See also All Saints Day.
Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4
Habakkuk complains to God that justice is perverted and God’s help does not come, but then, as he waits for God’s answer, God’s word comes to him offering him a vision of the downfall of the proud and the vibrant life of the righteous.
The psalmist celebrates God’s regulations, affirming their value and goodness for all time, and giving thanks for the strength they offer even in times of hardship.
2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12
Paul celebrates the faith, love and endurance of the Thessalonian Christians in the face of persecution and hardship, and prays for God’s strength to sustain and inspire them, so that they may glorify God.
In Jericho Jesus invites himself to be a guest at the house of a chief tax collector, Zacchaeus, in spite of the criticisms of people. As a result, Zacchaeus is transformed into a man of generosity and compassion.
Thought for the week
It should not surprise us that the Scriptures return often to the themes of repentance and forgiveness. One reason for this constant repetition is that these foundational ideas are harder to understand and practice than we may at first consider. For many of us, repentance has come to be viewed as a personal apology to God for things we have done wrong, and forgiveness is what God gives us in return. However the Biblical picture is far richer and more challenging than this. In the Bible, God’s forgiveness is given before we even know that we need it – that’s the miracle of Christ’s life, death and resurrection, and it is demonstrated in the Zacchaeus story which is the Gospel reading for this week.
But, when forgiveness touches our hearts, it automatically leads us into two responses. The first is that we respond in repentance – which simply means to change. We stop doing the destructive things that rob us and others of life, and we embrace a new, life-giving way of behaving, thinking and speaking. The second response is that we begin to extend God’s forgiveness to others, recognising that as we accept them in Jesus’ name, so God’s Spirit can work healing and transformation in them through us.
This week, we will meditate again on the profound gifts of forgiveness and repentance.(Summaries and thought for the week by John van de Laar)
Diana Butler Bass, October 2016: Zacchaeus seems to be a guy who thinks you have to climb up to see God, to get closer to “power.” What does Jesus do? Jesus says, “Come down.” And invites himself to dinner. This is a radical rejection of the Roman patriarchal system and replacing it with hospitality. It isn’t about going “up” to see God. It is about sitting at table.