God Loves All He Created
Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C (30/10/2022)
(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)
By Fr. Samuel Odeh
Can we hate anything that God has created? Our first reading from the book of Wisdom describes a God who does not hate anything that he has created: For you love all that exists, and you loathe none of the things which you have made, for you would not have made anything if you hated it. We therefore cannot hate anything that God has created. Our first reading talks also about God’s mercy and forgiveness toward sinners: But you are merciful to all, for you can do all things, and you overlook men’s sins, that they may repent. We also read about God’s guidance for the sinner: Therefore you correct little by little those who trespass, and remind and warn them of the things wherein they sin, that they may be freed from wickedness and put their trust in you, O LORD.
Zacchaeus in our Gospel reading from Saint Luke was a man who was small of stature. Not only was he not tall in height, he was immoral, corrupt and had a bad reputation among the people. Saint Luke tells us that Zacchaeus was not just any tax collector but a chief tax collector and that he was rich. He wanted to see Jesus as he passed by but ended up being seen by Jesus. Zacchaeus hungered for salvation. This can happen to us also. When we hunger to see Jesus we can end up being seen by Jesus. Zacchaeus’ desire to see Jesus was so great that even as a dwarf who could not see above the crowd, he humbled himself and climbed a tree to see Jesus. He took a risk, but God rewarded him. Jesus took notice of him and called him and accepted him where he was rejected, loved him where he was hated and gave him joy where he had only known sorrow. How about ourselves? Are we, like Zacchaeus, ready to take the risk to see Jesus? Jesus not only calls Zacchaeus down from the tree but insists that he must stay with him in his house. Zacchaeus make haste and come down; for I must stay at your house today. The crowd complain that Jesus was approving of the hospitality of a sinful man; they grumbled and murmured. Zacchaeus had a change of heart and promised to make amends; he repented. Are we like the people in the crowd? Are we quick to condemn others and quick to consider others as undeserving of the love and mercy of God? God’s mercy is for sinners and saints as well. For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We are all sinners. Zacchaeus answered the call of Christ when he promised to give half of his riches to the poor and to repay any he defrauded four times over. Jesus set Zacchaeus as an example of a person in search of salvation and declares him a child of God as well.
In our second reading from his second letter to the Thessalonians, Saint Paul prayed that God will make them worthy of the calling they received. May we also answer God’s call with generous hearts and fulfill our vows and promises with humility. Let us love all that God has created as he himself loves them. Let us be merciful as Jesus was.