Sunday readings in brief 31 C
Wis 11:22-12:2; Ps 144(145); 2 Thes 1:11-2:2; Lk 19:1-10
God is not Man
Dear friends, today is the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time of the Church’s liturgical calendar. We have three more Sundays to go to close this year and begin Year A with the first Sunday of Advent. Today the readings are talking to us about how God works versus how human beings think he should work.
There is a movie that was released in 2003 called Bruce Almighty, Starring Bruce Carrey, and Morgan Freeman. Bruce lost his job at a broadcasting company and being so hungry with the directors of the company he thought to himself that God was not acting fairly and wished to be God himself so that he could do things better. One day, God appeared to him and offered to give him all his powers. When Bruce realized that he had got the powers of God, first he started by jeopardizing the media company that dismissed him and created his own that could tell stories as they happened or even before.
Bruce seemed to enjoy being God until the aspect of answering people’s prayers became unbearable. Since he was God, he could hear the prayers of all the people and read their minds. This became very disturbing especially when he wanted to enjoy himself with friends. Being God, Bruce diverted all the prayers to his computer at home so that he could be free. When he went back home after a long day enjoying being God, he found his computer almost bursting with so many prayer requests. Bruce started reading and answering one after another but they were too many for him. So he decided to click the ‘OK’ button on all. What followed was chaos in the entire city. When he looked through the window, he could not believe what was going on. There were some children flying like birds, people eating grass like animals, others dropping dead on the streets, fires everywhere, and many other things. Bruce had granted everyone their desires.
In the first reading from the book of Wisdom, we read that God is loving, merciful, and patient with all his creation. Sometimes he overlooks our sins to give us time to repent. Many people would want God to act the way they think. Our thinking as human beings is so limited and self-centered. God thinks of all his creation and is able to sustain the world in his wisdom. The author says, if God had hated anything, he would not have created it. It is God’s will that things are what they are and he conserves all in existence. Therefore, all judgment belongs to him. Our self-righteousness makes us think that we could do better if we were God like Bruce Carrey in the Movie.
Paul urges the community of Thessalonians not to be excited or alarmed by those who predict the last day because no one knows but God. Today, we have many prophets whose core message is the end of the world. These have managed to confuse many people and made a profit out of it. Let us not fall into their trap to give them our hard-won money, because they cannot even predict their own tomorrow.
In the Gospel reading, the people who were following Jesus got astonished and complained that Jesus had gone to eat in the house of Zacchaeus a ‘public sinner’. In their own understanding of a Prophet as they thought Jesus was, they did not expect him to mix with people they had already labeled sinners. Jesus reminds them that Zacchaeus, like them, was a son of Abraham and deserved a chance to repent of his sins.
Dear friends, when things do not go our way, we may feel that God is not acting fairly with us. We may even want to be God so that we may do things better than him. I would like to remind us that we are only human beings and if we exist today it is because God is sustaining us. Let us not be judgmental towards others or wish them evil because we think they should do things the way we want.
Have a blessed Sunday
Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD
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