Twenty-fourth Sunday After Pentecost (Year C)
Scripture Readings*: Isaiah 1:10-18, Psalm 32:1-8, 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12, Luke 19:1-10
Dramatically, Isaiah compares Israel’s leadership to that of Sodom and Gomorrah (vs. 10). Though Jerusalem survived and Sodom did not, the similarities of the rulers of both nations is made clear. Both were guilty of oppressing the weak and embracing unacceptable worship.
True worship of the Living God is more than ceremonial performance. The implications of a changed life are witnessed in behavior that administers mercy to the vulnerable.
2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12
Paul and his colleagues habitually prayed for the Thessalonians. Their spiritual welfare was always on the apostles’ hearts, and they were sincerely thankful for their faithfulness to the gospel message, even though they suffered for their stance. Paul appeals to them to lead lives in keeping with their destiny. Christians do not live worthily in order to obtain salvation but because they have been granted salvation.
The apostle prays that God will bring to full expression every good purpose of theirs to glorify God, and that every act motivated by their faith will be in God. Both motives and actions have their source in God (Phil. 2:13); thus they are accomplished by His power.
Jesus’ words, “Today salvation has come to this house,” did not imply that the act of giving to the poor had saved Zacchaeus, but that his change in lifestyle was a result of his right relationship with God.
Zacchaeus, a son of Abraham by birth, had a right to enter the kingdom because of his connection with Jesus. That was Jesus’ mission—to seek and to save those who are lost (cf. Lk.15:5, 9, 24).
Do You Hear What I’m Living?
Actions speak louder than words. Today’s readings demonstrate this age-old wisdom. Isaiah’s rebuke shows that ceremony does not replace a life of worship. Paul’s words to the Thessalonians highlight their growing faith as evidenced by their increasing love for others. And Jesus’ words to Zacchaeus point out his changed heart as demonstrated through his newfound generosity.
When we live lives of faith and worship, the Gospel is proclaimed – without us ever saying a word. In today’s discouraged and disillusioned world, think about the power of a living Gospel. Imagine how a life lived in joyful service brings Light to a dark and hopeless world.
Living the Gospel speaks louder than any words we can say. Observed in us, the Gospel proclaims Christ better than any bumper sticker we can place on our car. When we live out our faith, Christ is seen… felt… heard… known.
Prayer for Twenty-third Sunday After Pentecost – Merciful God, give grace that enables me to walk humbly before You, serving in love and obtaining Your heavenly promises; through Jesus Christ, Amen.
*Readings are from the Revised Common Lectionary, Year C