31st Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 3, 2019
You and I live in Jericho and Christ is passing by. Last week we heard about a lowly tax collector who prostrated himself on the ground. His only prayer was, O God, be merciful to me, a sinner. And we have another tax-collector again this Sunday (Luke 19:1-10).
Our friend Zacchaeus has a lot of strikes against him. He is not a well-liked man in town—it goes with the job. He wants to get a glimpse of Jesus but the crowd is too thick. And the worst part of all – Zacchaeus is really SHORT. But for Zacchaeus being short is actually his greatest asset – he has to do something or he’s not going to see or hear anything … so he climbs a tree, which must have looked ridiculous! He must have also attracted a lot of attention. Most importantly, he attracted Jesus’ attention.
Most people in this world tend to see life from a Jericho, or earthly perspective. We can’t help it! We’re short, after all, so to speak. What we need to do is to find a tree to climb so we can really see what is going on. If we live and see and act only in Jericho, only from an earthly perspective, we are going to miss all the action. Christ is liable to walk right through our life and we won’t recognize him or the opportunity of the present moment.
When we listen to the Church, when we listen to the scriptures, we are like Zacchaeus climbing a tree, and we receive the grace to see what the vast majority of people who live only on an earthly plane cannot possibly see – we catch a glimpse of what life is meant to be all about. Listening to the Lord allows us to gain the divine perspective in our lives. From that tree, that vantage point, we are able to see where Christ is going. We see who he is. We see where we are going. We find purpose in life. We discover that we are loved. We discover that, yes, Christ really does want to come to my house today.
What tree is God calling you to climb? He wants you to gain the divine perspective on what’s happening in our world right now. I believe we are very, very off track in this world – economically, spiritually, morally because too many people don’t bother to listen to God anymore.
This world, in general, may or may not be on the wrong track but my life does not have to be. For we all live in Jericho. I can choose to stay on the flat plane and do and see what everyone else does and sees; and nothing will change and Christ will pass by. Or I can be like Zacchaeus; I can take the risk. I can climb that tree God is calling me to climb. I may just gain the divine perspective in the process.