Gate Pa – Year C 31st Sunday of Ordinary Time, Pentecost 24
Psalm Psalm: 149
First Reading: Daniel 7:1-3, 15-18
Second Reading: Ephesians 1:11-23
Gospel: Luke 19:1-10
What I want to say:
Was Zacchaeus already giving half his income to the poor, or was he going to give half his income because of what Jesus says to him. Both work. If he was already, then the issue is not that he was corrupt – as we assume, but that those he lived among assumed he was corrupt and a sinner – like we still do and Jesus saw who he really was. How do our assumptions blind us to the saints living around us?
On All Saints/All Souls – how do we honour those we grieve?
What I want to happen:
People to face their own assumptions about people, and how that colours how they live in honour to those they grieve.
One things really like about Anglicanism, is that we have kept out Saints
seems to me many Protestant churches forgotten the saints
many Anglicans have as well
officially we have kept them
inspire us with their lives
inspire us with their faith
inspire us with their humility
selfless serving those lived among.
remind us that we are part of something much bigger
than us gathered here this morning
bigger than this parish
even Anglican church world wide
their story is part of our story
our story is continuation of their story
honouring the saints helps give perspective to what we are experiencing.
Throughout the year we are invited remember whole bunch people we call saints
some have that official title
Pope continues to recognise people with that title – latest being Mother, now Saint Theresa of Calcutta.
we also remember number people who we call saint
Saints part of British heritage like Florence Nightingale
Saints who are part of our story here in Aotearoa
Wiremu Tamihana Tarapipi
Tarore of Waharoa
Saints associated with our Diocese and with here
Henare Wiremu Taratoa
Heni Te Kiri Karamu
Tuesday 1st November is All Saints
so today – closest Sunday – we remember all Saints
those in our calendar
those not calendar
those known only to God
Wednesday is All Souls
day remember all those died in faith
day invited remember those we love who have died
especially, but not solely those died in last year
Reading heard is story of Zacchaeus
well known story
rich tax collector – or publican
Jesus coming through Jericho on his way up to Jerusalem
end of story is getting really close
too short to see
so risks huge humiliation
climbs tree with some boys
not what person honour or social standing should do
just see this Jesus
Jesus shocks everyone
says to him
“"Zacchaeus, hurry down. Today is my day to be a guest in your home."
This is exactly the kind of thing that gets Jesus into trouble
that puts him offside with leadership
will lead very shortly in this story to his death on cross
Don’t eat with sinners
Don’t eat with Roman collaborators
This man is clearly both –
Message says – “Everyone who saw the incident was indignant and grumped, "What business does he have getting cozy with this crook?"
But is he really a crook?
3. Future tense?
All depends on how we interpret the next part of the story
NRSV translates next part as
“Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, "Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.”"
Zacchaeus is crook
for his crazy act of claiming the tree
Jesus offers God’s forgiveness
He responds to this unsolicited offer of grace and forgiveness by this astounding offer give away half his wealth to the poor
refund 4x anyone he or those work for him have defrauded
contrast that to ruler/rich man who just before this story
came to Jesus and asked what he needed to do to inherit internal life
told give away his wealth to the poor and follow Jesus
Zacchaeus seems much less attached to his wealth
on his way to becoming an camel unloading his goods to enter through the eye of a needle.
Great piece of theology in this reading
God forgives us already
It is up to us how to respond.
Zacchaeus offers us model how we might respond.
4. Present tense
Message however offers this translation
“Zacchaeus just stood there, a little stunned. He stammered apologetically, "Master, I give away half my income to the poor—and if I'm caught cheating, I pay four times the damages."”
did you hear the difference
NRSV is in future tense – I will (implied –in response to your grace and generosity)
this is – I am already giving ….
more in line with Greek – which is in present tense?
and KJV and RSV – present tense
stop and think about that for a moment
Zacchaeus is not responding to Jesus’ invitation to host him in his house
he is protesting his lack of corruption
yes he is a publican/tax collector – so yes he is a Roman collaborator
yes he is wealthy
but not corrupt
more than that - he fulfils the requirements of the law
he is not a sinner
he gives half of his income away to the poor
refunds those defrauded 4x
those he defrauds
Message carries on - 9 Jesus said, "Today is salvation day in this home! Here he is: Zacchaeus, son of Abraham! 10 For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost."
in this reading
Jesus is not forgiving sins
not offering grace
simply seeing what everyone else fails to see
devout man of faith
who happens to be a roman collaborator
while everyone else
including most of us
just see a sinner
of course he is a sinner
he has to be
he is the chief tax collector/publican
he is rich
he must have defrauded people
how else could he be wealthy?
Jesus saw him for who he truly is
son of Abraham
sees us for who we truly are
even when others can’t see it
even when we can’t see it ourselves
5. Zacchaeus the publican
2 different ways of understanding the same story
both equally valid
both offer great theology
some translators have gone with one reading
some with other
leave it to you to choose.
tradition tells us that that is not end of story of Zacchaeus
some traditions say that Zacchaeus is Matthias of books Acts
who became the 12th Apostle to replace Judas
some say that Zacchaeus the publican
became the first bishop of Caesarea
today we remember little known saint
Zacchaeus the publican.
today we remember all saints of God,
nameless ones who have lived their faith
today also we remember saints of God we have known and loved
who helped shape who we are today
whose passing we remember and mark
today is a day to give thanks and remember
honouring those gone before us
recognise the influence they have had on our lives
acknowledge their part that played in shaping who we are
Invite us take some time in silence to remember
Greatest way honour them is how we live our lives
how we pass on that legacy to others
invite you to light candle