The Lectionary


My understanding is the Lectionary was interpreted in accordance with the Catholic tradition to articulate Catholic teachings, doctrines etc. I’m happy to be corrected.

Last Sunday in the Maronite calendar it was the feast of the Annunciation. The angel’s greeting to Mary in the Gospel of Luke was read as “Greetings, favoured one” at Mass. Why wasn’t it interpreted as “Hail, full of grace” in line with our Catholic teaching and prayer?


Because “Greetings, favoured one” is a more correct translation of the original Greek.


No, it’s not. “Kecharitomene” is not “yo, favored chick.” It’s a word only used in the Bible for Mary. Protestant scholars of Greek generally agree that it’s not just talking about “favor,” but about “grace.” We don’t translate Paul’s “charis” that way, amusing as it might be; * and we shouldn’t translate Luke that way.

The answer is that the English-language Catholic lectionary at this time is part of a “common lectionary” project that uses the same Bible translation adopted by many other Christian communities. The bishops figure this unity is more important than an exact translation.**

This particular Bible translation has a goal of using “ordinary language,” even in places where the Bible itself uses extraordinary language. This tends to mute the meaning and importance of many passages. Sometimes interrelated words and passages are also not clear. Homilies should deal with this, to make sure that people learn it anyway; but we also need to read up for ourselves and find out what the Church has said through the ages.

  • It really would be amusing.

“Amazing favor! how sweet the savor
That saviored a wretch like me.
I once was havered, but now am recovered.
Eye-disabled, but now I see.”

** Personally, I don’t agree; but the good Lord didn’t make me a bishop. (For which everyone can be thankful.)


No it’s not. “Full of grace”, while slightly better, isn’t as precise either.

The fact of the matter is, “kecharitomene” just cannot be elegantly translated into English without losing some of the precision.

I won’t twist into knots over “highly favoured” or “favoured one”, and I won’t exalt “full of grace” as the litmus test of all Catholic orthodoxy.

Mary is “kecharitomene”, and I’ll leave it at that.


I realize that most people want to make far more of Luke 1:28 than intended. Nobody is saying that Mary didn’t have a special honor.

From G5485; to grace, that is, indue with special honor: - make accepted, be highly favoured.

closed #6

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit