Friday, July 31, 2015

NCV Answers

Thanks to reader Lenny for receiving the following information directly from Catholic Book Publishing:

Thank you for your inquiry concerning the New Catholic Version (“NCV”) of the New Testament published by Catholic Book.  


Regarding the purpose of the NCV, we sought to provide a clear, faithful, and accurate translation that would allow for a more global reach than the New “American” Bible (NAB) translation. Since becoming the original publisher of the NAB in 1970, we have met resistance over the years in marketing that translation internationally. We do continue to support and publish the NABRE. Being able to offer a translation with a more universal name, however, can only serve to provide English-speaking Catholics worldwide with another version to satisfy their interest in, devotion to, and study of the Word of God. In fact, seeking authorization and approval for the translation from the Episcopal Commission on the Bible Apostolate in the Philippines is very much in line with this purpose—considering it is a country of over 80 million Catholics. It is interesting to note that America has fewer (approximately 73 million).


We commissioned a highly qualified team of translators headed by noted and respected biblical scholar Rev. Jude Winkler, OFM Conv., S.S.L. The team began their work on the completely new and original NCV translation (from the Nestle Aland Greek New Testament, Biblia Hebraica, and the Aramaic) some 20 years ago, with efforts focused on both the Psalms (favorably received, especially with regard to its copious and informative footnotes when released in 2002) and the New Testament since these are considered the books with the greatest appeal for Catholics. Their commitment and dedication have achieved a trustworthy formal equivalence translation.


In accord with the Code of Canon Law, the Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines granted a Rescript approving for publication the New Testament Books of the St. Joseph New Catholic Version and stating that the translation is intended for private use and study only and may never be used for liturgical purposes.

Weekly Knox: Church Services

"What an extraordinary thing it is that nobody minds waiting five minutes for a train, but if you wait five minutes in chuch for a service to start it always feels like hours." -Occasional Sermons

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Question

We have been having a great conversation discussing all things NCV over at the previous post.  Unfortunately, there is so little that we know, everything tends to be speculative.  While speculation can be great fun, something else has been stirring in me during the past few days.  It is this: I wonder if, like our politics, we align ourselves to a particular translation because that allows us to feel comfortable in a particular segment of the Church?  You can certainly see this in a number of Protestant communities, most notably during the past decade with the rise of the ESV and the whole revised TNIV/NIV debate. Yet, this isn't just a Protestant thing.

I remember well over a decade ago being told by a group of people that a particular translation was the only faithful Catholic Bible I could trust.  This caused me to look upon others translations with great suspicion, even to the point that if someone came to a bible study with one of those "other translations", I'd question whether or not that person was serious about studying the Bible. While I know I have changed dramatically over these past 10-15 years, I am not certain that things are much different today in the Church.

So I throw that question out to you.  I also have been thinking about this in connection to the whole One Bible, One Year challenge.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

New Catholic Version: New Testament

Don't you love it when a new Catholic translation of the Bible is published, yet you don't know much about it.  (Thank you to a comment from a reader who alerted me to this.)  Well, Catholic Book Publishing produced the NCV Psalms a decade ago.  Some of you have mentioned it here before, but I haven't really had the time to investigate it.  Who knew that they also were commissioning a New Testament translation?  Could an Old Testament be far behind?  I picked up a compact paperback copy of the NCV New Testament at a local Catholic book store.  There were also editions in a larger paperback illustrated edition, as well as a vest pocket edition in imitation leather.  In all the editions I saw, the words of Christ were in red.

Before I speak of the translation, since I really haven't had time to look into it, enjoy some photos from below.  I will say, since I know some of you will ask, that Luke 1:28 is translated "full of grace."  All three of the editions of the NCV that I looked at had the exact same look and feel as the Saint Joseph edition NABRE's from Catholic Book Publishing.  Also note that it has been approved, with canonical rescript, via the Philippines Bishops Conference.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Book Review: CCSS "Revelation" by Peter Williamson

There are few books in the Bible that are as difficult and cause such disagreement in interpretation than the book of Revelation.  All one has to do is either turn on the TV to a local televangelist or search any online bookseller to see how Revelation can be used for any number of supposed real time applications and predictions.  Some people seem to obsess over this book, while many more simply avoid it.  This makes teaching the Book of Revelation all the more difficult.  Students, both new and seasoned, come to this book with a whole lot of preconceptions about what is in it.  In the past, I have utilized a number of commentaries, including ones by Metzger, Barber, Koester, among others, all of which are quite good in their own way.  Because of this, in the past when I was asked to recommend one particular commentary on Revelation, I would usually recommend at least two.  This was due to my desire to offer something that touched both the scholarly and pastoral elements of this book.  Now, I will simply be encouraging people to get Peter Williamson's Revelation in the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture series.   In my opinion, it does the best job in offering the average Catholic a gateway into this book, without sacrificing scholarly rigor.  I could see this being used in undergraduate scripture classes, as well as serious parish bible study groups.

Revelation offers a helpful section by section commentary of the book, utilizing the NABRE translation, combined with numerous additional essays, maps, images, quotes from Christian writers of the past and present, and a glossary keyed to the text.  As the description rightly points out, the commentary is "supplemented by features designed to help readers understand the Bible more deeply and use it more effectively in teaching, preaching, evangelization, and other forms of ministry. Drawn from the best of contemporary scholarship, series volumes are keyed to the liturgical year and include an index of pastoral subjects."  Each section (pericope) contains the NABRE text and Williamson's commentary, along with an extremely helpful reference section that includes OT and NT references, connections to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and lectionary reference.  This, of course, allows the reader the opportunity to dig a little deeper if they desire.  And they should!  Each page also includes footnotes to other commentaries utilized, as well as discussions about how a particular word or passage is translated.  Although the CCSS uses the NABRE as its base translation, each author in the series regularly points out other renderings from translations like the RSV, NRSV, ESV, and NJB.  This is very helpful, making this commentary series applicable no matter which translation you prefer.  (I should mention that the extent to which Williamson refers to other translations is not necessarily found in other volumes in this series.  Certainly in his edition on Ephesians he refers often to alternative renderings, but, for example, the other newly released volume in the series, on the Gospel of John by Martin and Wright, rarely refers to other renderings in the major English translations.)

There is so much in this edition that I like, outside of Williamson's commentary, but I am just going to mention a few elements which I think particularly stand out.  First off, one of the first things you notice when you open this volume of the CCSS is that there is a 20 page introduction.  The typical issues are considered including author, date, audience, theological perspective, literary style, message, and interpretation.  Within this introduction is a concise examination of the four views of interpreting Revelation, known popularly as the historicist, preterist, futurist, and idealist.  Understanding these views is necessary, particularly when engaging other commentaries about Revelation.  Williamson examines each of these, giving a sympathetic description and recognizing the insights found in each view.

Secondly, the jewel of this volume are the extremely helpful and insightful sidebars that "present historical, literary, or theological information" that tackle many of the confusing and debated issues found in the Book of Revelation.  I counted a total of 57 sidebars which enhance your study of Revelation.  Some example, which I found particularly helpful, were "The Catechism of the AntiChrist", "Food Offered to Idols and the New Testament", "Interpretation of Babylon in Christian Tradition", and "Mary, the Woman Clothed with the Sun".  All of these sidebars are strategically placed in the within the commentary to match them to the scriptural passage.  There is also a helpful index at the back of the volume which lists all the sidebars.

Thirdly, I really enjoy the illustations and pictures that are included in this volume.  There are a total of 22, which cover not only artistic renditions of the Book of Revelation, for example Albrecht Durer's woodcuts, but also images of such archaeological finds like a coin of Jewish revolutionary Bar Kochba and a bust of the emperor Nero.  In the back, there is also included a map for Asia Minor.

Let me conclude with a brief comment about this series in general.  One of the things that makes it unique, in my opinion, is that it has garnered support from the full spectrum of Catholic Biblical scholars and clergy.  A quick look at their endorsements page show this.  I think there is something to be said about this, particularly in a time when there continues to be polarization in the Church.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday's Message: 17th Week in Ordinary Time (B)

Welcome back to another edition of 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? I have used it while teaching my high school theology classes, along with the NRSV and NABRE, and have had positive results. 

I would like to also propose a question or offer an encouragement each week to reflect upon, particularly in light of the rendering found here in The Message: Where has God shown His abundance in your life?

2 Kings 4:42-44
One day a man arrived from Baal Shalishah. He brought the man of God twenty loaves of fresh-baked bread from the early harvest, along with a few apples from the orchard.
Elisha said, “Pass it around to the people to eat.”
His servant said, “For a hundred men? There’s not nearly enough!”
Elisha said, “Just go ahead and do it. God says there’s plenty.”
And sure enough, there was. He passed around what he had—they not only ate, but had leftovers.

Psalm 145
Creation and creatures applaud you, God;
your holy people bless you.
They talk about the glories of your rule,
they exclaim over your splendor,
All eyes are on you, expectant;
you give them their meals on time.
Generous to a fault,
you lavish your favor on all creatures.
Everything God does is right—
the trademark on all his works is love.
God’s there, listening for all who pray,
for all who pray and mean it.

Ephesians 4:1-6
In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.  You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness.

John 6:1-15
After this, Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee (some call it Tiberias). A huge crowd followed him, attracted by the miracles they had seen him do among the sick. When he got to the other side, he climbed a hill and sat down, surrounded by his disciples. It was nearly time for the Feast of Passover, kept annually by the Jews.  When Jesus looked out and saw that a large crowd had arrived, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy bread to feed these people?” He said this to stretch Philip’s faith. He already knew what he was going to do.Philip answered, “Two hundred silver pieces wouldn’t be enough to buy bread for each person to get a piece.”One of the disciples—it was Andrew, brother to Simon Peter—said, “There’s a little boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But that’s a drop in the bucket for a crowd like this.”  Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” There was a nice carpet of green grass in this place. They sat down, about five thousand of them. Then Jesus took the bread and, having given thanks, gave it to those who were seated. He did the same with the fish. All ate as much as they wanted.  When the people had eaten their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the leftovers so nothing is wasted.” They went to work and filled twelve large baskets with leftovers from the five barley loaves.  The people realized that God was at work among them in what Jesus had just done. They said, “This is the Prophet for sure, God’s Prophet right here in Galilee!” Jesus saw that in their enthusiasm, they were about to grab him and make him king, so he slipped off and went back up the mountain to be by himself.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Weekly Knox: Together with Mary

In discussing how one could get discouraged on retreat, Knox encourages his readers to stay "together with Mary"  and to "try and put yourself in the position of those first apostles, who now and again, perhaps, in the course of their ungrateful novena (between Ascension and Pentecost), would steal a look at her motionless figure and wonder what thoughts were passing through her mind.  Keep her close in view; the spring of her perpetual virginity will rejuvenate us." - A Retreat for Lay People

Thursday, July 23, 2015

True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin (Hardback Classic)

Those of you who have been readers of this blog for a while know that one of my favorite publishers is Baronius Press.  For finely crafted Bibles, prayer books, and hardcover classics, they are about as good as it get in the Catholic publishing world.  Over the years, I have been blessed to receive review copies from Baronius, mostly in the form of Bibles.  I decided, however, a few weeks back to order one of their hardback classic books.  I don't know about you, but as my desire to only purchase well-made Bibles has increased, the same thing is starting to happen for other spiritual books from the Catholic tradition.  Many of my favorite older, vintage books, for example from Msgr. Knox, are in great condition with a strong binding, even though a few of them are almost 100 years old.  So, I asked myself, why not start to slowly get some of the more important Catholic books in a good quality edition?    

So, I decided to first look for a new edition of one of my favorite books The True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin by St. Louis-Marie De Montfort.  I had a one volume complete collection of his works, which was really beautiful, but it, unfortunately, was a casualty in the great flood of August 11th, 2014.  So, I did a quick Amazon search for True Devotion and there popped up the Baronius edition.  I'll be honest, I had forgotten that they had re-published it.  So, I decided to order it, assuming it would be of high quality.  I was surprised to find he price was only a bit over $20.00.

When it arrived, I instantly fell in love with it, much like I did when I first opened up my Knox Bible.  The size is a very portable at 5 1/2" X 8 1/3".  The width is quite thin too, encompassing only 176 pages.  The binding is sewn and the hardcover is a blue bonded leather over 1/8" boards.  The blue color matches the one used for The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary that they offer.  The cover material makes them a match, as you will see below.  In addition to that similarity, they both use a thick paper.  By thick paper, I mean that it is noticeably thicker than what is used for their Bibles and prayer books.  This makes the print, which is dark and well-spaced, jump off the page.  This book is a delight to read from, which is in sharp contrast to a much smaller paperback edition of True Devotion that I have had for a number of years.  This volume is printed in India.

There is a lovely yellow ribbon included, which makes it very suitable to daily devotional reading.  As with the majority of the volumes Baronius publishes, there are head and tail bands as well as endpapers.  I love endpapers.  One of things I miss about my Knox Bible, which I had rebound in goatskin by Leonard's, is the missing endpapers that needed to come out.  The ones here in the True Devotion add a nice touch of class and elegance to this book.  

Along with the text, itself, there is a preface from Baronius Press, as well as one from the translator Fr. Faber.  Also, there is a Letter to the Clergy (1883) from Herbert, the bishop of Salford.  In the appendix, there is a supplement on How to Practise this Devotion in Holy Communion and an act of Consecration to Jesus by the hands of Mary.  

Overall, I really admire the work and craftsmanship that went into this volume.  The price for this lovely volume is remarkable as well.  I would think it would easily be sold for over $30.00.  I have been using it everyday since it arrived and plan on getting some of their other editions in the future. You can check their website to see which ones are currently available.   They sell-out quickly, so if there is something you like, I'd advise that you get it.  Some of them will be printed again, but which ones and how many is uncertain.  

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

My NRSV w/ Apocrypha Compact Rebind

Over the years, I have had a few bibles rebound by the fine people at Leonard's.  Each time, I have always been extremely satisfied with the finished project.  This time around, I decided to try someone else, upon recommendation from a friend.  So, I connected with Diego Caloca, who is new to this industry.  According to Diego, he desires to begin a "Bible rebinding ministry that I believe the LORD has put on my heart. I would love to give my spare time to my brothers and sisters all over the USA."  Sounded good to me!

So, I sent Diego a brand new HarperOne NRSV w/Apocrypha compact edition.  I love the portability of this bible.  Also, it is very easy to read from, even though it is a compact.  Also, it is smyth-sewn, which is an important element of any rebind.  Diego was able to complete the project in about 3 weeks and I couldn't be happier with the results.  The formerly bonded leather bible with one blue ribbon, now is covered in lambskin leather, with a lamb cover liner, and lamb end pages.  The blue ribbon has been removed and replaced with two higher quality brown ones.  This is also the first Bible that I have had with a yapp.  On the spine are blind imprinted "Holy Bible", "NRSV", and my initials "TPM".  

I have included some pictures below.  Let me know if you have any questions.  


Monday, July 20, 2015

Dei Verbum at 50 (Paragraph 15)

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.

15. The principal purpose to which the plan of the old covenant was directed was to prepare for the coming of Christ, the redeemer of all and of the messianic kingdom, to announce this coming by prophecy (see Luke 24:44; John 5:39; 1 Peter 1:10), and to indicate its meaning through various types (see 1 Cor. 10:12). Now the books of the Old Testament, in accordance with the state of mankind before the time of salvation established by Christ, reveal to all men the knowledge of God and of man and the ways in which God, just and merciful, deals with men. These books, though they also contain some things which are incomplete and temporary, nevertheless show us true divine pedagogy.  These same books, then, give expression to a lively sense of God, contain a store of sublime teachings about God, sound wisdom about human life, and a wonderful treasury of prayers, and in them the mystery of our salvation is present in a hidden way. Christians should receive them with reverence.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sunday's Message: 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time (B)

Welcome back to another edition of 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? I have used it while teaching my high school theology classes, along with the NRSV and NABRE, and have had positive results. 

I would like to also propose a question or offer an encouragement each week to reflect upon, particularly in light of the rendering found here in The Message: What does that great Biblical image of God as shepherd mean to you?

Jeremiah 23:1-6:
“Doom to the shepherd-leaders who butcher and scatter my sheep!” God’s Decree. “So here is what I, God, Israel’s God, say to the shepherd-leaders who misled my people: ‘You’ve scattered my sheep. You’ve driven them off. You haven’t kept your eye on them. Well, let me tell you, I’m keeping my eye on you, keeping track of your criminal behavior. I’ll take over and gather what’s left of my sheep, gather them in from all the lands where I’ve driven them. I’ll bring them back where they belong, and they’ll recover and flourish. I’ll set shepherd-leaders over them who will take good care of them. They won’t live in fear or panic anymore. All the lost sheep rounded up!’ God’s Decree.”
“Time’s coming”—God’s Decree—
“when I’ll establish a truly righteous David-Branch,
A ruler who knows how to rule justly.
He’ll make sure of justice and keep people united.
In his time Judah will be secure again
and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name they’ll give him: ‘God-Who-Puts-Everything-Right.’"

Psalm 23
God, my shepherd!
I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.
Even when the way goes through
Death Valley,
I’m not afraid
when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook
makes me feel secure.
You serve me a six-course dinner
right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.
Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.

Ephesians 2:13-18
But don’t take any of this for granted. It was only yesterday that you outsiders to God’s ways had no idea of any of this, didn’t know the first thing about the way God works, hadn’t the faintest idea of Christ. You knew nothing of that rich history of God’s covenants and promises in Israel, hadn’t a clue about what God was doing in the world at large. Now because of Christ—dying that death, shedding that blood—you who were once out of it altogether are in on everything.
The Messiah has made things up between us so that we’re now together on this, both non-Jewish outsiders and Jewish insiders. He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance. He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped. Then he started over. Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, he created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody.
Christ brought us together through his death on the cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated us as equals, and so made us equals. Through him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father.

Mark 6:30-34
The apostles then rendezvoused with Jesus and reported on all that they had done and taught. Jesus said, “Come off by yourselves; let’s take a break and get a little rest.” For there was constant coming and going. They didn’t even have time to eat.
So they got in the boat and went off to a remote place by themselves. Someone saw them going and the word got around. From the surrounding towns people went out on foot, running, and got there ahead of them. When Jesus arrived, he saw this huge crowd. At the sight of them, his heart broke—like sheep with no shepherd they were. He went right to work teaching them.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Bonus Weekly Knox

As I am reading through Knox's Retreat for Lay People and reflecting on the state of the world today, this quote grabbed me: "It won't matter frightfully if the Day of Judgement comes and finds us asleep in bed.  What will matter is if it finds us sitting about in arm-chairs and telling one another that the world isn't worth saving."

Weekly Knox: Seeing Straight

"We are not, please God, blind as Bartimaeus was, but our spectacles have got a good deal furred over, haven't they?  We don't see straight always; we mistake the things that aren't worth having, the things that aren't worth doing, for things that are.  And when he asks us what he can do for us, we still have to answer, 'Lord, give me back my sight!  Give me back the clear sight I had when I was fresh from school, with all the influence of a Catholic training; give me back the clear sight I had when I was a new convert, and my way was all mapped out for me in black and white.  Give me back the power to see things straight, as they really are!'" -The Layman and His Conscience

Thursday, July 16, 2015

NIV Zondervan Study Bible

A pleasant reminder that our Protestant brothers and sisters consistently make better and more innovative study Bibles in a more timely manner:
NIV Zondervan Study Bible

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Didache Rebound

You knew it was going to happen soon, right?  Well, veteran of the comment box and reader of this blog, Rolf, had his Didache Bible (RSV-2CE) rebound by Leonard's.  I know there are more of you out there who are contemplating doing the exact same thing.  I hope this helps your discernment!

Thanks Rolf for sharing a few words and these great pictures with us:

This is my second Bible rebind from Leonard's. As many of you know, last July I had my Oxford NABRE large print Bible rebound (see review) and has been my main Bible for most of last year. 
In January the Didache Bible (RSV-2CE) was published and I really like that Bible and use it as much (maybe more). So since it has been a year since I rebound the NABRE, I thought I would rebind the Didache Bible as well. I chose a forest colored pebble grain cowhide and added one forest green ribbon marker to the two existing markers. The genuine cowhide is not only soft but very flexible! The Bible lays flat in all positions. It is one of the leathers that Leonard's recommends for larger size B

These are the two Bibles that I use everyday so I feel that the extra expense is worth it! I don't spend money on much else.  Unfortunately Catholic book publishers have not figured out that we also would like to have a nice Bible! At least offer genuine leather, but few even offer that? So some of us have to take a different route, and Leonard's is a good choice! 

Monday, July 13, 2015

RSV-CE winner!

This was really difficult to choose.  But after some thought, the winner is Adolfo. Thank you for all the great entries.  Adolfo please email me, mccorm45(at)yahoo(dot)com, with your name and address.  I'll get the Bible out to you this week.

God bless!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sunday's Message: 15th Week in Ordinary Time (B)

Welcome back to another edition of 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? I have used it while teaching my high school theology classes, along with the NRSV and NABRE, and have had positive results. 

I would like to also propose a question or offer an encouragement each week to reflect upon, particularly in light of the rendering found here in The Message: God has called us all to mission.  To be a Christian is to be a missionary.  In what areas of your life are you a missionary for Christ?

Amos 7:12-15
Amaziah confronted Amos: “Seer, be on your way! Get out of here and go back to Judah where you came from! Hang out there. Do your preaching there. But no more preaching at Bethel! Don’t show your face here again. This is the king’s chapel. This is a royal shrine.”
But Amos stood up to Amaziah: “I never set up to be a preacher, never had plans to be a preacher. I raised cattle and I pruned trees. Then God took me off the farm and said, ‘Go preach to my people Israel.’

Psalm 85
I can’t wait to hear what he’ll say.
God’s about to pronounce his people well,
The holy people he loves so much,
so they’ll never again live like fools.
See how close his salvation is to those who fear him?
Our country is home base for Glory!
Love and Truth meet in the street,
Right Living and Whole Living embrace and kiss!
Truth sprouts green from the ground,
Right Living pours down from the skies!
Oh yes! God gives Goodness and Beauty;
our land responds with Bounty and Blessing.
Right Living strides out before him,
and clears a path for his passage.

Ephesians 1:3-14
How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.
Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.
It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.
It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.

Mark 6:7-13
Jesus called the Twelve to him, and sent them out in pairs. He gave them authority and power to deal with the evil opposition. He sent them off with these instructions:
“Don’t think you need a lot of extra equipment for this. You are the equipment. No special appeals for funds. Keep it simple.
“And no luxury inns. Get a modest place and be content there until you leave.
“If you’re not welcomed, not listened to, quietly withdraw. Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way.”
Then they were on the road. They preached with joyful urgency that life can be radically different; right and left they sent the demons packing; they brought wellness to the sick, anointing their bodies, healing their spirits.

Friday, July 10, 2015

A Jerusalem Bible for Sale

On EBay there is a lovely Jerusalem Bible for sale at a reasonable price.  Thanks to reader Eric for pointing this out.  Here is the link:

Weekly Knox: Mystics

Msgr. Ronald Knox is one of those authors/guides that I continue to come back to time and time again.  (The other author I would include in this, at least for me, is Thomas Merton.)  This isn't just the case because he is the unofficial patron of this blog as well as the one who created one of my favorite translations of the Bible.  No, it is because if you look at the immensity of his published work, it seems to cover almost every facet of a life of faith.  Almost sixty years after his death, you can still purchase books authored by him on subjects like apologetics, theology, biblical commentaries, the spiritual life, translations of the Bible (as well as others), and even detective novels.  I find this man extraordinary and do wish he received a bit more attention that he does.  (Although I am not sure he would care all that much!) 

So, I am hoping to give Ronnie a more regular presence on this blog from now on.  I have, of course, done this in the past with such series as "Sunday Knox" and "Knox on Translation" as well as others.  Therefore, I will begin a series today called "Weekly Knox" which will hopefully provide an insightful quote from Knox concerning a whole range of issues.  I make these selections from a variety of his works that I own, as well as referencing from the out-of-print gem The Quotable Knox by Ignatius Press.  I may even reference a passage from his translation of the Bible from time to time.  I hope you find this series enlightening.  My hope is that it plays an ever small part in continuing to introduce people to this amazing man.

"Christian mysticism claims its superiority over Oriental mysticism precisely because its ultimate goal is that of complete harmony between two different persons, not the absorption of one personality into another.  The goal of ordinary human love (in spite of the poets' language) is not identity, but correspondence.  And it is in complete correspondence between his heart and the Heart of Jesus that the Christian looks forward to that full fruition of love, which is his hope for eternity." - Some Loose Stones

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Leonard's Fix-Up: RSV-CE (Oxford)

A number of years back, I highlighted the thinline qualities of an Oxford RSV-CE readers edition, which is now out-of-print.  Because it didn't have cross-references, I copied a page of the "Old Testament references in the New Testament" chart and adhered it to the back end pages.  I ended up using it for a few months but discovered that there was a problem with it.  The binding, around the Pastoral Letters, was beginning to come loose.  I was disappointed by this and simply put this Bible away.  After the flood we had last August, I found it in a box that had miraculously survived.  I remembered the issue I had with it, so again I put it a side.  A month or two back, I decided to have it fixed up by the fine folks at Leonard's.  I have had two bibles rebound them, including my beloved Knox, so I thought about seeing what they could do with this one.  I wanted to keep the pacific duvelle cover, which I always enjoyed, but there were a series of other things I wanted done: 1) Tighten the sewing in the back, located primarily around the Pastorals; 2) Remove all glossy pages in the front; 3) Recast the book in the same cover; 4) Remove ribbon and add 3 navy ribbon markers.

Here are the before pictures:

And here are some pictures of what Leonard's did:

In the end, they did a great job at a reasonable price.  Again, if you are looking to have a bible rebound or fixed, go to Leonard's.

Now, if you made it all the way down here, I would like to offer you an opportunity to have this great Bible.  The is available for anyone in Canada or the United States.  You have until this Sunday, July 10th, at 11:59 PM to enter.  You must answer this question in the comments of this blog: What one passage of Scripture describes your faith and why?  One entry per person.  Please make sure to put a name at the end of your answer, particularly if you post anonymously.  I will announce the winner on Monday.  The winner has one week to contact me.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Dei Verbum at 50 (Paragraph 14)

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.

14. In carefully planning and preparing the salvation of the whole human race the God of infinite love, by a special dispensation, chose for Himself a people to whom He would entrust His promises. First He entered into a covenant with Abraham (see Gen. 15:18) and, through Moses, with the people of Israel (see Ex. 24:8). To this people which He had acquired for Himself, He so manifested Himself through words and deeds as the one true and living God that Israel came to know by experience the ways of God with men. Then too, when God Himself spoke to them through the mouth of the prophets, Israel daily gained a deeper and clearer understanding of His ways and made them more widely known among the nations (see Ps. 21:29; 95:1-3; Is. 2:1-5; Jer. 3:17). The plan of salvation foretold by the sacred authors, recounted and explained by them, is found as the true word of God in the books of the Old Testament: these books, therefore, written under divine inspiration, remain permanently valuable. "For all that was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope" (Rom. 15:4).

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Sunday's Message: 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

Welcome back to another edition of 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? I have used it while teaching my high school theology classes, along with the NRSV and NABRE, and have had positive results. 

I would like to also propose a question or offer an encouragement each week to reflect upon, particularly in light of the rendering found here in The Message: How often have you lived out your role as a prophet in society?  Has there been a time when you found yourself in a situation where you could have spoken for (or against) something, but instead you were afraid and remained silent?  

Ezekiel 2:2-5
The moment I heard the voice, the Spirit entered me and put me on my feet. As he spoke to me, I listened.
He said, “Son of man, I’m sending you to the family of Israel, a rebellious nation if there ever was one. They and their ancestors have fomented rebellion right up to the present. They’re a hard case, these people to whom I’m sending you—hardened in their sin. Tell them, ‘This is the Message of God, the Master.’ They are a defiant bunch. Whether or not they listen, at least they’ll know that a prophet’s been here. But don’t be afraid of them, son of man, and don’t be afraid of anything they say. Don’t be afraid when living among them is like stepping on thorns or finding scorpions in your bed. Don’t be afraid of their mean words or their hard looks. They’re a bunch of rebels. Your job is to speak to them."

Psalm 123
I look to you, heaven-dwelling God,
look up to you for help.
Like servants, alert to their master’s commands,
like a maiden attending her lady,
We’re watching and waiting, holding our breath,
awaiting your word of mercy.
Mercy, God, mercy!
We’ve been kicked around long enough,
Kicked in the teeth by complacent rich men,
kicked when we’re down by arrogant brutes.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

Mark 6:1-6
He left there and returned to his hometown. His disciples came along. On the Sabbath, he gave a lecture in the meeting place. He made a real hit, impressing everyone. “We had no idea he was this good!” they said. “How did he get so wise all of a sudden, get such ability?”
But in the next breath they were cutting him down: “He’s just a carpenter—Mary’s boy. We’ve known him since he was a kid. We know his brothers, James, Justus, Jude, and Simon, and his sisters. Who does he think he is?” They tripped over what little they knew about him and fell, sprawling. And they never got any further.
Jesus told them, “A prophet has little honor in his hometown, among his relatives, on the streets he played in as a child.” Jesus wasn’t able to do much of anything there—he laid hands on a few sick people and healed them, that’s all. He couldn’t get over their stubbornness. He left and made a circuit of the other villages, teaching.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Knox on a New Apologetics

I was reading through the recently released book The Lost Works of Ronald Knox by Catholic Answers last night.  The last section in the book is an unfinished work by Knox on apologetics.  He died before he could finish it.  In this work, which consists of three chapters, Knox realized that a new way of doing apologetics would be needed for the post-World War II world, particularly in the West.  I found this insightful quote, which I will share below, that I think is as important now as it was when he wrote it in the mid-50's.  Something to think about in the year 2015.

"I think that our Catholic apologetics, nearly all of it, strike the modern reader as inhuman.  Just because it is worked out with such mathematical precision, just because a suitable answer comes pat to every afflicts our contemporaries with a sense of malaise.  Our answers seem too glib, too 'slick'; there is something machine-made about them. They are clothed with the appearance of truth, but they do not smell of reality." -Ronald Knox in "Proving God"

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Loveliness of Knox

Just doing some reading today from my Knox Bible and found myself in Ecclesiasticus (or Sirach) chapter 47 concerning the praise of David.  I just love how Knox renders verses 2-4.  I will put the NRSV translation first, followed by Knox.  This is how a dynamic equivalence translation can be of true merit.

"As the fat is set apart from the offering of well-being, so David was set apart from the Israelites. He played with lions as though they were young goats, and with bears as though they were lambs of the flock. In his youth did he not kill a giant, and take away the people’s disgrace, when he whirled the stone in the sling and struck down the boasting Goliath?"

"Only the fat from the sacrifice, only David out of all Israel; the Lord must have ever the best! Here was one that would use lion or bear as playthings for his sport, tussle with them as if they had been yearling lambs. Such was his boyhood; and who but he should save the honour of his people, by slaying the giant? He had but to lift his hand, and the stone aimed from his sling brought low the pride of Goliath."

Learning to Read the Bible the Way Jesus Did by Philip Jenkins

This is a helpful article on perspective, give it a read:

A Question from a Reader

I am looking for a couple very specific things for a priest in my life and am hoping you could assist. He wants a RSV-CE2 study bible, one with large margins, preferable lined margins, for note taking and remarks. I suggested he print his own since finding one has posed a problem to say the least. As a result he is In search of a PDF that includes annotations and footnotes, so that he can format and print it in large margin for himself. If you can help find either of those things, I know he would be so very grateful. Thank you! 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Summer Bible Giveaway

Happy Summer to you!  Every so often I feel the need to giveaway many of the Bibles I have obtained over the years.   The truth is that I continue to have too many Bibles and need to focus on the ones that I actually read.  Or should I say, the one or two that I actually read.  So, below you will find a list of Bibles, all of which are in good-very good condition.  For the most part, there is no writing or highlighting in them*.  All of these Bibles are free.  Yes, free. 

*The older, used Bibles listed, like the Douay and Confraternity have names written in the back cover along with the family register section.

However, there are conditions:
1) 1 Bible per person
2) You must email me with your one request.  First come, first serve.  Only email me if you actually want the Bible, since there were a few last time around who never collected the one they requested.
3) You pay for shipping.  My humble Catholic high school theology teacher salary won't allow me to ship all these out to you for free.  So, depending on the size, I am asking for $5-10 for each item shipped.  I think that is reasonable.  If you desire to send more as a donation, I will always accept that as well!  :)
4) Shipping must be only to an address in the US or Canada.  When I have shipped to outside North America in the past, it has cost me well over $20.
5) I will send out your package once I receive shipping costs. 

The Bibles and a Missal:
1) Early 20th Century leather Douay-Rheims (w/large yapp) John Murphy Company
2) Oxford compact KJV NT and Psalms (0426X) East India Calf Binding
3) Bonded leather New Jerusalem Bible (Doubleday)
4) Hardcover Confraternity-Douay OT/Confraternity NT (1963) Catholic Book Publishing
5) HarperOne Catholic Gift Bible NRSV-CE burgundy imitation leather
6) CTS Sunday Missal according to Third Edition of Roman Missal (Uses adapted Jerusalem Bible) Hardcover
7) Ignatius Press RSV-CE Compact Bible (zipper) bonded leather
8) Hardcover NRSV-CE Catholic Bible Press