31st Sunday (Wisdom 11:22-12:2; Psalm 144; 2 Thessalonians 1:11-2:2; Luke 19:1-10)

The readings at Mass today tell us about the grace and mercy of God in loving all of His creation, for all things that exist are the works of God. Interestingly, human beings may be small compared to the trees, large animals, and planets and stars, and human beings are also not as pure as the hosts of Angels who are pure spirits, yet humans who are both corporeal and spirit, are made in the image and likeness of God, and it is for us that the Word of God, the only Begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ, came to save all of us who were lost due to sin. He gave His life for us so we may have eternal life. He conquered sin and death and rose from the dead and continues to minister to us firstly through His Apostles and the ordained ministers and their successors, the Pope, Bishops and Cardinals, Priests and Deacons, and also concurrently through the faithful people of God, all members of the Church of Christ. The Lord Jesus and His Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit, the God of all creation, all peoples and all nations, wants to redeem, renew and save all the works of His hands. For God is love, and He wants all to be in communion with Him, in love and unity and peace.

In the Gospel, we see how our Lord Jesus enters the city of Jericho, with His disciples and apostles and followers, and as usual during the time of His ministry, a large crowd would welcome Him because they have heard of His wisdom, understanding, healing ministry, authority over unclean spirits and nature, and even His power to forgive sin and raise people from the dead back to life.

Immediately Jesus’ attention was turned to Zacchaeus, a senior tax collector who is very wealthy and works as a senior official in the local government of the Roman Empire which is occupying the land of Israel; and just like the other Jews who served as Roman soldiers and tax collectors, Zacchaeus is seen as an outcast and public sinner in Jewish society at that time. When Jesus chooses to stay at Zacchaeus’ house, this brings about the criticism of many people; however, we must remember that Jesus being the Christ was sent by God to call, heal and save all people especially those who are poor, outcasts and sinners. This is not the first time that Jesus chose to dine with tax collectors and sinners, and usually such encounters with Jesus bring about conversion in the lives many of these public sinners and tax collectors.

We see how Zacchaeus was moved when he joined the company of Jesus Christ, by giving half of all he had to the poor, more than what is required by the letter of the Law of God in the Old Testament, and what is more Zacchaeus repaid four times the amount to all whom he ever cheated, and this is double what is required by the letter of the Law of God, for Zacchaeus’ heart and mind and spirit have been moved by this encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ, and he has been  inspired by the Holy Spirit to behave according to the spirit of the Law of God.

The letter of the Law of God in the Old Testament is the minimum standard, what is required of us is to be generous and loving as God is by being like our Lord Jesus Christ. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to transform us and inspire us, as the Holy Spirit is the spirit of God and the spirit of the Law of God. The will of God the Father is the same as the will of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

1) Let us reflect on what holds us back from being faithful disciples and friends of our Lord Jesus Christ, and can we be like Zacchaeus, in being courageous to let go of all that holds us back and ignore the temptations and discouragement of the world that distract us from following the Lord wholeheartedly.

2) Let us surrender all this to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us pray:

Jesus Christ, inner light, let not our own darkness conquer us.
Jesus Christ, inner light, enable us to welcome Your love.

Jesus, Jesus, I want to adore You,
Jesus, Jesus, I bow down before You,
Jesus, O Jesus, Saints and Angels around You,
Jesus, Jesus, we worship You.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

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