The Gospel Today
Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
At that time, Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town.
Now a man there named Zacchaeus,
who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man,
was seeking to see who Jesus was;
but he could not see him because of the crowd,
for he was short in stature.
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus,
who was about to pass that way.
When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said,
“Zacchaeus, come down quickly,
for today I must stay at your house.”
And he came down quickly and received him with joy.
When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying,
“He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.”
But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord,
“Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor,
and if I have extorted anything from anyone
I shall repay it four times over.”
And Jesus said to him,
“Today salvation has come to this house
because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.
For the Son of Man has come to seek
and to save what was lost.”
Reflection (Sem. Herwyn Bulaun):
The first reading expresses how merciful God is. He always forgives a person who wholeheartedly repents from his sin. He would always send someone to remind man of his sinfulness so that he could turn away from this wickedness.
In the Gospel, the words of the first reading were fulfilled. Jesus proclaimed the kingdom of God not only to the righteous but moreso even to the sinners, poor and outcast of the society. Zacchaeus, a tax collector is considered as a public sinner and impure by the Jews because of the nature of his work. Jesus did not hesitate to pay attention to this person and even dined with him in his house. In response, Zacchaeus, knowing his sinfulness, voluntarily repented and accepted the kingdom of God. He promised that he will make reparation for every person from whom he extorted and will give half of his possession to the poor. I cannot imagine how joyful Jesus was while hearing Zacchaeus promising to turn away from his sinfulness.
Similar experience of forgiveness happened to me during the last month of last semester. I overlook vital information which affects other people. At first I didn’t know what to do. I know it corresponds to a grave sanction. I needed to really pray over it. The challenge to me was to admit my fault regardless of the consequences. I approached our good Rector and tell all what happened. I could not explain the joy after he forgave me after advising me what and how to the next time.
The challenge for us by the Gospel is truly admit our faults before God through prayer and through the help of the Holy Spirit we resolve that we will try to avoid occasions of sin and to amend our life.