Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time – Sister Eileen Burns, SNDdeN

Oct 26, 2022 | Gospel Reflections

October 30, 2022

Luke 19: 1-10

When I began to think about writing about this Gospel on Zacchaeus, my thoughts were going in a very different direction.  I hope that what I am about to share is Spirit-led.

The opening line of today’s gospel caught me.  “At that time, Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town.”  I am quite moved by it.  How often has that happened to me and I imagine also to you.  We set out with a plan, an intention, and yet God leads us to a very different outcome.  Jesus was so sensitive to God’s lead.  He teaches us to pray, “Your will be done.”  When we let God’s way of loving lead us, our plans sometimes change.  The Spirit leads us in another direction.  Jesus intends to pass through the town and yet he stays overnight in Zacchaeus’ home.

There is the story of Hagar in Genesis 16 where she says, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”  Hagar has fled to the desert.  Abraham has impregnated her.  Sarah whose idea this was is now abusing her.  Hagar is alone in the wilderness when she senses a presence.  Perhaps Zacchaeus, too, was feeling alone when he senses a need to see this Jesus.  This powerful adult who has cheated so many, climbs a tree!  He keeps watch as Jesus approaches.  Maybe Zacchaeus utters similar words as Hagar.  He not only sees but he is seen!

Jesus does not move on through the town.  He lingers with Zacchaeus and his friends.  He faces criticism for this.  He explains his mission.  “I have come to seek and to save what was lost.”

Let us be Spirit-led like Jesus.  Where may God be leading you to let go of your intended plan and seek wholeness for another?  Maybe God is looking for you to seek wholeness for yourself?  May we all be able to pray, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”


Luke 19: 1-10

At that time, Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town. Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And he came down quickly and received him with joy.

When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.”
And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”
The Gospel of the Lord



Meet Sister Eileen Burns, SNDdeN

Sr. Eileen Burns is a member of the SND East West Province Leadership Team in the USA. She lives in Lawrence, Massachusetts where Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur have continuously lived and ministered since 1854. Eileen has degrees in biology and ministry with a focus in justice and peace. She has ministered in schools, parishes and agencies especially with immigrants to the USA.