good features:
- Maps.  Lots of maps.  Easy to understand maps.  Non-boring maps.  Awesome!
- Book intros - a perfect length.  
- Indexes and glossaries to reference important terms and the apologetics inserts.

One thing I wish would have been included would be the actual Didache.  I know this may seem silly, but to me, if you're going to name a Bible after the Didache, it would be nice to actually have the Didache in there (as a back of the book appendix would be fine).  I also hope that in the future, they would do a Didache Bible using the NABRE.  Why?  Not because I'm a fan of the NABRE (I'm not, despite my enjoyment of the Little Rock study Bible), but since it is the translation I think all the US Dioceses use for CCD, attaching it only to the RSV-2CE will keep it out of a lot of parish classrooms, where I think it would excel.

Overall, I think Ignatius and Midwest Theological Forum hit a home run with this.  I look forward to the leather edition.  (When I asked Rose at Ignatius,her reply was the leather version was several weeks or months away, and that could always change.)  Either way, if you don't have the RSV-2CE translation, this is a great and unique version.  Even if you do, it would be a great addition, as the commentary is great and much needed and appreciated.  Five stars out of five (if it came in a premium leather, six stars out of five).

And, a second thank you to Rose at Ignatius Press for providing me a review copy for this review.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

7 Questions: Deacon Jim Knipper of Clear Faith Publishing

Deacon Jim Knipper is a Roman Catholic deacon serving the Diocese of Trenton, N.J. When not serving his faith community at St. Paul’s in Princeton, he is CEO of J. Knipper and Company, Inc., and a principal of Clear Faith Publishing LLC and editor/contributor of this book.  Make sure to visit the Clear Faith Publishing website and see their selection of books and artwork. 

1) Deacon Jim, could you start off by telling my readers a little about yourself and the ministry work you are involved in currently? 

 After having raised four sons, I live in Princeton, NJ with my wife Teresa. I am CEO of my own company which is focused on pharmaceutical distribution. In 2008 I was ordained a Permanent Deacon in the Diocese of Trenton, NJ and serve the community of St. Paul Church in Princeton. My ministries at the parish revolve around liturgy and sacrament preparation.

2) How did Clear Faith Publishing start and what would say are your hopes for it? 

 I’ve always had a love and a passion for homilies, even before I was ordained, and have been blessed to have many talented pastors over the years. After my ordination I wanted to find a way to blend the longtime passion I have for inspired and inspiring homilies with the diaconal call to serve and help those in need. Brainstorming with some talented friends led to the idea of a series of books with homilies by Christian men and women who excel at the art of preaching, using a corporate structure whereby the proceeds from these books would go to charities. So I decided to create my own publishing company to better control of the end product and maximize proceeds available for donation. Thus, Clear Faith Publishing was launched just over three years ago.

 3) I recently purchased your three volume Homilists for the Homeless set, which is a collection of homilies from notable Christians for the Sunday and Feast Day Lectionary readings. What inspired you to produce this?

 In doing my own research I found that there were not a plethora of books available for preachers as well as those in the pews that effectively broke open the Sunday and Feast Day readings. With some many articles being written about poor preaching (including words from Pope Francis!) I saw a need to see what we could produce that would be new and different. So reaching out to a variety of talented writers and homilists I decided to publish over three years a set of books covering the three yearly Liturgical Cycles.

4) What was the process like in getting such a wide-range and impressive list of contributors to this project?

 Actually it was a bit easier than I thought. I have been blessed to travel the past five years with Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM and thus have met some incredible people. At the same time there is some great talent right here in the greater New Jersey area. So once I started asking – everyone quickly jumped on board. From the start all the Contributors easily saw how the project was a win-win for the readers as well as the the charities who benefit from the proceeds.

5) When I opened the package that contained the Homilists for The Homeless set what immediately struck me was how beautiful the books and the illustrations were in each volume. Each week's homily is beautifully laid out on each page, allowing ease of reading and room enough to interact with the text through underlining, highlighting, or personal notes. The illustrations also add another element for reflection for the reader. Could you discuss the work you did, as well as illustrator Brother Mickey O'Neill McGrath, in producing such a beautiful set of books?

Thanks for your positive feedback! Indeed we have a great team within my small publishing company. Before we even pulled together the first book we knew that we wanted to publish something visually attractive and designed/printed with a high quality. Our design and layouts are done by Doug Cordes, based in New York City. Doug has an incredible eye and talent for making a book easy to read. Then all of the art is by my good friend, Br. Mickey McGrath, OSFS. Mickey, creates art for many of today’s leading Catholic publishers and organizations and was one of the first to say yes to this project. There is no doubt that his cover art, along with the design work of Doug really make this set of books stand out. 

6) What can we expect in the future from Clear Faith Publishing?

 We continue to work on new publishing projects. Over the past few years we’ve been building upon our relationship with our 'resident artist' Br. Mickey. This past year, in addition to designing and producing his annual calendar and Christmas cards, we published one of his newest books, Good Saint John XXIII. We have also been working closely with one of our contributors, Fr. Bill Bausch in refreshing and rereleasing some of his earlier books. In addition, we’re in the process of completing design and production of his new book, using the working title, Sagas, Scholars & Searchers, which should be released as he celebrates his 60th year as a priest in the spring of this year. Based on the positive feedback we’re receiving, we exploring the possibility of releasing a book of homilies focused on "non-Sunday" liturgies, such as baptisms, weddings, and funerals. And then, of course, we’ll begin again for the next round of yearly cycles! We are also expanding the ways that we are being multipliers of the Word. Such as, this summer we will sponsor Fr. Richard Rohr on two river cruises in France and Germany, each providing daily teaching opportunities as well as visiting incredible sights.

7) Could you share with my readers what your favorite scriptures passage is and why? 

 Wow – that is a great question. I have many, but one of my favorites would be the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). For where many who hear the story focus on the “prodigal” or reckless nature of the young son who spends his inheritance on wine and women. Whereas the story is really about the ‘prodigal’, uncontrolled and unwarranted love of the father...the love that our God has for all of us, without exception. I often wonder how different our daily life would be if kept in mind the closing lines spoken by the father: “My son [my daughter], you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” For indeed, God celebrates each of our lives and always calls out to us…even when we feel dead or when we are lost in our ways or feel the heavy burden of so much anxiety in our daily lives. God finds us. God is always with us. All that God has is ours. All. Always. Forever.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Pre-Lent Contest Winner

Thanks to all who entered this contest.  The winner is...........Joe Ross.  Joe, please email me, mccorm45(at)yahoo(dot)com, within a week to receive your prize.  

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Knox vs. The Message: 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Psalm 147:1-6)

I am going to continue this series of comparing one of the Sunday readings from the lectionary, using the Knox Bible and The Message.  While done in different ways, I think both Knox and Peterson desired to make the Bible more accessible to the average reader.  Let's see if they were successful.  This week I am mixing it up a bit by using the Responsorial Psalm.

Praise the Lord; the Lord is gracious; sing to our God, a God who so claims our love; praise is his right.  
The Lord is rebuilding Jerusalem, is calling the banished sons of Israel home; 
He it is that heals the broken heart, and binds up its wounds.  
Does he not know the number of the stars, and call each by its name?  
How great a Lord is ours, how magnificent his strength, how inscrutable his wisdom!  
The Lord is the defender of the oppressed, and lays the wicked low in the dust.

The Message
It’s a good thing to sing praise to our God;
praise is beautiful, praise is fitting.
God’s the one who rebuilds Jerusalem,
who regathers Israel’s scattered exiles.
He heals the heartbroken
and bandages their wounds.
He counts the stars
and assigns each a name.
Our Lord is great, with limitless strength;
we’ll never comprehend what he knows and does.
God puts the fallen on their feet again
and pushes the wicked into the ditch.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Little Rock Study on Exodus

10 sessions 
An excellent way to focus our thoughts and deepen our prayer life during Lent is to turn to the Bible. This Lent, follow the themes of liberation, wilderness, covenant, and God's dwelling with his people. Now is the perfect time to begin a study of Exodus to discover how God’s people are led out of the darkness and into the light.

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Study Set: $15.00, Sale Price: $11.25

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Offer ends March 4, 2015

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Pre-Lent Contest

We are a couple weeks away from beginning the holy season of Lent.  As a way to prepare for those 40 Days, I am happy to offer a contest for my readers who live in North America.  The winner will receive a pretty fantastic prize pack.

If selected you will receive the following three items, which should could them you busy well beyond Lent:

1) Hardback edition of The Didache Bible: Ignatius Bible Edition (Ignatius Press/MTF)

2) On Englishing the Bible by Ronald Knox (Baronius Press)

3) Turning Around: Daily Lenten Reflections with The Message (ACTA)

Rules for the contest:
 1) If you have a website or blog or are active on Facebook, 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 and tell me, in one sentence, what Lent means to you.  I, along with my wife, will choose one winner from all the entries.  The conclusion of the contest will be on Sunday February 8th at 11:59 PM.

3) I will announce the winner on the following Monday or Tuesday. The winners must contact me, via email, within a week with their full name and address.

 4) One entry per person.

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

Thank you to the generous people at ACTA and Baronius Press for providing their items for this contest.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Dei Verbum at 50 (Paragraph 3)

In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Vatican II's Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, I will be posting twice a month, on Mondays, a paragraph from this important document.  There are a total of 26 paragraphs, so this will take us through to the Fall when we reach the anniversary of its promulgation by Pope Paul VI on November 18, 1965.  I look forward to our discussion.  May I suggest a helpful book by Fr. Ronald D. Witherup called The Word of God at Vatican II: Exploring Dei Verbum published by Liturgical Press.

3. God, who through the Word creates all things (see John 1:3) and keeps them in existence, gives men an enduring witness to Himself in created realities (see Rom. 1:19-20). Planning to make known the way of heavenly salvation, He went further and from the start manifested Himself to our first parents. Then after their fall His promise of redemption aroused in them the hope of being saved (see Gen. 3:15) and from that time on He ceaselessly kept the human race in His care, to give eternal life to those who perseveringly do good in search of salvation (see Rom. 2:6-7). Then, at the time He had appointed He called Abraham in order to make of him a great nation (see Gen. 12:2). Through the patriarchs, and after them through Moses and the prophets, He taught this people to acknowledge Himself the one living and true God, provident father and just judge, and to wait for the Savior promised by Him, and in this manner prepared the way for the Gospel down through the centuries.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Knox vs. The Message: 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mark 1:21-28)

I am going to continue this series of comparing one of the Sunday readings from the lectionary, using the Knox Bible and The Message.  While done in different ways, I think both Knox and Peterson desired to make the Bible more accessible to the average reader.  Let's see if they were successful.

So they made their way to Capharnaum; here, as soon as the sabbath came, he went into the synagogue and taught; and they were amazed by his teaching, for he sat there teaching them like one who had authority, not like the scribes.  And there, in the synagogue, was a man possessed by an unclean spirit, who cried aloud: Why dost thou meddle with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Hast thou come to make an end of us? I recognize thee for what thou art, the Holy One of God.  Jesus spoke to him threateningly; Silence! he said; come out of him.  Then the unclean spirit threw him into a convulsion, and cried with a loud voice, and so came out of him. All were full of astonishment; What can this be? they asked one another. What is this new teaching? See how he has authority to lay his commands even on the unclean spirits, and they obey him!  And the story of his doings at once spread through the whole region of Galilee.

The Message:
Then they entered Capernaum. When the Sabbath arrived, Jesus lost no time in getting to the meeting place. He spent the day there teaching. They were surprised at his teaching—so forthright, so confident—not quibbling and quoting like the religion scholars.  Suddenly, while still in the meeting place, he was interrupted by a man who was deeply disturbed and yelling out, “What business do you have here with us, Jesus? Nazarene! I know what you’re up to! You’re the Holy One of God, and you’ve come to destroy us!” Jesus shut him up: “Quiet! Get out of him!” The afflicting spirit threw the man into spasms, protesting loudly—and got out. Everyone there was incredulous, buzzing with curiosity. “What’s going on here? A new teaching that does what it says? He shuts up defiling, demonic spirits and sends them packing!” News of this traveled fast and was soon all over Galilee.