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Homily (Reflection) for the Thirty-First Sunday of the Year (C) (03rd November, 2019) on the Gospel

Wis 11:22– 2:2;
Ps 144:1-2.8-11.13-14. (R. cf. v. 1);
2Thess 1:11–2:2;
Lk 19:1-10.

Take time and reflect on your aspirations both past and present. How far have you accomplished them and what are the stumbling blocks that either challenged or stopped you? Some of these blocks are known to you whereas others are not. Considering the known ones, how far did they prevent you from achieving your desires?
Topic: Transform those blocks.
Although everything God made is very good, (cf. Gen 1:31) yet only God is perfect, (cf. Matt 5:48). Every person has his/her own handicaps. Some prefer calling them limitations. Some of these could be latent until they surprised one. Just like it might be difficult to identify the lame while at sitting position. These limitations are in line with God’s plan for each person, cf. Matt 25:15-30. God expects us to work each according to his or her abilities. Some do end up clinging to themselves while blaming either the creator or his creatures for their woes.
Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus like others in today’s gospel but his stature and the crowd seemed to have teamed up as stumbling blocks for him. However, we read in part,
He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way.
There are a number of things that can be seen as handicaps in a person. Some of these are either natural or manmade. Zacchaeus’ limitations were both natural and manmade. However, none stopped him.
Just imagine what you would have done if found in his shoes. Although Zacchaeus was short but he could run. As we complain of what prevents us from actualizing our dreams, we must remember that God’s grace is sufficient for each and every one of us, cf. 2Cor 12:9. Zacchaeus knew that he could run and climb despite his stature.
That which you complain about and viewed just as a problem can be turned into a stepping stone. Because Zacchaeus ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree, “When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus’, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today”. Remember that many giants were there but Jesus did not go to stay in any of their houses because Zacchaeus refused to surrender.
Even in his very own house they also complained, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner”. He stood his ground and said to Jesus, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much”.
In Zacchaeus there are a number of stumbling blocks. They include wealth, small stature, and sin but none of these could hold him down. What prevents you from turning your stumbling blocks into stepping stones? Unless one turns his or her stumbling blocks into stepping stones he or she will not be able to say with the Psalmist: “I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Ps 34:1). No matter what you think that holds you back, God wants you to be freed. Always remember that the help of the children of God comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth, cf. Ps 121:2; 124:8. If anyone forsakes God he will forsake that person, cf. 1Chr 28:9; 2Chr 15:2.
Bible Reading: Matt 25:14-30; Ps 62:1-12.
Thought for today: What holds you down?
Let us pray: Lord, may I be that person you want me to be. May I never be stopped by any force for you are my refuge – Amen (cf. Ps 62:8).
You are free to share this reflection with others if you consider it worthy.

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