Tuesday, April 11, 2018
Jesus was a Middle Eastern soul, a Semitic, a Hebrew, yet we have so Europeanize Him that we imagine Him speaking in English. Yet the Jesus I grew up with was not Middle-Eastern at all and we even tried to make Him less Jewish then He was. But He was a Jewish rabbi speaking the dialect of the Aramaic and formal Hebrew in the liturgy of the synagogue. To understand Him more accurately we in the West must translate our cultural Christ back in the Galilean Christ. And yet I offer … Christ is both and universal.
Here in the East, in these Hills of Jade, I am learning how Christ is both the Galilean Christ and the Asian Christ. Christ is both and universal. I am realizing that we must embrace the Christ of His origin and the Christ of His translation into diverse languages, diverse cultures, and even in diverse times.
I have heard the Sermon on the Mount in old-fashioned English from the times of King James and in the new-fangled English of modern America. I have also heard the Sermon on the Mount in Spanish, French, Haitian, Korean, Japanese, Portuguese and even in urban slang. And the spirit of the Sermon on Mount, the spirit of Christ, was present in all translations, though the words were different with their tonality in diverse melodies. And the preachers and teachers of the various cultures illustrated the Faith in different ways.
In my own lifetime, I had to translate the language of my upbringing from a rural agrarian culture to an urban technological culture. I had to translate “Bringing in the Sheaves” into “Bringing Home the Paycheck” and I think I am near the point … where I must translate it once again.
Here in these Sacred Hills of Jade, the Gospel has more a gentle tone, a more patient tone, focused more on the community, with a simplicity that goes against the currents of complexity. Here words more readily yield to quietude and not all mysteries are in need of being solved. Here … serenity and contentment are cherished; harmony is much desired.
The future … possibly even the present … will require translation once again.
In His Service always,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz