Theme: “Standing Firm in Open Hearted Repentance”

31st Sunday of Ordinary Time – Year C – October 30, 2022
Homily by Fr. Erel Villanueva

First Reading: Isaiah 1:10-17

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 119:137-138,139-140,141-142,143-144

Second Reading: 2 Thessalonians 2:9-13

Gospel Reading: Luke 19:1-10

Homily by Fr. Erel Villanueva

“Today is the day of repentance.” We continue on from last Sunday’s Gospel on a tax collector’s justified story, to another tax collector’s salvation moment.

In the Gospel today, we see that we are given an opportunity to change and repent everyday. God approaches us in many ways because He wants to give us chances to receive salvation. Zacchaeus, for example, was a chief tax collector who experienced a Kairos (appointed time of God) moment with Jesus. Zacchaeus was eager to meet Jesus. Maybe he heard about Him from Matthew, a fellow tax collector. And he was truly excited to see Jesus.

Imagine, he was the chief tax collector. He had a certain reputation, and though he was hated by many because of what he did, he had a certain level of prominence and stature as chief tax collector. But in his excitement, he acted like a child and climbed a tree so he can have a better view of Jesus. He totally forgot about his stature – further proving true what is said in scripture that the best way to approach God is to approach him like a child.

Do we see God’s invitation to us joyfully, like Zacchaeus? You see, Jesus looks for people who are lost. And He wants us to do the same. We just have to be careful not to imitate them, but we have to be with them — that is witnessing, evangelizing, mission!

Fr. Erel also beautifully pointed out how Jesus did not have to show Zacchaeus his sins. His mere presence and kindness was enough to lead this tax collector to repentance. Truly, it is the kindness of God that leads people to repentance!

But he not only repented, he also was moved to change immediately. True repentance would always lead us to action. More than words or emotions, but genuine action. We are to bear fruit worthy of repentance.

God will always give us time to fix our life. But why should we wait for a confrontation? Fr. Erel encourages us to do a self-examination now so we can experience what Zacchaeus experienced. Because of his humble heart, he and his family received salvation. Our repentant heart will also affect others positively. Today is the day of repentance! Today is our Kairos moment!


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