31st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C, 03/11/2019

Today the readings have a theme of salvation by God’s love and mercy. The first reading is from the book of Wisdom. Like Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) this book is another deuterocanonical book. Sometimes is also called “Wisdom of Solomon”. It describes Wisdom in ways that associate it with Creation and Salvation.

In today’s familiar Gospel, Luke has been presenting Jesus who is on a journey with his disciples and now he is at Jericho; the doorstep to Jerusalem. And he finds a man on a tree whose name is Zacchaeus which means “God remembers.”  Zacchaeus was the chief tax collector, a man who did a ridiculous action and had a hidden desire. He was lost in anonymity, but God has remembered him.

Subsequently, salvation has come to his house with his encounter with the person of Jesus. By way of contrast, St. Augustine encountered the truth and he never remained the same again. After reading St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, he made a radical change and was no longer the same person but set on a journey to search for the Truth itself.

The whole of Jesus’ ministry involved searching and saving the lost. His saving presence transforms the hidden desire. Accordingly, Zacchaeus needs to be saved and with the saving presence of Jesus, his desire for conversion meets the love born of God’s heart and that love works through his heart to renew him. He is set free; his earthly existence is transformed into the desire for eternal horizons.

 From here on, we may ask ourselves: Do men and women today still need eternal life? Has the earthly existence become our only horizon? In as much as we fall into misdeeds, our encounter with Jesus in the sacraments declares our desire for eternal life. Like the Psalmist we can always praise God for his gift of salvation; he is slow to anger, lifting us up when we fall, and his name is glorified in us as Paul tells the Thessalonians in the second reading. Therefore, let us focus on our call here and now.

Christian Action This Week: Pray to become ever more aware of God’s compassionate gaze, respond to it with joyous heart.

Joy and Peace