November 3, 2013

Sanctifying Sunday- Zany Zacchaeus

Has another week really come and gone again? 
How can it be that the weekend is really over and I am back to making school lunches for the next five days in a row? Yes, I am in a little bit of denial about the end of the weekend and start of another week, but hey so is life and I lead a darn good one, so no complaining here 
(except about how making school lunches has gotten really REALLY old over the last 2 months and I have like 18 years left of that to go!!) but like I said no complaining here (ha!). 

Anywho, we had a great feat happen last Sunday. Grace for the first time in 2 years actually wore a dress that I picked out for her at Mass. This might not seem like much, but believe me when I say that it is quite the accomplishment for our little independent, stubborn gal. Now if only I can get her to let me do her hair. 
This next pic is with my Uncle Dave and cousin Josh who came to visit last weekend. We had such a great time with them that I just had to post a picture. Ps. I just love how Matt is holding my purse/diaper bag like it is no big deal. What a man. Really I tell ya, he has this whole husband and dad thing down. 

Alrighty then enough of my procrastination, Matt has a great reflection for us all. I hope you enjoy like I did...

Do you want to see Jesus?  

Today from the Gospel of Luke we have a man who really wanted to see him.  So much so that he climbed a tree. The story may be well known to some and others not so much.  Either way, I'll recap it so that we have a context in which to see God's wonderful mercy through Jesus, the Icon of God.

Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector wanted to see Jesus badly.  He was short in stature so all of the surrounding crowd was literally crowding him out from seeing Jesus.  So, Zacchaeus get's industrious and climbs a sycamore tree.  Low and behold, Jesus spots him way up there.  I imagine that it wouldn't have been hard to miss, a grown man high in a tree looking on into the crowd.  Curiously, this catches Jesus' attention and it is said that Jesus: "Looked up and said, 'come down quickly for today I must stay at your house.'"

Marvelous. What a graphic scene.  
Something of the utmost importance needs to be said further beyond Zacchaeus' short stature and his desire to see Jesus, which leads him to climb a tree!  Zacchaeus is the worst of all sinners.  He is a chief tax collector.  In short (no pun intended), he's a traitor to the Jewish people, collaborating with the Roman's, exhorting his own people and he's the chief, the head honcho, doing the worst of all exhortions.  The Gospel wants us to know that he is a BAD guy.
Strikingly, Jesus wants to stay at his house, this really bad short guy's house!  

Here's the point. 
From a human perspective he's despised and likewise Jesus is despised for wanting to stay at his house.  The "on-lookers" begin to grumble and say: "He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner."
But, from a heavenly perspective from God's terms, he's loved and cherished.  He was made in love, kept in existence through love, and pursued in love.  This is not to dismiss his sins.  But, it does emphasize that God loves sinners and wants to stay at their house.  So much so that Jesus commands Zacchaeus to come down not slowly or non-chalantly, but exhorts him to come down QUICKLY!
You see, people judge differently than the way God judges.  The crowds were quick to dismiss Jesus and Zacchaeus for he was a GREAT sinner.  But Jesus from his heavenly perspective calls out to him and asks to stay at his house.

What a wonderful metaphor and meditation.  The little big sinner is sought out by Jesus.  And in this seeking out of Jesus, Zacchaeus is able to immediately embrace Jesus' pursuit.  Zacchaeus was pursuing Jesus, but it was really Jesus who was pursuing him.    

Here's a great conversion story.  Zacchaeus publicly announces that he will change.  He will pay back those he's stolen from- four fold to be exact and he will give half his possessions to the poor.
Fascinating that Zacchaeus knew there was more to Jesus, more than what the crowd would give to him by grumbling and condemning him.  In his Zaniness, Zacchaeus climbs a tree just to see Jesus.  
In my opinion, we make things too difficult for ourselves and others.  If we were to embrace this Gospel and climb a tree just to see Jesus, metaphorically of course, we would be confronted with the same invitation that Zacchaeus did: "Come down QUICKLY, for today I must stay at your house."   

Maybe some Zacchaeus Zaniness is in order for us all today.   

Peace, Matt

"Say cheese!"

1 comment :

  1. I wish climbing a tree was the only obstacle to seeing, really encountering Jesus. Love that analogy, and the rest of it too, thanks Boda clan!


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