Sunday Reflections with Canon Robin Gibbons: 30 October 2022 | Whuff News

Thirty first Sunday at regular time

The story of Zacchaeus as recorded in Luke (Luke 19:1-10) is easy to understand. It’s an authentic account of a meeting between a rich tax collector and Jesus that ends up changing the tax collector’s entire lifestyle. That story is a clear mirror for each of us to look at. Like Zacchaeus, we want to find and know Jesus, and like him, we are called to ‘repent and believe the good news’, so when we look at that mirror, we ask ourselves, ‘Am I like Zacchaeus in loving Christ, who is true to the gospel and forgiving?’

But there’s something to think about, right? A lovely picture of Luke, a short man, wanting to see but being forbidden by the crowd, climbing a sycamore tree to see Jesus passing by, catching his eye and being asked to play host at a later meeting, the crowd’s obvious distress and frustration and then apparent repentance, whatever was stolen by Zacchaeus. Object return and return. Those last words of Jesus sum it all up: ‘The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost’.

( Luke 19:10 ) But there is more, I am more convinced than ever that this story is definitely a mirror that Jesus holds up to our eyes – there is a certain strategy in Luke’s description of the image, because are we not always called by Christ? Look for what it teaches and dig deeper, see the many layers laid out there for our investigation?

Can I give partial help? In this story we are asked to examine ourselves by Zacchaeus himself, by his people, and by Jesus. Let’s start with Zacchaeus. In spite of himself and his scorned profession, he finds himself in a sleazy and sleazy manner, unbecoming of a nobleman. As we see in the Gospel, like the tax collectors and Pharisees, he wants to find the one who clearly heard Jesus. That to my mind shows singular integrity in him. He may be a sinner, a corrupt official, but there is a truth in him that often goes hand in hand with the admission of sin, I would say he knows himself very well. The climbing of the sycamore tree is not an accidental image, because these trees were biblical symbols of rebirth, it is safe to climb, one can see and talk to Jesus, but one is called to plunge into the unknown. New life with Christ. Then he finds himself with the Lord as his friend rather than the other way around. That’s when half of his character is created, his short stature is really filled with that spirit and makes up for all the wrongs. And that is our first mirror image, let us pray about that and let Christ’s relationship with us not only in our homes, but also in our hearts and enter into the challenge of being right for him.

The second image is the people, in this way it is very easy to deal with it because we are often present, prejudiced, cruel, righteous, angry and if we are religious, we often complain about the way things are in the church. and parish, faith and theology, religious and leadership imbalance (or not) clergy and laity powerlessness. You can make your own list! But the mirror question here is not clear, we know that many people, groups, factions can be destructive and wrong – yet Jesus’ last phrase about seeking the lost also applies to faithful religious people. There is a danger in religion, it can take a place it does not belong, and in this and our present world it can meet a godly and habitual way of life with Christ who calls us to seek him. So are we once again prepared to examine ourselves as a group, as a church, and to pursue prejudice?

The third image is Jesus himself, whom we are expected to imitate ourselves and to try and live by his teachings, especially the blessed believers. The mirror here shows us where Jesus is, but how we hold His presence in others, especially the lost – we have a long way to go, giving others the benefit of the doubt if they say transparent loyalty, we are. As he did, to see and help work redeeming love among sinners! Like Jesus, we must call our Zacchaeans to come down into their lives and receive us, but as we do, unlike the sinless Jesus, we treat him as an equal in need of forgiveness and humbly receive mercy. And love. The name Zacchaeus means pure or clean of heart, and that’s what he was, and that’s what we’re called to. Amen 121 2 .


Thomas Merton

No man is an island.

“God left sin in the world to be forgiveness, not only a secret forgiveness by which He Himself cleanses our souls, but a forgiveness by which we express compassion to one another and express Him. He lives in our hearts through His mercy.

Thomas Hallick

Patience with God: The story of Zacchaeus lives on in us

The only person who can talk to Zacchaeus is the stranger or the stranger hidden in the fig branches – the one who does not despise them, who cares about them, who responds to them. What happens in their hearts and minds.”

“Truth happens in the process of discussion. As if the topic of the discussion is a solved problem, there will be a temptation to allow our answer to complete the search process. But when a new question comes, the unexhausted depth of the mystery should be said once and again: – Faith is not a problem, but a mystery, so we must not give up the way of searching and asking.”

Syriac dialogue poem

By Zacchaeus (5th/6th AD)

On the Sinner Woman I 2, 5-7 (trans Brooke, The Sinner Woman)

The compassionate doctor turned aside;

He made his way to sinners.

Show them humility

That they may come to Him without fear. . . .

He caught Zacchaeus from figs

And the sons of Zebedee in the boat.

Also the Samaritan woman by the well.

And the sinner from the house of Simon.

The sinful woman heard the report

He was eating at Simon’s house;

She said in her heart, “I will go with you.”

He will forgive me all that I have wronged.

I really long to see the Son of God.

Dressed up.

As he forgave Zacchaeus his sins

So he will have mercy on me.”

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