Bringing Down Walls of Defiance
Greetings on this the Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: WIS 11:22-12:2; PS 145:1-2, 8-9, 10-11, 13, 14; 2 THES 1:11-2:2; LK 19:1-10
Recap and Reengaged
The 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, last week, the gospel reading was about a tax collector.
Today in the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time the gospel reading was about a tax collector, in fact, the Chief Tax Collector.
Last week the contrast was between the prayer of a Pharisee and a Tax Collector.
This week culminates Jesus’ engagement with tax collectors. It is also the culmination of another important thread: the cherished place of Jericho.
Review on Tax Collectors (for Pharisee interactions – see last week’s homily):
|Ch 3:12ff||John the Baptizer (JB) – firm advice
TC – what should we do?
JB – Collect only what is prescribed.
|JB offers the way of repentance which must include acts of repentance before they can avoid the Day of Wrath.|
|Ch 5:27-30||Jesus calls Levi the tax collector.
(also becomes Apostle)
|Jesus reassures TC Levi those who are sick need the Great Physician.|
|Ch 7:29-34||The tax collectors baptized with the baptism of John, acknowledge the righteousness of God.||TC’s got the message of JB. JC is witnessing to the fact they did go through John’s baptism after amending their ways.|
|Ch 15:1ff||Parable of Lost Sheep – TC’s are listening.||TC identify with the Lost Sheep, now found.|
|Ch 18:10-13||Parable of Prayer – TC – sits in back, O God be merciful to me a sinner.||TC moving from repentance to full reconciliation with God.|
|Ch 19:1ff||Zacchaeus – Top Guy – Chief TC.||Today’s gospel. Zacchaeus finding his humility, repentance, and restitution in Christ.|
When we see this as a TC continuum the words of Wisdom make all the more sense:
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!
Zacchaeus was the Chief Tax Collector. Whatever cheating the lower level TC’s did Zacchaeus would have:
- Zacchaeus knew about it.
- Zacchaeus shared in it.
- Zacchaeus probably did that and more with his lower TC’s.
Nevertheless, Zacchaeus also knew and John the Baptizers warning of the Day of Wrath, the need for restitution and repentance.
Zacchaeus knew that Jesus was the source of the forgiveness and mercy. He promises:
- Half of his possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor.
- I have extorted and shall repay it four times over.
Zacchaeus was defiant no more. The walls of his defiance came down with the blowing of JB’s trumpets and the joyful cry of the lower TC’s.
Jericho Intercalated and Converges
|Ch 10:30ff||Parable of the Good Samaritan||‘Who is my neighbor’ reply. Includes TC’s too.
|Ch 18:35ff||Healing of the Blind Beggar.||Keep Crying Out (prayers) God will hear you!
|Ch 19:1ff||Zacchaeus – Top Guy – Chief TC.||Jesus seeks and saved who is lost.
He too is a descendant of Abraham.
Jericho – Place of Faith
By faith the walls of Jericho fell after being encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish with the disobedient, for she had received the spies in peace.
The impossible is possible, (enemy, blindness, tax collector) you can find God’s righteousness.
(Spies = messengers).
Are you a Chief Tax Collector? Take heart. Even the walls of Jericho fell by faith.
Peace be with you,