31st SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME
This week we celebrated the feast of All Saints on November 1st and then All Souls on November 2nd. Last Friday we prayed with all the Saints of God who are in heaven and on earth, I’m sure we all know someone in our localities who we might say are saints and there are so many great examples of people who were declared saints on our own time. Then on Saturday we prayed for all the holy souls, that is for all those who have passed to their eternal reward we pray that they are in the kingdom of God. Also during the Month of November we offer our prayers and masses for the holy souls remembering our family members our friends and all those we have known in this life who have passed on may all of them rest in the peace of god’s kingdom.
Our gospel reading for this Sunday is the story of Zacchaeus the Tax Collector who was a small man who was anxious to see the person that all the fuss was about. The image of this Sunday’s gospel is a short man looking for something more. He climbed into the branches of a sycamore tree to get a peek at Jesus as he passed by. Zacchaeus put his dignity and prestige on the line when he scrambled up the tree like a kid. Jesus saw him in his need and willingness to repent. Zacchaeus’ house became a place of God’s presence to sinners. The story of Zacchaeus encourages us to seek and find Jesus present in our own lives in our daily living. We need to let go of ordinary behavior and become removed from the ground of our lives and ascend to a different level to find the Lord passing by.
Just as Zacchaeus finds Jesus passing by in the crowd, we also find Him in the crowd. We each have a role to play in God’s continuing work of creation. Our task is to bring care and love to all creation we encounter. Our relationship with God depends on how we relate to all others. Do we impose taxes and burdens on the poor, the weak? If we abuse, ignore, burden, conquer and subjugate them to our wills and our self-centered desires we end up being the thorns and weeds that are removed from the harvest and cast into the fire as thrash. We come to worship to get a better glimpse of Jesus. It is the “tree” we climb. Our hope is that Jesus will stop and give us a clearer glimpse of where he is in the midst of the issues and struggles we face day and daily. We’ll stay in this “tree” where we meet the Lord today – but just for a while. Then we will climb down to return to our daily lives. In the days ahead may we be like Zacchaeus not afraid to go out into the world looking for Jesus and recognise him in those around us.