Tag Archives: Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

To watch Fr. Joe’s homily for the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!

Years ago, there was a communion song we sung in church entitled, “Look Beyond” with the refrain: “Look beyond the bread you eat see your Savior and your Lord; look beyond the cup you drink see His love poured out as blood.”

“Look Beyond” just might be the title for today’s homily.

And “Look Beyond” is exactly what Jesus does in today’s Gospel when He looks up and there in the tree is that short guy, that tax collector that nobody liked, that guy named Zacchaeus.

And of all the people along the road that Jesus could have chosen to call out by name and then have dinner at his home, of all the people… really, Zacchaeus.  That’s what many people were thinking!  Because they knew the man, at least so they thought they did, they did not like the man, and besides he was a tax collector.

But Jesus look’s beyond all this and why we might ask???

Maybe part of the answer is in our first reading today from The Book of Wisdom:

  • The Lord… has mercy on ALL.
  • The Lord… loathes nothing he has created.
  • The Lord… loves us ALL.

Jesus knew the past of Zacchaeus, just as he knows our past.  What Jesus saw in Zacchaeus, was more than what people said about him; Jesus saw his willingness to change his life for the better, to be fair and honest, today and tomorrow.

Zacchaeus says, “I shall give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have extorted anyone I shall repay them 4 times over.”

And today, some 2000 years later, what is it that Jesus asks of us, as people of Faith? What is it that Jesus “Looks Beyond” in each of our lives and in doing so encourages us to be willing to make the effort to be and become better a person of faith, that person of integrity, of caring, of sharing, of life and love and so much more.

Oh, and maybe in the Spirit of Jesus we too might “Look Beyond” what we think we know about another or others, just like Jesus does.  Jesus who has mercy toward ALL and Jesus who loves ALL.

Most certainly something that all people of our world need to know and experience every day: unconditional mercy and love!

Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today’s Scriptures are a reminder that we are called to speak with integrity.  Or put another way, we are called to practice what we talk about.  It is easy for all of us to look at another and pinpoint the area or areas where they are not living what they talk about (or at least so it seems).

But maybe today is, first of all, not about them, but us…  About our call to continue to work at being who we say we are.  Making our behavior an expression of what we believe.

Maybe today is about making the efforts to assist others in living the faith they and we profess.

Maybe today is about listening to others about their journey of life and faith, as a first step…

Maybe today is about talking about our faith.  We talk about so many things each day: the weather, the Priest, the game… What about our faith?

The Parish has heard me time and time again ask that we share a bulletin, invite others to Parish offerings, share about something that is happening in the Parish (Faith Formation, free books, our Parish App, live streaming, our music ministry)

Maybe today is about taking the next step in living our Faith just a tad more than yesterday and with just a bit more thought or effort.

We gather for an hour each week to hear the Word of God, to be nourished to share the Word of God with those we meet in the coming days through our words and deeds.

It’s been said that our society is becoming less and less religious.  But just because it is said does not mean it needs to continue.  I would suggest that today’s Scriptures are a reminder, I might say a strong reminder that calls you and I to talk about the important things of life, including our Faith…

By our Baptism all of us are called to share God’s word – Good News – with everyone we meet.  Today, tomorrow and hopefully everyday, we will continue to share God’s word of life and love, forgiveness and acceptance, mercy and understanding, with those we interact with through our life of words and actions.

Our God, through his Son, Jesus, came to our world some 2000 years ago and now gives us the Mission to make that obvious in and through our everyday lives in both word and deed.

Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Scripture Readings can speak to us in many ways.  They may be a reminder of God’s love for us.  They may be a source of encouragement to us.  They may even challenge us, or at least get us thinking!

The Scripture Readings may be affirming our journey of life and faith or pointing us in another and better and “God-like” direction.

Even in today readings, we are reminded of the disconnect between God and the ways of God versus how people created in the image and likeness of God may have some room for growth as disciples of Christ, as Christians.

In the Book of Wisdom, the author reminds us of God ‘s mercy toward all… God is the lover of souls.  And this includes each of us and all of us!

And then in the Gospel, we see Jesus in action.  Jesus sees Zacchaeus, who came to see him.  And as Jesus looks up at Danny Devito, I mean Zacchaeus, He says “today I must stay at your house.”  And Danny, I mean Zacchaeus, jumps down from the tree to receive Jesus with joy.

But note the reaction of the people!  They grumble, because they deem Zacchaeus unworthy of such an honor.  You can hear the people say, “Who does Zacchaeus think he is?  We know who he is, a sinner.”

The fact that Zacchaeus is a sinner seems not to affect Jesus.  Rather, he sees the good, the image of God in Zacchaeus.

And in the end, the time that Zacchaeus and Jesus spent together getting to know each other, breaking bread, became a time of mercy, acceptance, love, forgiveness.  A time of repentance and change and salvation.

God became man in Jesus Christ to remind us, to show us how we can experience the Kingdom of God here on earth as it is in Heaven

Jesus today reminds us through his actions that the our God welcomes everyone.  Yes they may or may not jump at Jesus’ invitation, but Jesus invites all to the Kingdom, to the Church.

And today and tomorrow you and I are being called to invite and welcome…  Those we know and those we do not know, to know the welcome of God… to know the understanding of God…  to know the mercy and forgiveness of God and so much more.

A God who sees us, whether we are looking for him or not.  A God who wants to get to know us so we can get to know him and his Father and Our Father:  God our Father.

Zacchaeus was changed for the better by his time with Jesus.  May we too be changed for the better by our time with Jesus today and everyday.

You know there is a TV show called, “The Good Place.”  Where the woman realizes she is not as good as the other people and here she is in a good place (heaven).  But each day she
seems to be changing for the better, and maybe the other people, too.  If I may say so, maybe that IS us, and others… not perfect, but sinners.

Yet God continues to invite us to the Kingdom, to “The Good Place.”

Like our God, may we also continue to see the good in others and invite others to know the God who is the lover of all souls.