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31st Sunday of OT

 

Come Down From The Tree

 


Reading 1

Wis 11:22-12:2

Before the LORD the whole universe is as a grain from a balance
or a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth.
But you have mercy on all, because you can do all things;
and you overlook people's sins that they may repent.
For you love all things that are
and loathe nothing that you have made;
for what you hated, you would not have fashioned.
And how could a thing remain, unless you willed it;
or be preserved, had it not been called forth by you?
But you spare all things, because they are yours,
O LORD and lover of souls,
for your imperishable spirit is in all things!
Therefore you rebuke offenders little by little,
warn them and remind them of the sins they are committing,
that they may abandon their wickedness and believe in you, O LORD!

Responsorial Psalm

Ps 145:1-2, 8-9, 10-11, 13, 14

R. (cf. 1) I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
I will extol you, O my God and King,
and I will bless your name forever and ever.
Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
R. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
The LORD is faithful in all his words
and holy in all his works.
The LORD lifts up all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
R. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.



Reading 2

2 Thes 1:11-2:2

Brothers and sisters:
We always pray for you,
that our God may make you worthy of his calling
and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose
and every effort of faith,
that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you,
and you in him,
in accord with the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ.

We ask you, brothers and sisters,
with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ
and our assembling with him,
not to be shaken out of your minds suddenly, or to be alarmed
either by a "spirit," or by an oral statement,
or by a letter allegedly from us
to the effect that the day of the Lord is at hand.



Gospel

Lk 19:1-10

At that time, Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town.
Now a man there named Zacchaeus,
who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man,
was seeking to see who Jesus was;
but he could not see him because of the crowd,
for he was short in stature.
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus,
who was about to pass that way.
When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said,
"Zacchaeus, come down quickly,
for today I must stay at your house."
And he came down quickly and received him with joy.
When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying,
"He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner."
But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord,
"Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor,
and if I have extorted anything from anyone
I shall repay it four times over."
And Jesus said to him,
"Today salvation has come to this house
because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.
For the Son of Man has come to seek
and to save what was lost."

 




Homily/Sermon



When Zacchaeus heard that Jesus was going to enter town, seems likely that he closed the drawers of his desk and locked them; that he closed the door of his house and locked it; that he closed the gate in front of his house and locked it; that Zacchaeus had used almost a dozen keys before he left his house. You see, he was a money man; all he thought about was money. He dreamed about money. His money made his so security conscious.

He did go into the street. He wanted to "see" Jesus, that was all. He wanted to "observe" him. He did not want to be touched by him, he did not want to be pulled, pushed, admonished or converted by him. He wanted to "observe" only. Perhaps he did not even want to be seen. He definitely did not want to get involved. And, therefore, before the street filled up, he climbed a tree, and there he sat on a branch, waiting and thinking about his favorite subject: money!

Perhaps all of us often resemble Zacchaeus on his tree branch, only observing: The Church should have done this; the theologians should have done that; the bishops should have written a letter, or the Pastors, the Rabbi's, the Priests, the Minister's, the Preacher's, should have preached about this; the intellectuals should have started some research, our government should have done that. Others, others, others . . . We are sitting in a tree above reality, looking down on others, speaking about what those others should have done. We don't seem to really get involved ourselves, we observe coolly, like Zacchaeus wanted to do. He did not succeed folks.

Jesus entered the street. People were milling around him. He stopped under Zacchaeus' tree, and at first, Zacchaeus was happy about that. Now he would be able to see Jesus in action. Then Jesus looked up and saw Zacchaeus in the tree, Zacchaeus wished he could make himself invisible. Jesus called him down: "Come down, and hurry!" Zacchaeus almost fell out of the tree, and he joyfully received Jesus. He became so enthusiastic that even before Jesus had said anything, he started to respond to him, spontaneously, but, of course, only in terms he knew, in terms of money. He said, "I will give half my capital to the poor, I will restore everything I stole fourfold." Money. He spoke only in terms of money.

Then Jesus took over, and Jesus acted as if he had not even heard the word money mentioned. He spoke about the person, that human being, his own creation, Zacchaeus. He gave him a name. He called him: son of Abraham. That name opened up inside of Zacchaeus that short, one-dimensional, money-making, money-lending, money-loving, money-smelling, money-man; quite another dimension. That name "son of Abraham" spoke of him in terms of eternity, infinity, and an eternal promise of divine life, of heaven and other realities.

That same invitation is addressed to us today: Come down, join me, open yourself up to your real dimensions and possibilities. Let us not restrict ourselves to being observers my friends. Let us not restrict ourselves only to money and our biological needs. Everything around us, the papers and the advertisements, the radio and television, the conversations at the bar, and most especially the Internet, try to convince us that we can be reduced to food and drink, to gold and silver, to pizza and hamburger consumers, to clothing and sex, to a car and a house, to beer and Coke, to soaps, to grants, to loans.

We are larger than that, we are bigger. We are absolute, we are divine, we are sons and daughters of God. Even heaven is not our limit, God himself is our destiny. If that is true, let us come down and show respect, in ourselves and in each other, that heavenly country, that divine echo. In this time of great distress, fear, uncertainty, and apprehension concerning this country of ours, and the injustices that have recently lingered over us, let us remember that we are even larger and bigger than all of that.

I share the same concerns that all of you do in regards to our country; in regards to the messed up government that seems to have very little concern for us citizens; continuing to have to fight to keep our religious rights, our right to free speech, to bear arms, not to have our own privacy invaded upon.  Let us all come down out of that tree, for God is far greater, larger, and bigger than anything, and only God, through His Son Jesus Christ, and in unity with the Holy Spirit is our Victor over all the ills of this nation, and the world, as we continue to champion the cause of defending our right to exist as American citizens, free from oppression by our government, and free to worship God in a way the mirrors those morals and values given to us by His Son Jesus Christ, our Savior!

 

 


 


 

 

 

 

 

 

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