NAB changes Matthew 26:11 to read: ‘The COVID you will always have with you.’

WASHINGTON, DC—the Catholic Biblical Association announced a much-anticipated revision to the New American Bible yesterday. 

“We at the CBA are always advancing scholarship for continually better translations of the Word of God,” says Archie Wright, executive director of the Association. “After much research, we are confident a better reading of Matthew 26:11 is ‘the COVID you will always have with you,’ and so are proud to release an updated text.” 

Matthew 26:11 formerly began “the poor you will always have with you.” However, experts say this translation hinged upon the Greek word ptochous, who’s meaning has long been uncertain. 

“I’ve never been satisfied with that translation of ptochous,” visiting scholar Dr. Alan McHenry told us. “But now we know definitively that Jesus meant something approximating ‘COVID-19’ in modern English.” 

The new translation was not without its controversy either. Several scholars initially proposed alternative translations of ptochous, such as “the masking” or “the booster shots,” but these were rejected. But the editors say these scholars have “for the most part” come around to the new official translation, and scholarly consensus has been demonstrated. 

Dr. McHenry explained, “There’s always a few holdouts, but largely everyone on the team now recognizes that while ‘masking’ and ‘booster shots’ are shades of meaning within the Greek word for ‘COVID-19,’ a fuller translation is to render the verse ‘The COVID you will always have with you’ and let the implications speak for themselves.” He continued, “all that’s left is for the bishops to incorporate it into the lectionary.”

The USCCB said they have plans to update the lectionary with the new translation, hoping to finish by 2067. 

Originally published Jun 21, 2022