Zacchaeus

Let us pray (in silence) [that God’s love strengthen us to do God’s will]

Pause

Almighty and merciful God, [or Living God or Eternal God]
it is your gift alone
by which your faithful people
offer you true and laudable service,
grant, we beseech you,
that we may run, without stumbling, towards your promises;
through Jesus Christ
who is alive with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

The above ancient prayer is used by Roman Catholics and Episcopalians/Anglicans and others – and on the same day! It has a long, shared history which you can find here with commentary and reflection: Ordinary 31. The above is my rendering in my Book of Prayers in Common.

This Sunday’s Gospel story about Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10) is often mistranslated:

Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.”

The original is:

σταθεὶς δὲ Ζακχαῖος εἶπεν πρὸς τὸν κύριον Ἰδού, τὰ ἡμίση τῶν ὑπαρχόντων μου κύριε δίδωμι τοῖς πτωχοῖς καὶ εἴ τινός τι ἐσυκοφάντησα ἀποδίδωμι τετραπλοῦν

δίδωμι (give) and ἀποδίδωμι (restore) are not future at all; they are both present active indicative. These are things Zacchaeus is already doing.

In fact, the KJV gets it correct:

And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.

Preachers regularly retell this story and do exactly what is being argued against – they presume that this rich tax collector is living an unjust life. One larger context of this story is the rich ruler of Luke 18:18-25. Note, also, the sequence of the story. Jesus invites himself to Zacchaeus’ house before Zacchaeus’ proclamation that he lives a just life.

Some communities celebrate All Saints’ today.

Some other celebrations this coming week:

Monday 31 October: Reformation Day
Tuesday 1 November: All Saints
Wednesday 2 November: All Souls
Thursday 3 November: Martin de Porres
Friday 4 November: Charles Borromeo; Richard Hooker

You can add your ideas and resources below.

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image source: Zacchaeus by Stevns, Niels Larsen, 1864-1942

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