November 3, 2019 - 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time
The first reading from the book of Wisdom extols God’s deep love for mankind and His ability and willingness to guide us past our sins toward Him. God corrects our faults so that we will turn to Him, our God. I featured this reading in the preamble of this post because it is so meaningful to me, the expression of God's love and how God loves all that He creates, and nothing can remain created without God's love. If you, or anyone, ever doubts God's unconditional love for you, this is your mantra scripture, and mine!
"For you love all things that are and loathe nothing that you have made;
for what you hated, you would not have fashioned."
I can think of only one thing that God hates: sin. God did not create sin. What an amazing scripture!
In the Gospel reading we enjoy a comical impression of a very short man, a tax collector names Zacchaeus (za KAY ous) who is a known “cheater”, who is curious about who Jesus is and wants to see him but he is so short that he cannot see around or above the crowds! So, Zacchaeus runs ahead to a sycamore tree and climbs it and waits for Jesus to pass so he can see him. As Jesus approaches he looks up into the tree and calls out to him, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.”
As we know from previous readings, the Pharisees are quite upset that Jesus fraternizes with “sinners”, and they will not be happy he is staying at the home of this particular sinner.
Zacchaeus, who is very excited to welcome Jesus to his home, says to Jesus, “Lord, I am going to give half of everything I have to the poor. And if I have ever cheated anyone out of money, I am going to pay them back four times as much.” Then Jesus says to Zacchaeus, “Today you have been saved because you, too, are one of the family of Abraham. For I have come to seek and to save the people who are lost.”
There are two very important points to the Gospel reading which must be emphasized and taken to heart:
1. Jesus came to look for sinners so he could save them
2. When we meet Jesus, we change our lives.
We can see clearly how these two points were demonstrated in the Gospel reading. It was Jesus who spoke to Zacchaeus, finding him in the tree and calling to him to come down. Jesus is particularly drawn to sinners because that is the purpose of His coming, to save us from our sins. Jesus is the lamb of God, the final sacrifice for all mankind, that takes away the sins of the world. Zacchaeus makes an immediate change in his life beginning with the fact that he calls Jesus, not by his name, but “Lord”, and redeems himself by promising to give half of everything he has to the poor and promising to repay anyone he has cheated four times as much.
This is a shining example for us to follow. It exemplifies the belief, and understanding, and faith that those who meet Jesus change their lives and follow Him. Presumably we have all met Jesus, therefore the question stands:
“Have we changed our lives?”
God has always made paths that lead us to Him. He so loves mankind, His beloved creation, that He has done extraordinary things to look past our sins and instead make paths that bring us closer to Him and His love and mercy. Jesus is the ultimate path, God made man, in the final extraordinary covenant between God and His creation, mankind.
Jesus did not seek out the holy and wise, he looked for the sinners and he saved them. Just as doctors do not heal well people, Jesus did not come to save people who did not need saving. He came to cure the sick. Understanding this brings us a deeper appreciation for the ministry of Christ Jesus and of His passion and death on the cross. This story occurs on the way to that end. We must pay attention to what Jesus did and said while he walked among us because it shows us the path to our own salvation.
In the second reading for this Sunday is a prayer that hopes for all mankind to be made worthy of God’s calling and that our acts of faith glorify our Lord Jesus!
2 Thes 1:11 – 2:2
Brothers and sisters:
We always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of His calling and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose and every effort of faith, that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, in accord with the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ.
The Psalm this week is #145 I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
Have a most blessed week!
Yours in Christ,