Gospel Reflection: Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
Malvern Minute

 

THIRTY- FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

OCTOBER 30, 2016

Alleluia, Alleluia.

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,

so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke 19: 1-10

At that time, Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town. Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way.

When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.”  And he came down quickly and received him with joy.  When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.” 

But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.”  And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.  For the Son of Man has come to seek
and to save what was lost
.”

The Gospel of the Lord

 

REFLECTION

Jericho is currently situated in the West Bank area of Israel under the authority of the Palestinian Authority.  Archeologists claim that Jericho is one of the oldest, if not the oldest city in the world.  In the time of Jesus, it was at a significant cross-roads of trade and culture.  Therefore, Zacchaeus, the tax collector was in the right place at the right time for making money!   Little did he realize that he was also at the right place and the right time for salvation!

The Gospel teaches an incredible lesson: if we imitate Zacchaeus, the sinner who was seeking to see who Jesus was, Jesus will find us as He did Zacchaeus!

Zacchaeus was short in stature – both physically and spiritually, but he did not let that prevent him from seeking out Jesus.  The Gospel episode becomes almost comical – this short guy running here and there trying to pop his head up high enough to see Jesus.  Yet, in the midst of this funny display, one must admire the determination of Zacchaeus who did not let the crowd or the humiliation of himself frustrate his effort to see Jesus.  How often have we suppressed our religious convictions or devotion to Jesus because we were afraid of public ridicule from friends or family?

Zacchaeus’ persistent effort at seeking Jesus was rewarded beyond his wildest dreams. While he sought Jesus, Jesus desired him more!  While he could not get to Jesus, Jesus got to him — Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house!

While initially, Zacchaeus wanted only to see who Jesus was, now he had the opportunity of hosting Jesus in his home.  God always goes well beyond our hopes and dreams when we are open to Him!  This episode so clearly reminds us of the activity at Holy Mass: Behold the Lamb of God …. Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof ….   We may think ourselves to be too small, and may only want a small peak of Jesus, Jesus has no difficulty coming down to us and entering the home of our hearts — For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.

This indeed is a beautiful story of Divine Encounter and Human Transformation.  While Humanity often only looks from afar at Jesus; Jesus Christ pursues sinners.   And, when we open our hearts even a little, His Divine Presence can transform us from self-centered little people into self-giving giant imitators of God!

Zacchaeus welcomed Jesus and the encounter transformed him.  Boldly he stood in the midst of the crowd and made his transformation public: Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.

On this Tuesday, we will celebrate All Saints Day.  It is a day each year when we acknowledge all the saintly people we have encountered in our lives, in family and friendship.  While those individuals may not be in stain glass windows adorning a church, we know them as small people who were transformed by Christ into living examples of God.   Let us pray, that all of us modern day Zacchaeuses will never stop seeking Jesus, opening our homes to him and allowing Him to make us into the saints that He desires!  Amen!

 

WE BELIEVE, AND THEREFORE SPEAK (2 Corinthians 4:13)

Consider joining the Men and Women of Malvern by deepening your personal relationship with Jesus and your commitment as a disciple through a weekend retreat.  See our Web Site for details: MalvernRetreat.com

 

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