THEME: LOST AND REGAINED INTEGRITY.
BY: Fr. Karabari Paul.
HOMILY FOR SATURDAY OCTOBER 29 2022.
‘He sought to see who Jesus was.’
To have integrity means we do the right thing, even if nobody sees us or knows about it. It is about who we are when no one is watching. And, as Christians, it is about living wholly for God. The Bible says, ‘The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity’ (Proverbs 11:3). Sometimes we make mistakes, and we don’t demonstrate integrity.
The Gospel of today (Luke 19:1-9) is about Zacchaeus. He is a great example of someone who lost and then regained his integrity. He became rich by taking more taxes from people than his Roman masters demanded, and keeping the extra for himself. But after he met Jesus, he said, ‘If I have cheated people…I will give them back four times as much!’. Jesus said, ‘Salvation has come to this home today’ (Luke 19:9).
Rebuilding our integrity means acknowledging that we have done something wrong, such as having ungodly thoughts or hurting someone. Then we need to repent of the mistakes we made. This goes further than just owning up to what we have done. It means we also make changes to our lifestyles to help us avoid making that mistake again. Zacchaeus made amends by repaying the people he had stolen from, and choosing to live differently from then on. Sometimes we can think that if the things we are doing aren’t affecting anyone else, then it doesn’t really matter. But God always sees what we are doing. Job said: ‘Does he not see my ways and count my every step?’ (Job 31:4 ). When He sees us, does He see someone with integrity? If not, let us acknowledge what we are doing wrong and make some changes to our lifestyles.
The story of Zacchaeus teaches us that being rich doesn’t protect us from being damaged. How some us wealthy people got damaged is in the story of how we got rich. When we violate our conscience, it is hard to live in our own skin. When we trade our core values for money, our success can be hollow and our guilt heavy. Zacchaeus struggled with this: ‘Lord…if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount’
If that is how you feel today, Jesus is saying to you the three things He said to Zacchaeus: ‘Make haste.’ Don’t put your salvation off a day longer. At any given moment you are as close to eternity as a faulty heartbeat or a malignant cell. Don’t gamble with your soul; get right with God while you can. ‘Come down.’ Humble yourself. Kneel at the feet of the One who loves you and gave His life to redeem you. It doesn’t matter how badly you have failed: ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ (1 John 1:9).
‘Today I must abide at thy house’ (Luke 19:5). The word ‘abide’ means ‘to take up residence’. Refuse to live another day without the assurance that Christ lives in your heart, directs your steps, and watches over all that concerns you. GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE. May God have mercy on us, heal our world and land, bless and protect us all through Christ Our Lord Amen. Good morning.