October 30, 2016
Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Gospel Today
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. Jesus S. Salamanca, Jr.)
“Come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” This is the invitation of our Lord Jesus Christ to Zacchaeus in our Reading for today. As we approach the closing of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, let us reflect on this Gospel account of the bountiful mercy of God
“Come down.” As a late-vocation seminarian, I gave up the kind of life that I used to live before. It was not easy to do but it was a necessary decision to make. Without that brave decision, the call will remain a call that can never be attended or responded. Come down. But the invitation of coming down is not only about giving up what I have but even denying my own self. In discernment, they call it holy indifference. That in order to fully respond to the Will of God, one should remove all his biases and his own appetite towards different things of his preference.
The Lord must stay in your house. Christ must stay in our house. Reflecting on these words, it is an invitation or command that one should follow. Relating it to daily life, to me, as a Christian and follower of Christ, I must resolve, that other than Christ, there should be no other things that dwell in my heart. It is a decision to receive Jesus in my life and denounce all the works of the evil one. When Zacchaeus came down upon hearing the Word of Christ, he responded with faith and by responding to it, he denounced all his evil past and even his stature. Jesus uplifts Zacchaeus because he freely believed and accepted Christ in his life. Coming down is a brave decision for Zacchaeus because, for people like him, it is not easy to be humbled and accept their limitations. But that is a great lesson one can learn from what Zacchaeus. Humility of the heart is the only response that we can give to the immensity of God’s love.
Often times, our guilt hinders us to respond to God’s call because we feel the unworthiness in front of the Lord. The mercy of God is more abundant that all the sins that man could commit. Like the father in the story of “The Prodigal Son”, God is waiting daily and inviting us to come down and come to Him. Like the Lord Jesus to Zacchaeus, when God calls us, He does not counts our past but just invites us to start things over and live with Him.