Sunday, 3 November 2019

The Joy of Salvation, 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Lk 19:1-10
Today I want us to consider what “salvation” looks like.
We just heard the Lord Jesus say, “Today SALVATION has come to this house” [of Zacchaeus].

Many people would probably not think Zacchaeus needed “saving” from anything:
He had a lot of money;
He had a big house -big enough to invite a whole lot of people along (with the Lord).

Zacchaeus, it would seem, felt otherwise
-he thought he needed something more.
He was out looking for Jesus, “anxious to see what kind of man Jesus was” (Lk 19:3).
And, the text is clear, the Lord was also looking for Him:
“Zacchaeus, come down. Hurry because I must stay at your house today” (Lk 19:5).

Let’s note what salvation LOOKS like, as described in this account:
There is “joy” in Zacchaeus;
There is him “welcoming” the Lord into his house;
There is a CAUSE of his joy: God coming to him; the Lord Jesus being with him.
This is what salvation LOOKS like: the JOY of having GOD with you.
We were made for life with God,
we are radically incomplete unless God dwells in this ‘house’ within each of us.
But, when he does FULLY dwell in us, then we have the joy of Zacchaeus.

There is one pivotal element I have thus far failed to mention:
Zacchaeus was a sinner.
Zacchaeus was far from God.
And this is the whole PIVOT of the significance of this event:
Zacchaeus knew his money and big house wasn’t enough.
He knew his comfortable living had left him far from God.
He knew he was “lost” (Lk 19:10).

Do WE know we are lost?
This parish has many nice houses and presumably many nice bank accounts.
There is an inner Zacchaeus in many of us,
like him, we can have that sense that there is something MORE out there
something more IN here [in church] -if we will but seek Him out.
The self-complacent, who criticised the Lord for going to Zacchaeus’s house,
they, it would seem, didn’t have that humility Jesus taught,
that humility we heard in last Sunday’s Gospel, “God be merciful to me, a sinner”(Lk 18:13).
If we want to have the joy of Zacchaeus,
then we first need to know our NEED of the saviour.
I need to be able to look into my heart and say I’m lost, say I’m a sinner, say I need a saviour.

Zacchaeus gave half his property to the poor (Lk 19:8),
but he kept the other half -The Lord didn’t tell him to give it all.
Money can DISTRACT us from God.
A comfortable life can SMOTHER that inner voice that tells us we need to do more to follow Him.
But money isn’t a problem in itself.
Zacchaeus shows us a model of salvation:
looking for God, humble to see our sins,
and knowing the joy of the loving welcome of the God who came for the “lost”.

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