31st Sunday in ordinary time year C
First reading Wisdom 11:22-12:2
Second reading 2 Thessalonians 1:11-2:2
Gospel Luke 19:1-10
Brethren, today is the 31st Sunday in ordinary time year C. The readings on which we are reflecting today are inviting us to meditate upon the theme: “God bestows mercy and compassion upon sinners”.
Thus in the first reading of today taking from the book of Wisdom, the author is talking about how the mercy of God is extended to all his creatures. In the Old Testament, there are two categories of nations: the people of God (Deuteronomy 7:6) and the surrounding nations like the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Assyrians and etc. However, God loves all the nations even those nations that were great enemies of Israel. He manifests his love through the act of mercy and compassion to all. In this sense, the God of Israel was different from other gods, he overlooks the sins of people with the hope that they will repent.
In the Gospel reading, Saint Luke narrates to us how Zacchaeus encountered Jesus. Jesus was on his way going Jerusalem but when he reached Jericho a man called Zacchaeus a chief tax collector wanted to see him. But due to the large crowd and his small stature, he climbed a tree. Dear friends, Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus because he has heard about him but on the other hand, Jesus also was looking for him in other to bring him salvation; Jesus said “Today salvation has come to this house since he also is a son of Abraham”. Salvation is destined for all sinners and righteous ones.
In the second reading of today, Saint Paul and his coworkers kept praying for the Thessalonians. They were asking God to enable the Thessalonians to live up to their calling; a call of holiness in all aspects of life. By living a life of holiness, the Thessalonians will reveal Christ to others.
Reflecting on the readings of today, I would like to share three insights with you: (1) God overlooks our sins, (2) salvation of God is extended to all, and (3) be faithful to your call.
- God overlooks our sins: In the first reading, we hear the author say that “But you are merciful to all, for you can do all things, and you overlook men’s that they may repent”. Brethren, God is not happy that we have involved ourselves in sins however, he always wishes that we should repent. That is the greatest desire of God; the reason why once we turn back to him with sincere hearts, he shows us mercy and compassion. Today, we are invited to back come to him in order to experience his mercy and compassion.
- The salvation of God extended to all: When people saw that Jesus entered into the house of Zacchaeus, they murmured and said “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner”. Dear friends, the salvation of God is extended to all whether sinners or righteous ones. In fact, there is no righteous person on this earth. We are all sinners who are striving toward perfection. Though Zacchaeus was a sinner according to people, he desired to see Jesus, and his desire was fulfilled. Today, we are called upon to recognize the salvation of God in our lives. God has various ways to save us, all that we need to do is to collaborate.
- Be faithful to your call: Dear friends, through baptism, we all receive a call to holiness; and we try to attain our goal in various ways (in marital life or in the consecrated life). It’s in this sense that in today’s second reading, Saint Paul advised the Thessalonians to be faithful to their call. This advice is also applied to us today. We have engaged ourselves in the journey of holiness, we must therefore persevere and be faithful to this call no matter how will be the situation.
God bestows his mercy and compassion only on sinners. In order to receive these gifts, we need to acknowledge that we are sinners. This was the case of Zacchaeus in the Gospel “Behold, Lord the half of my goods I give to the poor and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourth fold”. Brethren, this is an act of humility recognizing that we have done wrong and that we need God’s intervention in our lives.
May God help us to recognize our sinners and take a step toward repentance, amen
Agre Roger, Svd
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