31st Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 30, 2016 – Year C
Readings: Wis 11:22-12:2 / Psalm 145 / 2 Thes 1:11-2:2 / Lk 19:1-10
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
Each and every one of us, who is old enough to have a life history, must have experienced being lost sometime in the past, either literally or figuratively. On a dark, winter night a few years ago, I was on my way to attend the priest gathering at the rectory of Fr. Dan Kelly in Nelson County. And as I always do, when I drive to an address where I have never been before, I relied on the direction given by the GPS. Now when I was at a place which I would describe as the middle of nowhere, the GPS said, “You have arrived” at a spot where there was no house in sight. There were no cars, no lights in the road, and there were three deer leisurely walking in front of me.
And fortunately as soon as I stopped to see if my cell phone had a signal so I could call Fr. Kelly, I saw a motorcycle in my rearview mirror coming up behind me. Now the man on the motorcycle probably noticed my predicament, so he stopped and asked if there was anything he could do to help. So I humbly told him that I was lost and was trying to find the address, which I told him. And he said he knew where it was and if I would follow him, he would lead me there. What a relief to have a guide who knew exactly where he was going, where I was supposed to go, and more importantly, how to get there.
In today’s Gospel, St. Luke the Evangelist told us the story of a man named Zacchaeus who was humble enough to accept the fact that he was spiritually lost and needed Jesus. As the Gospel puts it, “He came down the sycamore tree and received the Lord with joy.” Even before Jesus talked to him about his life, he was already making an expression of an Act of Contrition. And knowing what was in Zacchaeus’s heart, Jesus said, “Today, salvation has come to this house.” That could be the equivalent of giving light to someone in darkness, or saving the lost, or telling the seriously ill that he or she is cured of infirmity, or telling the person in debt that he or she is debt-free, or telling the sinner that he or she is forgiven.
My dear brothers and sisters, as we pray together during our Eucharistic celebration, let us continue to remind ourselves that the same Jesus who stayed at the house of Zacchaeus is the same Jesus who is in our midst. And His body, blood, soul, and divinity we will receive in Holy Communion a few minutes from now. And He is leading us to a life of freedom and peace.
And as we go forth after this Mass, when we sing our recessional hymn, “Amazing Grace,” each of us can say with joy, “ I once was lost, but now I’m found; was blind, but now I see.”