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Sunday 30 October 2022


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


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.

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, or below. 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.

Resources off this site:
Girardian Reflections on the Lectionary
Add your suggestions in the comments below.

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

Reflection on the Collect

This translates the Latin original we have been praying for over a thousand years:

Omnipotens et misericors Deus, de cuius munere venit, ut tibi a fidelibus tuis digne et laudabiliter serviatur: tribue, quaesumus, nobis; ut ad promissiones tuas sine offensione curramus.

Leonine Sacramentary (#574) Masses for July. Gelasian Sacramentary (#1206) for one of the Sunday Masses. Gregorian supplement (#1165) for the thirteenth Sunday after the Pentecost octave. Sarum and all BCPs to 1928 had it for the thirteenth Sunday after Trinity.

Cranmer translated this as:

ALMYGHTIE and mercyfull God, of whose onely gifte it cometh that thy faythfull people doe unto thee true and laudable service; graunte we beseche thee, that we may so runne to thy heavenly promises, that we faile not finally to attayne the same; through Jesus Christe our Lorde.

[Obsolete] ICEL 1973 translated this for Roman Catholics as:

God of power and mercy, only with your help can we offer you fitting service and praise. May we live the faith we profess and trust your promise of eternal life.

In the failed 1998 English Missal translation:

Almighty and merciful God,
from whom every blessing flows,
only by your gift
do your people offer you fitting service and praise; grant, we beseech you,
that we may hasten without stumbling
toward the joys that you promise.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.

The 2011 Roman Catholic translation, prayed on the same day as Episcopalians/Anglicans and others, is:

Almighty and merciful God,
by whose gift your faithful offer you
right and praiseworthy service,
grant we pray, that we may hasten without stumbling
to receive the things you have promised.
Through our Lord…

The Book of Common Prayer (TEC) p.235 has it as:

Almighty and merciful God,
it is only by your gift
that your faithful people offer you true and laudable service:
Grant that we may run without stumbling to obtain your heavenly promises;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Munus – a service, office, post (in Greek leitourgia liturgy) – civic work for others (or God). Or – a present, a gift.

Offensio (cf offendo) – a striking against, a stumbling.

We pray that we might run without stumbling – save us from the time of trial. The revisers of the 1662 BCP altered the ending so significantly as to change its meaning:

ALMIGHTY and merciful God, of whose only gift it cometh that thy faithful people do unto thee true and laudable service; Grant, we beseech thee, that we may so faithfully serve thee in this life, that we fail not finally to attain thy heavenly promises; through the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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