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31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C – Homily

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
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
October 30, 2016

Zacchaeus is described as being “short in stature.”  He was short enough that he couldn’t see Jesus through the crowd.  Being small, he probably won’t have been able to fight his way through the crowd.  It was important enough for him to see Jesus that he ran ahead of the group enough to find a tree to climb so he could see Jesus.

This might not seem like a big deal.  Kids climb trees but in the culture of the time no self-respecting wealthy man would do such a thing.  It would have been embarrassing but Zacchaeus didn’t care about that.  He wanted to see Jesus.  It sounds like he was getting his priorities in order with Jesus at the top.

When Jesus comes to the tree, he took the initiative to look up and tell Zacchaeus he will stay at his house.  Zacchaeus is thrilled.

Physically we all start out small.  I remember as a little child and going to parades always wanting to be up front when we went to parades.  Otherwise, I couldn’t see anything.  But here in church, being “short in stature” can talk on a whole other status.

Our God is an infinite God.  God is all-knowing and all-powerful.  God is everywhere.  So what are we compared to God?  Are we even a grain or a drop of morning dew?  How can we ever make ourselves worthy of his calling?

Does God even notice us?

Of course, God notices us.  We are not too small for God to see us.  God is everywhere and aware of everything.  Even when we try to hide behind something, God sees us.

We might think we don’t matter much to God.  What have we done to make ourselves worthy of God’s love?  We might feel like we are nobody special.  We might think we aren’t worth noticing but we would be wrong.

We are worthy of being noticed by God not because of what we do.  We are worthy because God makes us worthy.  We are all created in God’s image to be loved by God.  We are made great when we accept what God has given us and use it for the building up on God’s kingdom.  We pray thy kingdom come.  We need to make this our goal in the here and now.

I spoke before about “hiding from God.”  It might seem odd to think about hiding from God as we gather here in church.  Church probably isn’t the place to go to hide from God but just as “short in stature” can take on a deeper meaning in feeling insignificant, “hiding from God” can taken on a deeper meaning.

We are not going to hide from God in Church but we might want to hide aspects of our lives from God.  Most specifically we might want to hide our sins.  We know they aren’t good and we hope God doesn’t notice them.  The thing is, since God is everywhere, of course He notices our sins.  God is present with us even when we commit the sin.

Yet God loves us.

One might suppose that because God is so great and needs nothing from us that if we sin, then God won’t love us anymore.  Fortunately, God doesn’t think that way.

God doesn’t have to love us.  God chooses to love us.

For those of you who are parents, think of a time when your child did something really bad.  You might have gotten very upset, very mad with them but did you stop loving them?  God doesn’t.

For those of you who are children, have you done something that really mad your parents upset?  Did they stay upset?  God doesn’t.

Unfortunately, as parents or children we are not perfect so forgiveness is not easy but God always offers it.  When you doubt God’s mercy, look at Jesus hanging on a Crucifix.  If God doesn’t want to forgive you, then why did Jesus die on the Cross?

God wants us to know his love.  God wants us to know that we are not too “short in stature” for him to notice us.  God wants us to know that He is aware of our sins and will forgive us.

We might think that if God is aware of our sins, then we don’t need to confess them.  But we need to realize that in going to confession and admitting our sins, then we open ourselves to feeling God’s love.  If we keep our sins hiding inside us, then we are blocking out God.  When we confess them, God wipes our sins away and makes us great by bestowing his grace upon us.

On our own, we might be “short in stature” but God raises us up.  We open ourselves to Christ and work together so God’s kingdom can come.  Then we are all “Raised in Christ.”

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