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Nobody's Perfect!

Today salvation has come to this house
Wisdom 11:22-12:2; Psalm 145:1-2,8-11,13-14; II Thessalonians 1:11-2:2; Luke 19:1-10

Sermon Week Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C

Scripture Summary Luke 19:9

Today's Gospel Lesson begins with a man named Zacchaeus, a wealthy Tax Collector, a swindler, and extorter of sorts. His wealth is tainted: ill-gotten. At the time of today's Lesson, Jesus is passing through Jericho, the town in which Zacchaeus lives. Zacchaeus has heard about Jesus and is anxious to see what kind of man He is, but he can't get through the crowd that is following Him. Being a small man, Zacchaeus is too short to see over the crowd. So, he climbs a tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus.

As Jesus passes by, He looks up and speaks to Zacchaeus. "Zacchaeus, come down," He says. "Hurry, because I must stay at your house today." After which Zacchaeus hurries down and, joyfully welcomes Jesus into his house. "Look, Sir," he says to the Lord, "I am going to give half my property to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody, I will pay him back four times the amount." To which Jesus replies, "Today salvation has come to this house" (Luke 19:9)

Zacchaeus, a sinful man, is filled with remorse for how he has mistreated and exploited other people. He wants to make amends. He tries to make things right. He tries to change his way of living. In other words, he wants to repent. And no longer will money be his priority. No longer will his love of money get in the way of his need to love other people -- the same people whom up until now, he treats with such contempt.

A seminary professor known for challenging his students with difficult assignments would hand out slips of paper with a brief Scripture text and then give the students just five minutes to prepare a sermon. Trust, me. From personal experience, I can tell you that's a lot of pressure! And these students aren't preaching to ordinary folks. They are preaching to a room full of seminary students who are ready to tear every word apart. On one occasion, a student who is instructed to go to the pulpit is handed a piece of [...]


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