Open Our House – Fr. Viet Nguyen

Fr. Viet Nguyen’s Homily November 3, 2019

“When I work with some of the kids at the school or even in school systems growing up I always saw that I often compared myself with others to see how I was doing whether it be in school or sports, always comparing myself to the other person, to peers my own age to see if I was holding up to the standards and often times I feel we do the same with our moral lives.  We compare, how are we doing with the rest of the world around us? Maybe sometimes that’s why we like to watch the news because often times the news doesn’t show the good things but always the bad. In today’s Gospel is the famous story of Zacchaeus. Now Zacchaeus was a tax collector. Not only that, he was the chief tax collector. That tax collectors in Christ’s time were Jews who worked for the Romans.  They would take the taxes for the Romans, but also they would take extra money for themselves. That’s how they would make their living. Literally they made their living off of cheating others, so really the tax collectors were despised by all the Jews. They all knew it, so here, Zacchaeus not only a tax collector, but the chief tax collector, he wants to see Christ and when Christ passed by, Christ tells him to come down, tells him he wants to stay at his house.

Now what does this mean?  When Christ comes into his house it really shows that when Christ enters the life of anyone, even the biggest sinner that we might see it transforms them.  It truly transforms them. In the Gospel, what does Zacchaeus do after seeing Christ? He changes his whole life. He says, ‘If I have cheated anyone I will repay them four times over’ and give his excess to the poor.  His life changed and that is great hope for us that even someone, a sinner like Zacchaeus if they just come to Christ and let the into their lives what a big change that could be, but the people in the story didn’t feel that same way did they?  They grumbled. They grumbled that here a sinner, Christ is coming to a sinner. Sometimes we do that in our lives, don’t we? Sometimes we do it without thinking, comparing ourselves to others. We might even think it’s a natural way that as we live our lives with others we can’t help but compare, but God’s love is more than that.  If we continue to compare ourselves with others we will never be happy. We will never truly be happy, but I would say that if we were to really know the love and mercy of God we would truly embrace what Christ has done there. Are we willing to look at our own sinfulness? Are we willing to let Christ transform our own hearts because until we do that, then we will always compare ourselves with others.  We will always maybe be bitter when someone does better than us, but have we truly felt the love and mercy of God in our own lives? I think that’s what Christ is calling us to today.

  1. To look at the hope in Zacchaeus to see that there is nothing too far away from the Lord that he cannot bring back.
  2. Are we willing to let our lives be transformed by God’s love and mercy?

Now as you come before the Lord today where Christ is truly present before you, let us continue to ask for the strength and the courage to open our house, open our hearts to the Lord like Zacchaeus did to let him into our lives so that he can transform it into the love of God.  Amen.