Gospel Reflection for 31st Sunday Ordinary Time Year C – October 30th 2016
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
Have you ever had an experience which changed your life totally – a big change? Can be falling in love, birth of your child or grandchild, a book, travel to the developing world. A retreat or introduction to prayer. A big friendship. Marriage. Change happens all around when we are open to it. Meeting someone who blew your mind – like Zacchaeus found with Jesus.
A LITTLE MAN WITH A BIG PROBLEM
Zacchaeus was a little man with a big problem. Nobody liked him, he was a cheat and robbed them. He cheated people, like an addiction. Something in him wanted to change and become a better person.
A small man who wanted to see Jesus. Little did he know he had a big heart. He had swindled people, stolen their savings, and made them afraid to declare their money. He was rich but very unhappy. Maybe he needed minders to keep him safe and huge security in his house.
A BETTER LIFE
He had heard of Jesus. Jesus looked at him up in a tree and he raced down, hitting the ground fast so Jesus wouldn’t go by. Something about this man could cleanse him of his guilt, and help him live a better life. Make the best of him.
Maybe Jesus looked at him like nobody else did. No condemnation, only an invitation – that he would go to his house. Then he knew from his meeting with Jesus that he would change his life. He would give back what he robbed. He was willing to make amends, be less judging, more patient, and respectful of the other, hope for a more just world. All what Jesus asks?
Let the words echo: ‘I must stay at your house today’. Imagine yourself opening your ordinary door and allow Jesus into your home and your life.
Lord, céad míle fáilte, a hundred thousand welcomes.
Donal Neary SJ
Fr Donal Neary SJ is editor of the Sacred Heart Messenger