Repentance

Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Wisdom 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!

2 Thessalonians 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.

Luke 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.”

“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” (Luke 19:9-10). True to his words, which we heard in this Sunday’s gospel, Jesus sought out Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector and a wealthy man, and granted him and his household the gift of salvation.

Zaachaeus went looking for Jesus only to discover that Jesus was actually looking for him!

God is actively and constantly on the lookout for the sinners. This we learn as soon as we turn the first few pages of the Bible. Immediately after man’s fall into sin, God went looking for him. “Where are you?” was the first question that God asked man (cf. Genesis 3:9). After finding Adam and Eve, who had disobeyed His commandment not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God immediately promised them salvation by revealing his saving plan for mankind in the Protoevangelium, i.e. the “first gospel” in Genesis 3:14-19.

God is indeed loving and merciful, always on the lookout for sinners and ready to forgive them. Today’s first reading echoes the same message: “But you have mercy on all, because you can do all things; and you overlook people’s sins that they may repent” (Wis 11:23).

In the Bible, God’s eagerness to save us sometimes almost appears overdone. In Isaiah, He is portrayed as a man who can’t wait to give away all kinds of freebies: “All you who are thirsty, come to the water! You who have no money, come, receive grain and eat; come, without paying and without cost, drink wine and milk!” (Is 55:1). Again in the Proverbs, He invites everyone to enjoy free food and drinks: “Come, eat of my food, and drink of the wine I have mixed!” (Proverbs 9:5).

If God wants to save us so bad, and His salvation is free and always there, waiting for us to receive whenever we want, then why are we worried about condemnation to hell? Everyone surely will be saved. Right? It seems so easy. But wait. Look what Zaachaeus had to do to receive Jesus’ free saving grace. He repented with sincerity and action. He did everything he could to make amends for his sins. Yes, God’s saving grace is free. But the recipient must have the urge to want to receive it. That urge, my friend, must come from a heart filled with repentance, which is what Jesus asked of us on embarking his public ministry of proclaiming the gospel of God: “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mk 1:15).

Is repentance, true and sincere, in your heart? If yes, congratulations! Today salvation has come to your house.

Posted: October 30, 2016

Edmond Lo

 
As a Catholic speaker, writer and RCIA Catechist, Edmond is very active in promoting and defending the Catholic faith. He has a MBA, a CPA-CMA, and a MTS (Master of Theological Studies) from U.T., St. Augustine's Seminary. Having worked many years as the CFO of a non-profit organization, he retired at 55 to follow his special vocation of evangelization. The activities he conducts include the CMCC Bible Study Program, the Catechism Revisited Program, the FLL Spiritual Formation Program, Living in the Holy Tradition, RCIA, family groups and retreats, etc. Edmond is a member of the FLL Core Team. He writes Sunday Mass reflections regularly for the weekly FLL NewSpiration. His personal blog: http://elodocuments.blogspot.com/


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