Sunday, April 10, 2016

Why Was Acts 5:40 Misquoted In Today's First Reading?

Having read the Bible through a few times, I noticed this immediately as the first reading was being read today.  Because the same misquote appears in my missal and the USCCB site, I realize that it originated from a national authority, or maybe even the Vatican itself.  I believe it goes back at least as far as Pope Benedict XVI and most likely even further back.

The entire sequence of Acts 5:27-41 describes an encounter between the Apostles and the Sanhedrin.  A large chunk of the account was already omitted; this is the section where the Jewish officials are discussing among themselves how they should proceed.  But for some reason verse 40 was distorted by those who chose the readings.  Here's how verse 40 was read: "the Sanhedrin ordered the Apostles to stop speaking in the name of Jesus and dismissed them."

Here's the verse in its entirety, from the Douay-Rheims: "And calling in the apostles, after they had scourged them, they charged them that they should not speak at all in the name of Jesus; and they dismissed them."

Verse 41 states: "So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name."

If we understand the insipid mentality of the "church of nice", it's not too hard to figure out why mention of the scourging was omitted.  We live in the days of Emory University, when mere chalking of the name "Trump" sends overgrown cry-babies scurrying for their "safe spaces" where they can cower and suck their thumbs.

The "church of nice" doesn't want anyone to feel the slightest twinge of discomfort - not even when it comes to issues of heaven versus hell.  It is uncomfortable for us to consider that perhaps our ongoing conduct may have us on the path to hell.  It is uncomfortable to admit that we're wrong, that we must confess our sins in the Sacrament of Confession, that we must make some uncomfortable effort to amend our lives.  However, if we're unwilling to face discomfort in this life, we will suffer pains in hell that will by far dwarf any discomfort that we experience now.

Too many of us are reluctant, and even refuse, to take on attendant discomforts in confronting our post-modern culture of death.  We don't want to admit that we must take up our crosses and follow Him.  That's not an option; that's a necessity.  We must face it.  Regrettably when our "church of nice" leaders obfuscate that message, as what happened in today's first reading, they do Catholics a gross disservice.

The Apostles understood the need to take up their crosses and they embraced them.  They rejoiced when they were found worthy to do so, as verse 41 states.  They rejoiced, not so much because of the finger-wagging that the Sanhedrin gave them, but because of the scourging.  I would imagine that it was somewhat akin to what Our Lord suffered, albeit on a greatly reduced scale since they were able to walk away.

Our God is merciful, but that mercy comes at a cost of repentance and taking up of our crosses.  I regret that the first reading did a gross disservice to that truth.  I also regret that Amoris Laetitia is doing even worse.


  1. Actually, the verse as read at your Mass fits in perfectly with the times we live in. The Sanhedrin told the apostles to stop speaking about Jesus. These shocking words must have caused the apostles great mental anguish. After all, no one had ever told them before that they couldn't do something. And yet - showing they had the stuff that makes martyrs - they hurried off to their safe spaces rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer such humiliation.

    I hope that clears everything up.

  2. It could possibly be a diocesan thing, meaning that folks heard different versions depending on what diocese you were in. EWTN, as well as my diocese, definitely had the version wherein the scourging was omitted. However, if you listen to this video from, it is included. I do not know if the deacon speaking is from the same diocese wherein is located, however. This is a sad thing, though. I really do feel that the faithful should complain. Our Lord was scourged, too, remember? What is next? The omitting of the Rosary? His Passion?!

    I would note, too, that I have the RSV-CE (Catholic Edition), and it does indeed say "they were beaten." My advice? Pray for this to be again included in Mass, but in the meantime, read it yourselves in an edition where this is included.

    This is terrible!

  3. In the same vein: in the UK little is now made of the extensive number of Martyrs who died in the cause of The (old) Mass!

  4. Why would anyone attend a liturgy where the word of God is gutted? This happens more often than not in the Novus Ordo. Check the Responsorial Psalms against the D-R Bible and you will see the gut-and-paste job almost every Sunday.

  5. I noticed that too which was odd because when it was read during the daily Mass reading on Friday, (Acts 5:34-42) it included the scourging. It's not like the Sunday reading was too long Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41. All they had to do was back up half a verse. I guess the whipping was okay to include for the daily Mass goers but too mean for the Sunday only folks. Bizarro!

  6. I sat in my pew and thought that something was wrong. By leaving out the scourging the editors completely gutted the reading.


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