Homily For 31st Sunday Of Ordinary Time, Year C

The Merciful Christ Is Passing Our Way

Readings: (1st: Wis 11, 22-12, 2; Ps: 144, 1-2. 11-14; 2nd: 2Thes 1, 11-2, 2; Gos: Lk 19, 1-10)

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico &  Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, cancilleriadfh@gmail.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

On this 31st Sunday of ordinary time, year C, the Church reminds us that though we might seem insignificant, yet it does not diminish the love, mercy, and salvation of God for us. God loves all that exist. So, in his mercy, He comes to dwell with us. All it takes is one divine encounter with Him for a transformation to take place.

In today’s first reading, the book of Wisdom reminds us of the mercy of God which extends to all his creatures irrespective of their status. Hence, in spite of the weakness of humankind, God continues to be merciful: “Yet, you are merciful to all because you can do all things and over look men’s sins so that they can repent.” In order words, our merciful God gives us the opportunity to retrace our steps.

This is the nature of God’s mercy! As a father who would not despise his own child, so God will not despise his people because He values each one of us. Even when we offend him, Wisdom says: “Little by little, therefore, you correct those who offend, and you admonish and remind them how they have sinned…”

In the second reading, Paul prays for us to persevere in good deed and faith in Christ. He equally encourages us to continue without being carried away by false rumours of the Lord’s imminent coming. In order words, in as much as the Lord will come in fulfillment of his promise to us, we must go ahead living our lives. We must not just sit down doing nothing. Rather, we have to get ourselves busy with good deeds.

Today’s gospel reminded me of the song that says: “Jesus is coming this way today.” Every day Jesus keeps coming our way full of mercy and love. He comes our way through our neighbours, through the sacraments, and through the whole of creation. Do we see or recognize Him? How much effort do we make to have a glimpse of him?

The story of Zacchaeus is a true indication that the merciful Christ comes to seek and save us. Irrespective of all human obstacles, the courage and humility of Zacchaeus attracted the attention and mercy of Christ to him. He refused to be limited by the crowd, or allow his short coming be a hindrance to his salvation. He saw mercy and salvation and took advantage of them.

In life, there are so many obstacles preventing us from seeing Christ. If we make frantic efforts as Zacchaeus did, Christ will certainly notice us and show us his loving mercy. Therefore, we must rise above all obstacles that prevents us from seeing Christ and receiving his mercy. Paul advised Timothy thus: “Do not to allow any one look down on you because you are young” (I Tim 4, 12). Likewise, we must not allow any obstacle prevent us from seeing Christ.

Finally, humility helps us to accept who we are. However, it does not prevent us from trying to overcome our shortcomings. Instead, it should spur us to search for other good paths to success in life. Zacchaeus’ humility is worth emulating.

He acknowledged the fact that he was short and could not contend with the crowd for space. He did not quarrel with anyone. Rather, he simply explored another option. My dear, there are so many other options in life better than that one that has made your life miserable.

Peace be with you all !         

Maranatha!

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