Mass & Directions

Sunday November 3rd: Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

St. Francis Parish | October 31, 2019, 6:26 pm | Reflections

   In today’s Gospel from Luke 19:1-10 we hear the story of Zacchaeus, a wealthy tax collector who, wanting to get a better view of Jesus, climbs a sycamore tree to see over the crowd.  Upon seeing him, Jesus calls, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly for today I must stay at your house.”  The crowds were scandalized by this as tax collectors were seen as sinners and Zacchaeus’ wealth likely added to the speculation of him being a cheat.  We cannot know if the people’s thoughts of him were accurate but either way, upon being greeted by Jesus, Zacchaeus goes through an apparent conversion.  Overcome by the Lord’s acceptance of him, he exclaims, “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.”  The people in their prejudice failed to see what Jesus saw in Zacchaeus.  They were unable to see past their preconceptions of him being a sinner by virtue of his wealth and occupation.  Ultimately Zacchaeus, through his humility and generosity, was the one who was saved in this story.
   This brings to mind a question that was asked in a small group discussion of this Gospel reading.  “What are we doing today to be able to see Jesus?  Zacchaeus climbed a tree to get a better view.”  What are we doing to change our own perspective; to be able to see Jesus in those we encounter?  Are we allowing our own selfishness or prejudices to blind us to seeing Jesus in each other?  Let us take on the challenge that today’s Gospel poses to us.  As we go forth, let us not make judgments of others based on what we see on the outside.  Let us instead see each other as God sees us, His children.  Let our compassion motivate our actions.  Let our actions take on the form of love that Jesus showed Zacchaeus.  This effort on our part is an exercise of dying to ourselves and allowing Jesus to take control of our lives.
   If we cannot loosen our grip on our own control, how will we ever be able to take the outstretched hand of Jesus?
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