Sunday Readings Notes – 31st Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C – Nov. 3rd
Zacchaeus “was seeking to see who Jesus was” (Luke 19:3).
Isn’t that an interesting statement? Usually when we go to see someone new, we try to see what they look like or see how they dress or how they comb their hair.
But, Zacchaeus was looking for something different and was trying to perceive something deeper about Jesus. Again, he was trying to see and perceive “who Jesus was.”
The 2016 Living Liturgy commentary on next Sunday’s Mass Readings comments on this as well.
“Zacchaeus’ short stature kept him from seeing Jesus with his physical eyes. His ardent desire to encounter Jesus, however, indicates that he had already seen him with the eyes of the heart. Encountering Jesus does not depend [only] upon the goodness of one’s life, but encountering him can bring about conversion of life. Zacchaeus decides to put his life in right order” (p. 240).
Because of this Jesus proclaims that, “Today salvation has come to this house” (Luke 19:9).
The commentary continues, “Encountering Jesus and choosing to put our own [lives] in order brings us to the same salvation [as Zacchaeus]. We only need to see Jesus with the eyes of our hearts wide open.
“All of us are invited to salvation. Those are saved who seek Jesus (just as Zacchaeus made the first step when he climbed the sycamore tree to see Jesus) and are open to being sought by Jesus (he stayed at the house of Zacchaeus). Those are saved who change their lives when they encounter Jesus. Seeing Jesus isn’t enough. Encounter must lead to a faith relationship that makes a difference in our lives.
“Moreover, since Jesus continues his saving mission through us, his followers, we must be equally responsive to others. We must put our own affairs in order and care for those in any need. We must also live in such a way that when others encounter us, they encounter Jesus.
“Zacchaeus is the last person Luke’s gospel mentions before Jesus enters Jerusalem – it is as though St. Luke chooses to end his gospel account with a memorable story about why Jesus came: ‘For the Son of Man has come to see and to save what was lost’. If “salvation has come” even for this short tax collector, then who would ever be excluded?”