31st Sunday in Ordinary Time C

October 30, 2022


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courtesy of Larry Broding


Luke 19:2

“He was the head tax collector.” Either Zacchaeus was in charge of other local tax collectors or he was simply higher in rank over the others. The term “head tax collector” only occurs here in Luke. From a literary point of view, Luke used to term to highlight the depth of the man’s dishonorable position and the hatred he endured from the Jewish populace. It is also an interesting counter-image to the man’s height in 19:3.

Luke 19:5-6

“(in a hurry)” is literally “having hurried.” The participle (“having hurried”) modifies the main verb (“come down”).
“For, today, I need to stay at your house.” The word “today” is emphatic. Notice the parallel with 19:9, when Jesus declared Zacchaeus saved “today.” Luke implied that an encounter with Jesus was the starting point of salvation.

Luke 19:7

“(to be the guest)” is literally “to lodge with.” Jesus would enjoy the hospitality of a sinner. The grumbling crowd believed Jesus would possibly be polluted by the man and his sin.

Luke 19:8

“Having taken a stand” indicated the man was going to make a public announce- ment. This is the same word Luke used in the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector when the Pharisee took his stand in the Temple to pray (18:11).

Luke 19:8

“I will give . . . I will repaid” In the Greek, these verbs are in the present tense. But, because they speak of the man’s intention, they were translated in the future.

Luke 19:9

“because (this man) is also a son of Abraham” Jesus declared the family of Zacchaeus saved based upon the tax man’s desire to see the Lord, the small man’s encounter with him, and Zacchaeus’ statement of repentance. His pledge to act generously and justly alone would qualify Zacchaeus as a righteous Jew, returning to normal life in the community; this would justify the title “son of Abraham.” For Jesus, however, the title “son of Abraham” meant life with God in the Kingdom. Only Jesus, as the Messiah, could confer such a blessing. Zaccheaus’ positive reaction to the Lord’s invitation established a faith relationship, and opened the door to eternal life.
Used with Permission



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SOURCE: Dr. Brant Pitre

Salvation has Come to This house

Jesus says something strange after Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector, repents and fulfills the law of making restitution for his theft: Jesus says that “salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham” (Luke 19:9). Why does Jesus say this? And what does the Zacchaeus story tell us about the mission of Jesus in the Gospels?


For the Son of Man Came to Seek Out and to Save the Lost


DR. KIERAN O’MAHONY – This attractive story—especially appealing to children—is found only in Luke’s Gospel. It is given an important place in the journey narrative, at the point where the road heads upwards towards Jerusalem. The matching first reading from Wisdom profiles the related theme of mercy but there are many more links, which the alert reader will notice.


SOURCE: Dr. Kieran J. O’Mahony, OSA

31st Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year C)

Homily helps and liturgy resources
highlighting care for our common home.


Local individuals and groups can make a real difference. They are able to instill a greater sense of responsibility, a strong sense of community, a readiness to protect others, a spirit of creativity and a deep love for the land. (179)

In the absence of pressure from the public and from civic institutions, political authorities will always be reluctant to intervene, all the more when urgent needs must be met…. A healthy politics is sorely needed, capable of reforming and coordinating institutions, promoting best practices and overcoming undue pressure and bureaucratic inertia. (181)

The universe unfolds in God, who fills it completely. Hence, there is a mystical meaning to be found in a leaf, in a mountain trail, in a dewdrop, in a poor person's face. The ideal is not only to pass from the exterior to the interior to discover the action of God in the soul, but also to discover God in all things. (233)

Click on the banners to view passages related to this week's readings


A Profound Spiritual Vision


False Teachings that have Misled Christians


Seeing Jesus in the Struggle for Human Dignity, Climate Justice, and Social Activity

SOURCE: Catholic Climate Covenant and the Association of Unites States Catholic Priests

31st Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year C)

A liturgical cycle of commentary, planning and prayer resources published from 1972 until 2019.


An Interlude of Mercy


The Ultimate Pro-Life Issue of Our Time

SOURCE: excerptS Above taken from the Cycle C Sunday Resources feature series. View the full series.

Catholic Commentary

31st Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year C)

Catholic commentary compiled by Michal E. Hunt

The Lord Who Calls Us is Gracious and Merciful


Almighty and Merciful Lord of the Imperishable Spirit

The lesson the inspired writer of the Book of Wisdom gives about God’s mercy and faithful love toward all created things is not new (see Hos 6:4-6; Jon 3:1-4:11). He writes forcefully of the universal range of God’s mercy towards sinful man and the love of God that is continually at work in creation (see Wis 11:23-26). The inspired writer speaks of God’s loving providence towards all created beings, also expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“With creation, God does not abandon his creatures to themselves. He not only gives them being and existence but also, and at every moment, upholds and sustains them in being, enables them to act and bring them to their final end. Recognizing this utter dependence with respect to the Creator is a source of wisdom and freedom, of joy and confidence” (CCC 301). God waits for the sinner to repent and never loses His patience (Wis 12:1-2). When God rebukes sinful human beings, He does so with a redemptive intention in the hope that contrition will lead to repentance, which will lead to a return to the acceptance of God’s love and mercy. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote: “the love of God creates and fills all things with goodness” (Summa Theologiae, 1.20.2).


Awaiting The Day of the Lord’s Return

St. Paul was deeply concerned. He feared that the persecution the church at Thessalonica faced would cause some of them to stumble and fall away from the Lord (2 Thess 1:4-5). Even more disturbing was the news Paul received that someone was deceiving the community by writing false letters in his name (2 Thess 2:2)! The topic of the false teaching concerns the Parousia, the Second Advent of Christ. Some church members in Thessalonica had inferred that the coming of Christ was so imminent that there was no longer any need to work or care for their families. Paul began by writing about the Second Advent of Christ (2 Thess 1:6-10) and then wrote that he and his missionary team prayed continually that God would make them worthy of the call of Jesus Christ and that they would be glorified in Him when He returns.

Then in 2 Thess 2:1-2, Paul began to refute the false messages they have received. He warns them that before Christ’s return, there are signs that must be fulfilled (2 Thess 2:3b-12). He writes that before Christ’s Second Coming, there will be a general apostasy and the appearance of “the man of sin” (2 Thess 2:3). In the meantime, they need to “not be shaken” or “alarmed” by any letter or spirit or oral statement telling them otherwise (2 Thess 2:2). God was preparing them for Christ’s return in their sufferings and with the teaching of His Apostles and disciples. This was the only teaching they must follow and none other.

We must also heed St. Paul’s warning to the Christians at Thessalonica to Stand firm then, brothers, and keep the traditions that we taught you, whether by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess 2:15; also see 2 Thess 3:6 and 1 Cor 11:2). We have the Scriptures, and the Universal [catholic] Church of Jesus Christ has been given the power and authority to interpret and teach those Scriptures and to pass on the oral Tradition of teaching received from Jesus (Jn 20:22-23; 21:15-17; 2 Pt 1:20-21). If we do not understand those teachings, how can we be ready to receive Christ’s mercy instead of His judgment when He returns?


Zacchaeus the Tax Collector

Last week’s Gospel reading compared the prayer of a proud Pharisee with the humility and contrition of a tax collector who repented and acknowledged his sins. This week we see the response of another tax collector to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The previous story in the Gospel of Luke concerned Jesus healing a blind man who called out to Him as He entered the city of Jericho (Lk 18:35-43). In this encounter with Christ, there is a connection between what happened to the blind man who so urgently called out to Jesus as He was passing by and the little tax collector who desperately wanted a chance to see Jesus before He passed by. Both stories are about the urgency of reaching out to Jesus before He “passes by” and warning us not to fail responding to Jesus while there is still time for us to be open to God’s grace and mercy and receive the gift of salvation. In our journey to salvation, we need to continue to respond quickly and decisively to Jesus, like the earnest blind beggar and the repentant little tax collector.

The people despised tax collectors because of the way they profited off the commission that they added to the people’s taxes. Jesus, in His mercy, calls out to the little tax collector, and Zacchaeus responds to Jesus. Repenting his dishonesty, Zacchaeus promises Jesus that he will make restitution as a sign of his conversion. The Law of Moses imposed fourfold restitution for the theft of domestic livestock only (Ex 21:37), but Roman law demanded a fourfold compensation in all cases of theft. Zacchaeus appears to be following Roman law in the restitution he promises for those he has defrauded, but he goes beyond the requirement in promising to give half his wealth to the poor.

Zacchaeus’s repentance and submission to Christ identify him as a true descendant of Abraham (Gal 3:29) and one of the “lost sheep” the Messiah, who is God Himself, was prophesied to save (Ezek 34:11-12). May we all respond to Christ in the same way as Zacchaeus, the tax collector. He may have been small in stature, but his genuine contrition for his sins and gratitude for Christ’s mercy and forgiveness enlarged his heart, as demonstrated in the mercy he was willing to extend to others. A faith filled response to Jesus and His Gospel of salvation removes the selfishness that blurs our vision of Christ and increases the power of our faith. Zacchaeus’s response to Christ gave him the honor of welcoming Jesus to his table and the promise of a place at Christ’s banquet in the eternal kingdom.

SOURCE: Agape Bible Study – Michal Elizabeth Hunt (Used with permission)

Ecumenical Commentary

31st Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year C)

An ecumenical commentary by Richard Niell Donavan

SOURCE: Richard Niell Donavan, a Disciples of Christ clergyman, published SermonWriter from 1997 until his death in 2020. His wife Dale has graciously kept his website online. A subscription is no longer required.

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