Homily For The 31st Sunday Of Ordinary Time, Year C

The Merciful Christ is Passing our Way

Readings: 1st: Wis 11:22-12:2; Ps: 144:1-2. 11-14; 2nd: 2 Thes 1, 11-2:2; Gos: Lk 19:1-10

This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He was the chancellor of the Diocese of Fajardo Humacao, Puerto Rico. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at: 

canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com


On this 31st Sunday of ordinary time, year C, the Church reminds us that though we might seem insignificant, it does not diminish the love, mercy, and salvation of God for us. God loves all that exists. So, in his mercy, He comes to dwell with us. All it takes is one divine encounter with Him for a transformation to take place.

In today’s first reading, the book of Wisdom reminds us of the mercy of God, which extends to all his creatures irrespective of their status. Hence, despite the weakness of humankind, God continues to be merciful: “Yet, you are merciful to all because you can do all things and overlook men’s sins so that they can repent.” In order words, our merciful God allows us to retrace our steps.

This is the nature of God’s mercy! As a father who would not despise his child, God will not despise his people because he values every one of us. Even when we offend him, Wisdom says, “Little by little, you correct those who offend, and you admonish and remind them how they have sinned.”

In the second reading, Paul prays for us to persevere in good deeds and faith in Christ. He equally encourages us to continue without being carried away by false rumors of the Lord’s imminent coming. In order words, in as much as the Lord will come in fulfillment of his promise to us, we must go ahead living our lives. We must not just sit down doing nothing. Instead, we have to get ourselves busy with good deeds.

Today’s gospel reminded me of the song that says, “Jesus is coming this way today.” Every day Jesus keeps coming our way full of mercy and love. He comes our way through our neighbors, through the sacraments, and the whole of creation. Do we see or recognize Him? How much effort do we make to have a glimpse of him?


The story of Zacchaeus is a good indication that the merciful Christ comes to seek and save us. Irrespective of all human obstacles, the courage, and humility of Zacchaeus attracted the attention and mercy of Christ to him. He refused to be limited by the crowd or allowed his shortcoming to hinder his salvation. He saw mercy and redemption and immediately took advantage of them.

In life, there are so many obstacles preventing us from seeing Christ. If we make frantic efforts as Zacchaeus did, Christ will undoubtedly notice us and show us his loving mercy. Therefore, we must rise above all obstacles that prevent us from seeing Christ and receiving his mercy. Paul advised Timothy thus, “Do not allow anyone to look down on you because you are young” (I Tim 4:12). Likewise, we must not allow any obstacle to prevent us from seeing Christ.

Finally, humility helps us to accept who we are. However, it does not prevent us from trying to overcome our shortcomings. Instead, it should spur us to search for good paths to success in life. Zacchaeus’ humility and effort to see and encounter Christ are worth emulating.

He acknowledged the fact that he was short and could not contend with the crowd for space. He did not quarrel with anyone. Instead, he explored another option. My dear, there are so many other options in life better than that one that has made your life miserable.

Peace be with you all!



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