for Sunday, October 30, 2016
The Book of Wisdom, from which comes our first reading today, tells us "you overlook people's sins that they may repent." We hear this statement more frequently during the time of Lent, but it is important that we recognize its truth always. This first reading points us clearly to the Gospel from Saint Luke today, where we meet the tax collector, Zacchaeus. Jesus asks this tax collector to come and eat at his house, and Zacchaeus promises that he will repay anything that he has taken unjustly and also give half of his belongings to the poor. That is real repentance!
The Book of Wisdom gives us the insight and understanding from an earlier period of Jewish history. All of us must seek to live wisely in our lives, because wisdom is the ability to discern and judge which aspects of knowledge are true, right, lasting, and applicable to our lives. Wisdom is a way to understand what really will give us the best life - particularly with relationship to God. Not all of us live wisely, but if we seek to follow Jesus Christ and set out on His path, then in time, we learn wisdom because Jesus shows us the way.
The second reading today is from the Second Letter to the Thessalonians. The passage given us today is a piece of wisdom, telling us to be very cautious when speaking about the end of time. This piece of advice needs to be repeated in every age because there are always people telling us that the end is coming. This is always true, for sure, but we need not be alarmed about it. What we need is daily conversion of our own lives. If we are living in Jesus Christ, then it matters not when the end comes.
We return to the Gospel from Luke today and meet Zacchaeus, a short man who is the chief tax collector and a wealthy man. We can note immediately that Zacchaeus is not a proud man. Think of this short man running ahead of Jesus and climbing a tree to see him. How undignified and comic! We can hope that we might have this enthusiasm to know the Lord, to see Jesus. Jesus never turns people away. There are times when Jesus tests those who come to see him, such as the foreign woman in the Gospel of Matthew to whom he replies that he cannot give to the dogs food for those at table. But Jesus knows the people and knows how far He can test them.
We need to have this enthusiasm of Zacchaeus and the strength of character of the foreign woman when we come seeking Jesus. Zacchaeus is ready to give a lot (we can note that he does not offer to give up everything!) in order to follow Jesus. How much are we willing to give to the Lord? Are we willing to make fools of ourselves so that we can see Jesus? Are we willing to seek wisdom?
Let us give whatever we can give at this moment, even if it is not yet all! Let us walk with the Lord and ask Him to help us.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Wisdom 11.22 – 12.2
Second Reading: 2 Thessalonians 1.11 – 2.2
Gospel: Luke 19.1-10
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: