Continuing my series of Gospel translations (well, interpretations), here is the reading for today, 31st Sunday of Ordinary Time. Here we continue reading from S. Luke’s account of the Holy Gospel, with the story of Zacheaus, the tax-collector of Jericho who, upon meeting the Lord, gives away half his wealth to the poor and makes recompense fourfold to anyone he has cheated. It is an interesting story, partly because Jesus himself does not make any demands of Zacheaus – the initiative comes from him (“I must stay at your house”) but the response to this grace is the little tax-collector’s own idea. Perhaps this is why Jesus is not so demanding in his requirements in respect of Zacheaus’s wealth as he is with others (e.g. the rich young man who is told to “sell everything”). Anyway, here is my attempt at a translation; the passage is Luke 19:1-10*.
Now, having entered, he was passing through Jericho. And lo, a man by name called Zachaeus, who was the Archpublican and a rich man, desired to see who Jesus is, but could not because of the crowd, for he was little in stature. So, having run ahead, to the front, he got up into a sycamore in order that he might see him who was about to pass that way. And as he passed the way, glancing upwards, Jesus said to him, “Zachaeus, hasten and come down, for this same day in your house it is necessary for me to tarry.” Thus, hurrying down, he received him with joy. But all who saw this muttered among themselves, saying, “With a sinful man he has gone in to take his rest!” Standing up, Zacheaus spoke before the Lord, “Behold, half my means, Lord, to the poor I give, and if I have swindled someone of anything, I will restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “This same day, salvation has come to this house, for he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
*In fact, thanks to moving the feast of All Saints to the nearest Sunday when it falls on a Saturday or a Monday, in England and Wales we wont hear this Gospel today. Not that I am one to kick against the goad, but since I am under no canonical or other obligation, I still fully intend to celebrate the feast on the Feast Day!