XXXI SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME - CYCLE C – OCTOBER 30, 2016
- Today's Gospel reading is again about a tax collector.
- Last week's parable was about a tax collector who acknowledged his sinfulness and asked God for forgiveness, and he returned home justified.
- Today it is about a real character, not a parable, but a real man called Zacchaeus, the tax collector from Jericho. He wanted to see Jesus, and Jesus surprised him because he also wanted to see him.
THE BOOK OF WISDOM
v Again the liturgy takes the first reading from the wisdom literature, the Book of Wisdom
v This book is known as a "deuterocanonical book". In the Catholic tradition the deuterocanonical books are considered revealed by God , but this is not so among the Jewish community of faith and the other Christian traditions.
v Chapters 11 to 19 are a meditation on the exodus.
v Gianfranco Ravassi in his commentary says that chapters 11 to 19 of this jewel of the Jewish Greek literature of Alexandria in Egypt has a chapter on the invincible love of God toward his creatures, even being sinful.
v FIRST READING: Wis11:22-12,2
ü Everything that has been created is small before God, but God takes care of all.
ü God takes care especially of the human being, and the book of Wisdom tells us that this is so because God can do all things.
ü and it continues saying something surprising, God overlooks people's sins, he does not want to see our sins, to offer to us the opportunity to repent.
ü What a different image of God from the one we project some times with our words and our attitudes!
ü Another beautiful expression is found on verse 26 "but you forgive all because they are yours, O Lord the friend of life.
ü God is the friend of life, and sometimes it seems that we are the friends of death, because the society we have built and continue to built is full of the violence of death.
ü We have allowed ourselves to be deceived by the evil spirit who has convinced us that what is good is bad, and what is bad is good!
ü God does much more, he reprimands us little by little, in the way only him knows and thus little by little he molds our being, and offers us the opportunity to discover his presence in our life, and when this happens we cannot reject his love any longer, and thus we surrender ourselves to him.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM 145:1-2. 8-9. 10-11. 13,14
I WILL PRAISE YOUR NAME FOR EVER, MY KING AND MY GOD
I will extol you, O my God and King
and I will bless your name forever and ever
Everyday will I bless you
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
The Lord is gracious and merciful
slow to anger and of great kindness
The Lord is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
Let all your works give you thanks, O Lord
and let your faithful ones bless you
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.
The Lord is faithful in all his words
and holy in all his works
The Lord lift up all who are falling
and raises up all who are bow down.
Ø The praises to God for his works has been sung from generation to generation, up to the psalmist time
Ø He has to continue this long chain of praises and he does it with his psalm.
Ø This praise is the poet's, but also ours.
Ø Let us join our voices to this praise, let us sing, dance, joyfully dance because our God loves us and he is great and powerful.
GOSPEL Lk 19:1-10
The Gospel tells the encounter of Jesus with the tax collector, an encounter that brings salvation to that man and his entire household.
Zacchaeus, is his name, it is the Greek version of his Jewish name Zakkai.
He is short in stature, but he looks for the way to see Jesus.
He had probably heard about this young itinerant prophet who speaks in such a different way than the teachers of the law, a man who shows so much love that it is impossible not to be attracted to him and to follow him.
Zacchaeus climbs a sycamore, maybe he thinks that nobody sees him, because for a prominent man as he is, this action would be very humiliating.
But somebody has seen him, and when he walks under the tree, he lifts up his eyes and calls him "today I want to have dinner with you."
To have dinner is an expression of intimacy, of friendship. Jesus wants to be friend of Zacchaeus, trully he is already friend of Zacchaeus. Up to now Zacchaeus does not know it, but today he will discover it and will be happy.
He will be happy to feel himself loved by Jesus, who is the image of the invisible God, his son. After this experience Zacchaeus will love his fellow men and he will realize the wrong he has done, and he will have the determination to amend the evil he has done.
Only the unconditional love of Jesus, manifested in his going to the house of Zacchaeus, will give to this man the willingness to give away the fortune he has made stealing from others.
As it is customary the Gospel shows us the two tendencies that are always found among the human beings:
v he has entered the house of a sinner, it seems that we forget that we all are sinners.
v salvation has come to this house, yes with Jesus salvation comes to us and renews all the different aspects of our being.
v Everything is restored, made a new creation.
This fragment of Luke's Gospels reveals to us the joy of salvation, of the coming back home, of the paternal embrace.
This is also our experience of forgiveness and conversion. Is it not?
THANK YOU LORD BECAUSE THIS CAN ONLY BE YOUR WORK, AND ALSO OUR COOPERATION, BUT AS ALWAYS YOU HAVE THE INITIATIVE. THANK YOU!
SECOND READING 2 Tes 1:11-22
v We are not one hundred percent sure that this letter has been written by Paul, the scholars keep looking for answers. It seems that it was written by one of his disciples.
v The author prays to God for the community of Thessalonica, that it may be worthy of the call it has received, and thus live its faith responsibly.
v All of this for the glory and honor of our Lord Jesus Christ's name.
v It seems that the community was upset by things that had been told to them, as if Paul had written them.
v The author says to them that he has not written anything of what upsets them.
v Afterwards he calms them explaining that the second coming of the Lord is not so imminent as some think.
v On this theme of the second coming there is a great difference between the first letter and the second to the Thessalonians. In the first Paul himself was speaking as if it was imminent.
Since during this week we have celebrated the Feast of St. Anthony Mary Claret, I will interrupt today the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis and copy a description of a missionary made by St. Anthony Mary Claret in his Autobiography. This description fits very well who he was.
I tell myself: A Son of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a man on fire with love, who spreads its flames wherever he goes. He desires mightily and strives by all means possible to set the whole world on fire with God's love. Nothing daunts him; he delights in privations, welcomes work, embraces sacrifices, smiles at slander, and rejoices in suffering. His only concern is how he can best follow Jesus Christ and imitate Him in working, suffering, and striving constantly and single-mindedly for the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls. Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 494.
CLARET, Antonio María Claret, Autobiografía.
PAGOLA, José A. Following in the Footsteps of Jesus. Meditations on the Gospels for Year C.
PARIS, María Antonia, Autobiografía
RAVASI, Gianfranco, Según las Escrituras, Año C.
The Catholic Study Bible -New American Bible.