31ST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
This weekend our gospel story tells us about Zachaeus the Tax Collector. The tax collectors in Jesus time were despised because they were seen as enforcing the tax system of a foreign country. It seems that Zacchaeus was a small man who was anxious to see the person that all the fuss was about; personally I think he was looking for something more in the spiritual sense as he climbed up into the branches of the sycamore tree to get a look at Jesus as he passed by. Zacchaeus put his dignity and the prestige of his position on the line when he scrambled up the tree Jesus saw him and he saw his willingness to accept the message of salvation. The story of Zacchaeus encourages us to seek and find Jesus in our daily lives. Sometimes we need to let go and climb up the sycamore tree of faith to a different level to see the Lord as he passes by .
All of us have a role to play in the ongoing work of building up the kingdom of God in our own place. Our task is to bring love and care to all the people we encounter whoever they may be. If we ignore people and bring them down to our own sometimes self-centered level we end up being the thorns and weeds that are removed from the harvest and cast into the fire as rubbish. We come to worship in our churches each week to get a better glimpse of Jesus as our Faith is the “tree” we climb. Our hope is that Jesus will give us a clearer view 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 each Sunday but just for a short while, then we will climb down to return to our daily lives. The final verse in today’s Gospel can help us interpret many other stories about Jesus. His key mission was “to seek out and save what was lost.” Jesus wants to come to the lost and confused parts of our lives. The parts we cover up and want to forget and there are so many dark places in people’s lives these days for so many reasons.
Jesus wants to make a home with us in the very places we have closed up and locked away. He knocks on the door of our hearts and invites us to let him in to change what we have given up on and so many people have given up on Faith and all it entails in recent times. He knocks on the door to bring out into the light the broken and discarded parts of our lives that need healing and Love. In the days ahead may we be like Zacchaeus not afraid to go out into the world climbing the tree to look for Jesus and not be afraid to bring his message to the people of our time.