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สถิติเยี่ยมชม (เริ่ม 22-02-2012)

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2019-11-19 05:00

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31st Sunday of the Year
Wisdom 11:22–12:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:11–2:2; Luke 19:1–10


The hole
Jesus often knocks at the door of our lives, but it’s up to us
to open the door to him.
One of the pioneers
of prison reform in the United States
was a converted criminal named Starr Daily.
The story behind Daily’s conversion
is as strange as it is beautiful.
When Daily was sentenced to prison
for the third time in his life,
the judge said to him:
“More punishment is not what you need,
but I don’t know what else to do in your case.
Our helplessness is your hopelessness.’’
During Daily’s third stay in prison,
his behavior got so bad that he ended up
in solitary confinement in “the hole.’’
Usually a prisoner lasts two weeks there.
After that a doctor comes, checks him,
and orders him removed to a regular prison cell.
But the usual two weeks
came and went for Daily.
Then one day something remarkable happened.
As Daily lay on the ice-cold floor of “the hole,’’
a strange thought crossed his mind.
He had always been a dynamo
of power and energy.
Suddenly he began to wonder
what would have happened to him
had he used his power and energy for good
rather than for evil.
The thought completely boggled his mind.
For a long time
he just lay there thinking about it.
What happened next is hard to describe.
Daily began to dream disconnected dreams
of Jesus Christ,
the man he’d tried to block out of his life
for so long.
Jesus seemed to pause at his side
and look into his eyes,
as if he were trying to enter his soul.
In all his life, Daily had never felt such love.
Then all the people Daily had hurt in his life
seemed to parade through his mind.
And as they did,
Daily poured out love on them,
which seemed to heal their hurts.
That experience changed Daily completely.
Before the experience,
he was a hardened criminal, filled with hate.
After it, he was a new man, filled with love.
Eventually Daily was released from prison
and began a career of speaking and writing
to promote prison reform.
Commenting on Daily’s remarkable conversion,
Peter Marshall,
the famous chaplain of Congress, said:
“Starr Daily
is the best living proof I’ve ever seen
that ‘a new creature in Jesus Christ’
is not just the old man patched up,
but an altogether new man.’’
Catherine Marshall, A Man Called Peter
The story of Starr Daily
bears a striking resemblance
to the story of Zacchaeus in today’s gospel.
Both men were living bad lives.
Both men encountered Jesus.
Both men were remarkably transformed
by that encounter.
And both men made reparation for their past.
Daily poured out love, in a prayerful way,
on those he had hurt.
He also devoted the rest of his life
to prison reform.
Zacchaeus gave half his belongings to the poor.
And to those he had cheated,
he gave back four times what he had taken.
This was double the amount
required by Jewish law. (Exodus 22:3)
How do the stories of Daily and Zacchaeus
apply to our own lives?
Both stories
remind us of something we tend to forget.
Jesus wants to enter our lives
and change us for the better,
just as he changed Daily and Zacchaeus.
But Jesus won’t force himself upon us,
just as he didn’t force himself
upon Daily and Zacchaeus.
He leaves us free.
Jesus behaves toward us the same way
he behaved toward the woman in the Gospel
who had the hemorrhage. (Mark 5:25–34)
Recall her story.
One day Jesus was passing by,
and the woman said to herself,
“If I just touch his clothes,
I will get well.” Mark 5:28
She reached out and touched Jesus’ cloak
and was healed.
Jesus often walks into our lives.
When he does,
we need only do what the woman did.
We need only reach out and touch his garments.
If we do, he will heal us, just as he did her,
just as he did Starr Daily, and
just as he did Zacchaeus.
This brings us to our final point.
When can we be sure
that Jesus is really walking by in our lives?
There are several times when Jesus walks by
in our lives, in a special way.
Consider just three.
First, Jesus becomes present in our lives,
in a special way, each time
the Scriptures are read and explained at Mass.
“Jesus said to his disciples,
‘Whoever listens to you listens to me. . . .’ ”
And so the first time
Jesus becomes present in our lives,
in a special way,
is in the Liturgy of the Word at Mass.
Second, Jesus becomes present in our lives,
in a special way,
in the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
lives in me, and I live in him.” John 6:56
And so besides being present, in a special way,
when the words of Scripture are broken
and explained to us in the Liturgy of the Word,
Jesus is also present, in a special way,
when his body is broken
and given to us in the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
Finally, Jesus is present, in a special way,
whenever we encounter needy people.
Jesus said that whoever helps one of these
helps him. (Matthew 25:40)
And so there are three times, in particular,
when we can be sure
that Jesus becomes present in our lives
in a special way.
They are
when the word of the Lord is broken
and read to us,
when the body of the Lord is broken
and given to us,
and when a member
of the family of the Lord is broken
and comes to us for help.
When Jesus becomes present to us
in one of these three ways,
we need only do what Starr Daily did,
what Zacchaeus did, and what the woman did.
We need only reach out, touch Jesus,
and invite him into our lives, just as they did.
And if we do, he will enter our lives
and heal us, just as he did them.
Let’s close with these beautiful words
from the Book of Revelation.
Jesus says to us there:
“Listen! I stand at the door and knock;
if anyone hears my voice and opens the door,
I will come into his house and eat with him,
and he will eat with me.” Revelation 3:20

31st Sunday of the Year
Wisdom 11:22–12:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:11–2:2; Luke 19:1–10
Where we meet Jesus
We meet Jesus, especially, in the Liturgy of the Word, in
the Liturgy of the Eucharist, and in our needy brothers
and sisters.
Harold Hughes was the governor of Iowa
and a United States senator.
But his life was not always so successful.
In his autobiography,
Hughes says that in his younger years
he was “a drunk, a liar, and a cheat.’’
At one point in his life,
he had wrecked everything
and was convinced that all was lost.
And so one night he got into the bathtub
and prepared to kill himself.
He positioned a shotgun on his stomach
and put the muzzle in his mouth.
As Hughes was about to pull the trigger,
he suddenly recalled that the Bible said
it was wrong to take one’s life.
And so he decided to explain to God
why he was doing such a terrible thing.
He climbed back out of the bathtub,
knelt down on the cold tile floor,
and rested his head on the rim of the tub.
There, he talked to God, sobbing as he did.
Then something happened
that he had never experienced in his life.
He says in his autobiography:
“A warm peace seemed to settle within me. . . .
My sins seemed to evaporate. . . .
God was reaching down and touching me. . . .
Like a stricken child lost in a storm,
I had suddenly
stumbled into the warm arms of my Father. . . .
Kneeling on that bathroom floor,
I gave myself [to God] totally, [saying],
‘Whatever You ask me to do, Father . . .
I will do it.’ ’’
That remarkable experience
was the beginning of a complete conversion
for Harold Hughes.
Ten years later,
he was elected the governor of Iowa.
Seventeen years later,
he was elected to the United States Senate.
Finally, in 1975,
he retired from politics to work full-time
in alcohol- and drug-related programs.
The story of Harold Hughes
bears a striking resemblance
to the story of Zacchaeus in today’s gospel.
It is the story of someone
who went from a life of sin
to a life of service.
It is the story of someone
who opened his heart to God
and had that heart filled with a joy
that he never dreamed to be possible.
The stories of Harold Hughes and Zacchaeus
illustrate something that we tend to forget.
They illustrate in a dramatic way
that Jesus wants to enter our lives
and change them for the better—
just as he did
the lives of Hughes and Zacchaeus.
But Jesus doesn’t force himself upon us.
He leaves us free.
Another gospel story illustrates this point
even better.
It is the story of the woman
who had a hemorrhage.
One day Jesus walked into her life,
the same way that he walked into the lives
of Hughes and Zacchaeus.
It happened this way:
Jesus was passing by on the road.
Seeing him, the woman said to herself,
“If I just touch his clothes,
I will get well.” Mark 5:28
Then she reached out,
touched the cloak of Jesus,
and was healed.
Jesus did not force himself upon the sick woman.
He simply walked into her life
and invited her to respond.
And this brings us
to our own personal lives.
Jesus often walks into our lives,
as he did into the lives
of Hughes, Zacchaeus, and the woman.
When he does, we need only reach out to him,
and he will do for us what he did for them.
This raises a question:
When can we be sure
that Jesus walks into our lives?
There are three times, especially.
The first is when the Scriptures are read
at Mass.
Jesus assured his disciples,
“Whoever listens to you listens to me.’’ Luke 10:16
And so Jesus is walking into our lives
right now, in a special way,
as we listen to his words in Scripture.
A second time Jesus walks into our lives
is in the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
Again, Jesus said,
“Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood
live in me, and I live in them.” John 6:56
And so the second time
Jesus walks into our lives, in a special way,
is in the Liturgy of the Eucharist,
which we will celebrate in just a few minutes.
Finally, Jesus walks into our lives,
in a special way,
whenever we encounter
a needy brother or sister.
Once again, Jesus said that whatever we do
for one of these, we do for him. (Matthew 25:40)
And so there are three times, especially,
when we can be sure
that Jesus walks into our lives:
in the Liturgy of the Word,
in the Liturgy of the Eucharist,
and when we encounter a needy brother or sister.
At these times Jesus walks into our lives
just as surely as he did into the lives
of Harold Hughes, Zacchaeus, and the woman.
When this happens, we need only reach out
and invite Jesus to do for us
what he did for them.
This is the message of today’s gospel.
This is what we celebrate in today’s liturgy.
This is the good news
that Jesus wants each one of us
to carry with us today
as we leave this church.

31st Sunday of the Year
Wisdom 11:22–12:2, 2 Thessalonians 1:11–2:2, Luke 19:1–10
I want to stay in your house
We encounter Jesus in the broken word,
the broken bread, and the broken person.
Jesus said,] “I must stay
in your house today.” Luke 19:5
The Catholic Digest carries a
regular feature called “The Open Door.”
It contains first-person stories
of how people
happened to become Catholic.
One of these stories, especially,
struck me. The author wrote:
I was . . . a sullen teen . . .
[who] disliked almost everything.
I was spending the weekend
with my grandparents [in Michigan],
and when you spend a weekend
with my grandparents,
you go to garage sales. . . .
[At one sale,] I found myself
looking at a picnic table covered
with books, hanging my head,
and trying to look cool even though
I was at a garage sale. . . .
[Most of the books
were romance paperbacks.
But one book on the table caught my eye.
It was called Of the Imitation of Christ.]
I had no interest in Christ
but the back of the book
said the author was a medieval monk,
and that seemed cool to me.
Anyone who hates society
enough to leave it forever
must be cool, I thought.
I thumbed through a few pages,
and the author seemed to have contempt
for everything.
Chapter one was even called
“Contempt of all the Vanities
of the World.”
That could have been the title . . .
of a [song] I would have listened to.
So I bought the book [for ten cents].
Chene Heady, Catholic Digest (June 1998)
To make a long story short,
that book changed the teenager’s life
and helped him see Jesus
in a way that
he had not thought of him before.
It took a few more years for him
to work out all his problems.
But eventually he became a Catholic.
There’s a parallel
between the young man’s story
and the story of Zacchaeus
in today’s Gospel.
Zacchaeus—like the young man—
didn’t fit in with the society of his day.
Zacchaeus was a tax collector.
They were Jews who worked for Rome.
They acquired the right to collect taxes
by bidding for the job.
Once they got it, it was up to them
to get their investment back—
and make a profit.
Because tax collectors
worked for the Roman government,
they could count on Roman cooperation.
They were often notoriously corrupt.
One day Jesus came to Jericho,
where Zacchaeus lived.
Jesus didn’t fit in too well
with the conventional society
of his day, either.
So Zacchaeus wanted to see
who this Jesus was and what he was like.
Since he was short and the crowd
was large, Zacchaeus climbed a tree
to get a good look at Jesus.
The rest of the story is history.
Jesus saw Zacchaeus, stopped,
and said to him,
“Hurry down, Zacchaeus, because
I must stay in your house today.” Luke 19:5
When the crowd heard this,
they started grumbling, saying of Jesus,
“This man has gone as a guest
to the home of a sinner!” Luke 19:7
That encounter with Jesus
changed Zacchaeus’ life forever.
That brings us to each one of us
in this church today.
How might the stories of the teenager
and of Zacchaeus apply to our lives?
Both stories illustrate that—
regardless of how good or bad we are—
there are times in our lives
when Jesus of Nazareth says to us,
“I must stay in your house today.”
In fact, there are three times, especially,
when this is likely to happen to us.
The first time is during
the Liturgy of the Word at Mass,
which we are celebrating at this very moment.
Jesus himself assured his disciples,
“Whoever listens to you listens to me.” Luke 10:16
In other words, when the Gospel is read
and explained at Mass,
Jesus speaks directly and personally
to each one of us.
We have Jesus’ word for this.
Asecond time when Jesus says to us,
“I must stay in your house today”
is during the Liturgy of the Eucharist,
which we will celebrate in a few minutes.
When the priest speaks those awesome words,
“Take this . . . and eat it.
This is my body,”
Jesus speaks directly and personally to us.
In effect, he calls us by name and says,
“I must stay in your house today.”
Finally, the third time when Jesus
says this to us is when we meet
a truly needy brother or sister.
He himself assures us of this, saying,
“[W]henever you did this for one . . .
of these . . . you did it for me!” Matthew 25:40
And so the stories
of the teenager and of Zacchaeus
have an important message for us.
Regardless of how good or bad we are,
there are times in our lives
when Jesus of Nazareth
passes by us so closely
that we can reach out and touch him.
And at these times, Jesus invites us—
as he did the teenager and Zacchaeus—
to open the door of our heart
that he may come in and be our guest.
And if we open the door of our heart
and say, “Come in, Jesus,”
our lives—like those of the teenager
and of Zacchaeus—will change forever.
And so by way of review,
there are three times when Jesus
passes by us very closely and says to us,
“I must stay in your house today.”
The first is when the word of the Lord
is read and broken open for us
during the Liturgy of the Word.
The second is when the Body of the Lord
is broken and given to us to eat
during the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
And the third is when
a member of the family of the Lord
is broken and comes to us for help.
This is the good news of today’s Gospel.
This is the good news that we celebrate
in today’s liturgy.
This is the good news
that Jesus wants us to carry with us today
as we leave this church.
Let us close with these beautiful words
from the Book of Revelation.
Jesus says to each one of us
in this church right now:
“Listen! I stand at the door and knock;
if any hear my voice
and open the door,
I will come into their house and eat with them,
and they will eat with me.” 3:20