31st Sunday Ordinary Time - Year C
DAY OF THE LORD
The people of the Old Testament were among the first to note that there might be a finality to time. Most other nations saw existence only as an endless cycle of seasons. The Israelites saw the actions of God in history and concluded that there might be a terminal to these acts. This concept led to the notion of Judgment (or Doom's) Day. At that event God would bring final punishment to the wicked and reward to the good. Paul used this notion in winning converts. Some, like the Christians of Thessalonica, took the idea too literally. They thought that the end of the world was imminent. Some even quit their jobs to wait. This gained Paul's followers a reputation for laziness. Fanatics even claimed to have received angelic messages warning of the approaching "Day of the Lord". The Apostle writes to discourage false anxieties.
ZACCHAEUS AND THE SYCAMORE
Jericho is a city of turning points. It is an oasis that serves as a crossroads between Galilee and Jerusalem and between Israel, Jordan and Egypt. It is here that Jesus will take the road that will lead to Calvary. It is also the home of a hated and rich, mercenary tax collector named Zacchaeus. His fellow Jews see him only as a collaborator with the Roman occupation forces. He has reached the peak of his career but is unsatisfied. He has few if any friends. His last chance may be to reform by turning to Jesus. Being short of stature, he climbs a sycamore tree. This is not the stately plant of America, nor that of Eurasia. It is a variety of fruit tree, often known as the "poor man's fig". There is a bit of satire in the fact that he climbs a plant grown for the impoverished.
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