30th October 2022
Wisdom 11:22-12:2/ 2Thessanians 1:11-2:2/ Luke 19:1-10
ENCOUNTER WITH JESUS
All that God has created is very good; and this is confirmed in the 1st reading which says God loves all creatures, otherwise he would not have created them. God created every living being for a purpose and we, as creatures, sometimes go astray, leaving God and being all by ourselves.
It is a fact that we go astray and want to be by ourselves alone, but in the 2nd reading St. Paul encourages us to stick to our calling and the Caller. In other, for us to fulfill our calling, we have to support each other in prayer. Some of the people we constantly have to pray for are our Religious Sisters and Brothers, our deacons, priests, bishops, and the Pope. Pray for the spiritual leaders of the church. It is rather unfortunate that many Catholics are the first to rejoice over the fall of a priest. When a priest falls, kindly let us remember him in our prayers. Continue to pray for one another. Especially for those of you who are in the marriage vocation, the marriage life is not so easy and many marriages are breaking, and this why we must always make it a point to pray for married people.
When you encounter Jesus in your life, your life must not be the same, there will be a negative change or outcome. In the Gospel passage, Jesus teaches us three outcomes of his encounter with Zacchaeus.
Primarily, Jesus shows that God loves every sinner but not the sin. Zacchaeus was a rich man, he made his wealth out of corrupt means, cheating, and robbing. He was a tax collector. When Jesus met him, he did not judge him, he did not treat him like an outcast. And this made him love Jesus as he showed Zacchaeus love. He did not only smile at him but rather told him today I will stay at your house. By showing kindness, being genuine, and empathizing with him, Zacchaeus had no other option than to feel special. Today salvation has come to your home.
Secondly, Zacchaeus’ life changed completely after encountering Jesus. He decided to do away with sin completely. So he made a promise to Jesus that he will pay back fourfold all he has cheated. When the Lord touches you, you become a new person; you throw away all the old order and embrace the newness of life, just like Zacchaeus.
Thirdly, Zacchaeus was a short person. His shortness symbolizes how much he has been pressed down by sin. But he did not want to stay in that state, so he went forward to climb a tree to see the Lord properly. He made the effort first and the Lord embraced him. We have to move forward and say “I am a sinner” and the Lord will say “I want to be in your house.”
Sincerely speaking, is there a more memorable scene in the whole Gospel than that of the little man Zacchaeus climbing a tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus? Despite Zacchaeus being the outcast in the community, Jesus chose to have supper with him. The Lord chooses whoever He wants and all He will expect of us is our sincere repentance and acceptance of the call.
The Lord has come among us today, coming to seek and save us and calling us to share his supper now in this sacred banquet. Zacchaeus accepting to invite Jesus and dining with him was a bold step, the way Jesus treated him, not with a judgmental approach but as a member loved by God, opened him up to give himself generously and to publicly confess his guilt.
Let us focus our minds on our need to be forgiven, our need to begin afresh, and that we are gathered around the Lord’s table. Everything God has created is good even the sinners like Zacchaeus are still loved by God. All God wants from us is to make the move for repentance and He will welcome us. Let us support each other with prayers.