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.