CACINA

Homily November 3, 2013 31st Sunday of Ordinary Time

Posted in christian, Christianity, church events, ecclesiology, ethics, inspirational, religion, scripture by Fr Joe R on October 30, 2013

ZacchaeusToday’s gospel is different from the past few weeks as it recalls an encounter rather than a parable of Jesus. The encounter involves many elements that have come up in Jesus’ ministry, a rich man, a tax collector, the Romans, the poor and people’s perception of sin and sinners. Zacchaeus was a wealthy man who made his living by collecting taxes. He was short so to get higher for a better view so he climbed a tree. Jesus, seeing him called him down and invited himself for dinner. At this point, the translators have some disagreement as to whether Zacchaeus promises to give half his wealth to the poor and make restitution for any errors or that he is all ready doing that. I suppose they will argue forever over the nuances of translating, but either way, taxJesus has placed himself in the house of a rich man and in the company of a man who was perceived to be a sinner and collaborator, a person making money collecting taxes for the Romans. This is the same Jesus who has so often talked about the difficulties for the rich to gain eternal life.

But think, Jesus came for all. Sure he sought out the poor and outcasts, but he was there for all who sought him out and believed. Wealth might be a hindrance in one way or another, but it was not a reason to be turned away. Jesus met each person he encountered as a new relationship. His message was for all and he would meet and give it to anybody, even the rich, even perceived sinners. The life of faith, the call to morality or a good life is an invitation by God. It is not a threat, but a result of the gift of life, the gift to choose or free will as it is traditionally called. Each of us can make our own choices, but Jesus shows us a special way, a way to life. His choices were always the way to his father. Eating, sharing with Zacchaeus and his friends was a new friend and more followers for Jesus. His concern was not what people thought, but rather what was his mission. He was sent to bring all to his Father. Each person is unique and each is in one way or another lost and needs to be found or touched by the spirit of God. His invitation is just that so we can remember who we are meant to be. Once we receive his invitation, it is up to us to follow-up and answer its call.

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