31. Sunday – Ordinary Time C- Sermon Thoughts (LK 19, 1-10)
On this Sunday we meet Jesus on his way to Jerusalem.
There were many people who met Jesus on the way. But the experience of an Chief officer in the Customs, Zacchaeus – he was not a tax collector, because many consider him so – gets a special attraction in the Gospel.
Luke says he was seeking to see Jesus who he was: He had an ardent desire to meet Jesus. Even though he was rich and had power he was reluctant to meet him direct. So he climbs on a tree. This Sycamore tree had enough leaves and branches to hide a small man like Zacchaeus.
Jesus makes a stop under the sycamore tree and looked up. This was a call for Zacchaeus.
Just like Zacchaeus we think we can hide ourselves from others with many tricks. And it may be possible for a period.
But to hide away from God is impossible.
Zacchaeus is partially in many of us:
We have the desire to know God… But many are not getting this experience in the right way. Many of us are connecting God with our rituals and external activities, which is only a partial side of God.
Zacchaeus’ success gives us some tips. This says
1. we need the desire for God. Desire is not just some emotion, but it must move us to action for the purpose.
2. we have to be on the way. Zacchaeus’ desire to know Jesus moved him to the way of Jesus. We have to recognize, the way of God in our life, society and must be there to meet him.
3. We must hear his invitation: We need a keen heart to hear God. His voice is powerful, but not forcing. So to listen to him asks from us attention. His voice is heard in the Church, in the Holy Bible, though good people etc.
4. We have to act according his will: all the above 3 steps are fruitful with the action. Zacchaeus acted according to his Conscience. Jesus never asked from him to do that. One has to act according to the conscience and rightly.
We hear in the Gospel, that the Chief Officer of the Tax collectors, is also one among the children of Abraham.
He had no more inferiority thoughts,
because he is also one in the faith and included in the salvation work.
Zacchaeus must be a motivation for our time.
We are all invited specially to be with God.
But the other desires in us have extinguished the desire to be with God.
But it means not an end.
On Each Sunday morning we are invited to meet him in a special way here in this Church. Each day is an invitation to meet Him personally, in the Word he shares, in the Bread and wine he is present before us, in the various people, who are around us, in the charity, in the talks, in the concerns, in the life he grants us each morning, in the power to do our work… Yes he is present in all, His spirit is guiding us.
Are we recognizing him?
Does he help us to overcome some of our sorrows?
Does he strengthen us to carry the burden of the surprises of the life?
Zacchaeus had a totally different life after his time with Jesus.
It purified him, filtered him. He was free from the chains of Richness and property and entered in the world of love and sharing enriched by the divine.
Each Sunday, each celebration of the Eucharist, each sacrament, each prayer are invitation to this supreme and sublime entry.
How we respond to the calls?
Are we staying in his path? Can we hear him? Can we invite him to our lives?
And finally do we have enough power to enter in to God’s freedom by breaking the chains of “modern slaveries”? May God Bless us. Amen!
Fr Thomas Kalathil