8 March
Lk 11:14-23

It happened in Ireland that a dying man bowed his head at mention of the devil in the prayers for the dying.  “Why?” asked the priest, greatly puzzled.  “Politeness costs nothing,” said the man, “and this is not the time to be making enemies!” 

If the devil doesn't seem as frightening as before, it could be due in part to some new translations of the Bible!  The power of the King James version of 1 Peter 5:8 (for example) is retained in the NRSV: “Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour!”  Such muscular English!  All those ‘ow’ sounds almost take you into the jungle!  Devour, and you almost see the bloody jaws!  The Christian Community Bible and the NIV retain this power, but the JB has the devil “looking for someone to eat!”  This kind of language makes the devil seem quite domesticated, like someone cruising around looking for a good restaurant, or perhaps politely taking a cookie from the plate! 

Everything fades with time – our characterisation of evil too.  The old devils fade, once their cover is blown.  But the reality is that there are always new devils.  And our translations don't always keep up with them.


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This page gives a very brief commentary by Donagh O’Shea on the gospel reading for each day of the month. 


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