Sunday Gospel reflections: What does Christ have for us today?

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Detail, "Christ and Zacchaeus" by Niels Larsen Stevns, 1913. Photo: Public Domain

He wasn’t planning to have guests over that day. He just wanted to see. He wanted to see who Jesus was. So he climbed a tree. Zacchaeus was probably about my height, but I’ve never come close to being able to climb a tree. Fortunately for him, the closest tree was a sycamore fig, much easier to climb than my local maples.

Zacchaeus wasn’t planning on being seen. But Jesus looked up. And Jesus did know who Zacchaeus was. So Jesus invited himself over for the day.

Zacchaeus wasn’t planning to change anytime soon. He was entitled to extort as much from the taxpayers as he dared, as long as Rome got its proper assessment. He had done quite well for himself, and everyone around knew how. Today, however, he just wanted to see. But something happened. He saw Jesus, and it changed him.

When we gather for liturgy we are often not ready to see Christ everywhere he is. Before the first step is taken down the aisle, before the first note resounds through the space, Christ is present in and among his assembled body, the Church. Look around. The building is filled with human icons of Christ. Each face bears his cross carved invisibly on the forehead at Baptism. What invitation to change does Christ have for us today, written on the faces of our brothers and sisters?

— Margaret Bick


Wisdom 11:22–12:2

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

2 Thessalonians 1:11–2:2

Luke 19:1-10

“Christ and Zacchaeus” by Niels Larsen Stevns, 1913. Photo: Public Domain

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