我存证道》31th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

					
 For I must stay at your house today.
Wis. 11:22-12:2; 2 Thess. 1:11-2:2; Lk. 19:1-10

Jesus said to Zacchaeus, "Hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today." [Lk. 19:5] Imagine Jesus saying to you, "I must stay at your house today." How would you react to such an invitation? Would your home be ready? Would you be personally ready to welcome Jesus in your home? Today, we will review these questions.

Today's First Reading from the Book of Wisdom [Wis. 11:22-12:2] spoke of the mercy of God for all the things that He has created. Keeping in mind the size of the universe, the endless space that stretches out beyond our imagination, what is the earth? To the Lord God, the earth is like a speck that tips the scale or like a morning dew that falls on the ground. [Wis. 11:22] And if the earth is like a speck or a morning dew, how would we measure the size of a human being?

When considering the differences in sizes, does it mean that God loves more what is bigger? Does God love more the universe or the earth than He loves the people? In truth, the Lord God loves all things that exists. He detests none of the things that He has made. For He would not have made anything if He had hated it. [Wis. 11:24]

"God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life." [Jn. 3:16] In His infinite mercy towards all, the Lord God overlooks the sins of the people so that all may repent. [Wis. 11:23] Through the Divine mercy of God, we see the fulfillment of the merciful promise, "For I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more." [Jer. 31:34; Heb. 8:12]

How would anything have endured if God had not willed it? [Wis. 11:25] How would the universe, the earth, or each living creation have persisted the length of its time if God had not willed it? Without the Divine Will of God at work, nothing could have persisted.

How manifold are the works of God. In wisdom, He has made them all. The earth is full of His creatures. Yonder is the sea, great and wide, creeping things innumerable are there, living things both small and great. These all look to God to give them their food in due season; when He gives to them, they gather it up. When He opens His hand, they are filled with good things. When He hides His face, they are dismayed; when He takes away their breath, they die and return to their dust. When He sends forth His Spirit, they are created, and He renews the face of the ground. [Ps. 104:24-6, 28-30]

As the Holy Bible teaches us over and over, God put the breath of life in His creations. "He formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being." [Gen. 2:7; Job. 27:3, 33:4, 34:14; Ps. 104:30]

Not only does God sustain life for the sake of sustaining life. As a caring Father who disciplines those He loves, He corrects little by little those who trespass, reminding and warning them of the things through which they sin, so that they may be freed from wickedness and put their trust in the Lord. [Wis. 12:2]

On this subject, the Letter to the Hebrews states, "Endure trials for the sake of discipline. God is treating you as children; for what child is there whom a parent does not discipline? If you do not have that discipline in which all children share, then you are illegitimate and not his children. Moreover, we had human parents to discipline us, and we respected them. Should we not be even more willing to be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share his holiness. Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." [Heb. 12:7-11] 

Today's Second Reading from the Second Letter of Paul to the Thessalonians echoes that the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ should be glorified in us and we in Him.

United in prayer, the Christian community prays for us, asking God to make us worthy of His call so that we may fulfill by His power every intention to perform goodness and work of faith [2 Thess. 1:11] The Christian community is united in prayer "so that the Name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in (us), and (we) in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ." [2 Thess. 1:12] "May the glory of the Lord endure forever." [Ps. 104:31]

In this particular reading, St. Paul was pointing out that the call from paganism to Christianity was also a call to glory. The growth of the Body of Christ magnified the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. With the eyes of our hearts enlightened, we come to know what is the hope to which Jesus has called us, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance among the saints. [Eph. 1:18] And so we must press on toward the goal for the prize on the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. [Phil. 3:14]

While pressing on, we must "rely on the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to His own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began." [2 Tim. 1:8b-9]

Why was Saint Paul emphasizing the glory of Christ, our Lord Jesus? It is because the peace of mind of the Thessalonians had been disturbed, leaving many in a perturbed state. Many had come to believe that the day of the Lord had arrived. [2 Thess. 2:2] Associating with believers who were living in idleness and not according to the tradition that they had received from the disciples of Jesus, they too had become idle. [2 Thess. 3:6] Deceived by false teachers, they had become disturbed in spirit.

As some of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being deceived today, two thousand years ago, some of the Thessalonians believers were also deceived into believing that the day of the Lord had arrived. The advise that was given then is still valid today, "Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction." [2 Thess. 2:3]

It is by walking in sound doctrines, by permitting the Spirit of Christ to guide and teach us in all truth, that the Name of the Lord Jesus is glorified in us and we in Him. For there is no glory when one walks in darkness.

Today's reading from the Gospel of Luke [Lk. 19:1-10] tells us that the Son of Man came to seek out and save the lost. "There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents" [Lk. 15:10] because such a conversion can only result from the love and grace of a merciful Lord. Through Jesus' ongoing noble act of saving sinners, the Heavenly Father is continuously glorified.

In the same reading, we heard that when Jesus entered Jericho, He came upon Zacchaeus who was a rich and a chief tax collector. Most likely, Zacchaeus, like other tax collectors, was a dishonest man. Over and above collecting his quota that had to be remitted to the state, he surcharged the poor and pocketed the extra money that he collected.

Jesus' encounter with Zacchaeus was not by chance. The Lord God had called Zacchaeus in a unique way. Zacchaeus had heard that Jesus was coming and out of curiosity, he wanted to see Him. But, with the large crowd that was present and Zacchaeus being a short man, it was rather difficult for him to get a glimpse of Jesus. So what did he do? In his determination to see what Jesus looked like, he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree. Zacchaeus had no trouble climbing because the sycamore tree has a short trunk and wide sideways branches that made it easy to climb.

When Jesus saw Zacchaeus, He invited Himself to his home by saying, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today." [Lk. 19:5] "So Zacchaeus hurried down and was happy to welcome Jesus." [Lk. 19:6] What an expression of joy. Most likely Zacchaeus has heard many great things about Jesus. And for Jesus to come to his home, what an honour!

Those who were present, knowing that Zacchaeus was a dishonest tax collector, they did not agree with Jesus' choice of a place to stay. In their eyes, Zacchaeus, like all tax collectors, was a sinner. And so they whispered among themselves like when people gossip.

What followed was a total human change of heart. By the grace of God, Zacchaeus repented of his sins. He said to Jesus, "Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much." [Lk. 19:8]

Here we perceive that Zacchaeus, after having met Jesus, he experienced a total detachment from his earthly possessions. Regarding restitution, the law of Moses taught, "When a man or a woman wrongs another, breaking faith with the Lord, that person incurs guilt and shall confess the sin that has been committed. The person shall make full restitution for the wrong adding one fifth to it, and giving it to the one who was wronged." [Num. 5:5- 7] While Zacchaeus was only required to add 20% on top of the amount that he had defrauded someone, he committed himself to adding 300% on top of that amount.

Following this personal commitment, Jesus said, "Today salvation has come to this house, because Zacchaeus too is a son of Abraham." [Lk. 19:8] Jesus did not say that salvation had come to Zacchaeus alone, but rather to his household. Why the entire household? It is because the household shared in Zacchaeus' blessing as they had previously suffered in his unjust practices. [Acts 10:2, 11:14, 16:15, 16:31, 18:8]

The conclusion! "The Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost." [Lk. 19:10] Zacchaeus was a sinner. By the grace of God, he repented and welcomed Jesus in his home. Through Christ, he was saved.

Returning to my introduction, how would you respond if Jesus said to you, "I must stay at your house today." How would you react to such an invitation? Would your home be ready? Would you be personally ready to welcome Jesus in your home?

The true issue here is not how we would react if Jesus wanted to come into our homes but rather, how have we reacted when He came into our homes? Indeed, Jesus has visited the homes of each and everyone of us. For Jesus is alive in us! Through the Sacrament of Confirmation, we have received the indwelling Spirit of Christ within us. Through the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, we have received the Divine Presence of the Lord Jesus within us. And "if we love one another, God lives in us, and His love is perfected in us." [1 Jn. 4:13]

When God lives in us, His glory is manifested through the fruit of His grace. He invited Himself into our homes and we have welcomed Him. For those of us who have received God in our homes, let us be thankful to the Lord for coming to us.

For those who have not received the Lord God in their homes or those who no longer have His Sacred Presence in their homes, it is never too late to repent and to welcome the Lord Jesus to return. For the Lord is a God of love, grace and mercy. He does not wish to see that any be lost.

As we continue with the celebration of the Holy Mass, let us pray for those who do not have the indwelling of the Lord God in their homes. Let us ask the Lord to reach out to these souls so that they too may partake in the universal salvation plan of God.

创建时间:2019-10-8 0:00:00    发布人:cczj