Gospel Reflection for the 31st Sunday Ordinary Time Year C – November 3rd 2013
Full scripture for this Sunday is available on the Catholic Ireland website. Daily Scripture is also available. Our parish Prayers of the Faithful for this Sunday are made available on the Dublin Diocesan website.
Jesus entered Jericho and was going through the town when a man whose name was Zacchaeus made his appearance; he was one of the senior tax collectors and a wealthy man. He was anxious to see what kind of man Jesus was, but he was too short and could not see him for the crowd; So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus who was to pass that way. When Jesus reached the spot he looked up and spoke to him: ‘Zacchaeus, come down. Hurry, because I must stay at your house today.’ And he hurried down and welcomed him joyfully.
They all complained when they saw what was happening. ‘He has gone to stay at a sinner’s house’ they said. But Zacchaeus stood his ground and said to the Lord, ‘Look, sir, I am going to give half my property to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody I will pay him back four times the amount’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek out and save what was lost’.
Luke 19: 1-10
Oscar Romero was a traditional Archbishop in El Salvador, quite friendly with government circles. His friend Rutilio Grande was murdered by these officials. He knew then his life was totally changed. He spoke out for the poor and oppressed, was murdered saying Mass; he is on the way to canonisation, we hope.
People can change. Jesus knew that.
Zacchaeus changed from greed and arrogance to a fuller life of kindness and honesty. He got that from Jesus. He thought something might rub off from Jesus if he only saw him. It did!
Jesus saw the desire to change in him. People found it hard to believe it. God sees into the heart and his look lightens our lives. He saw behind the mask of Zacchaeus of greed, fears and maybe debts, which made him treat others unjustly, and saw a new future.
God loves us for who we are, and who we might be! We can change. How many people we may know in various stages of recovery and the huge change of life of the person who kicks and addiction.
Yes, you Can!
Believing in another can help change a person. A resounding ‘Yes, you can’, may raise up a a man or woman to new life.
The Christ of God comes in person to Zacchaeus and waits patiently for him to scramble down the tree. Christ wants to love the man’s goodness into existence. And he knew that Zacchaeus would not let him down – he admitted what he had done and would make it up.
God is the Lover of life in all of us and leads us gently to newness of life as he did with Zacchaeus.
Lord, bring to completion what you have begun in us.
Donal Neary SJ