“Today I Must Stay in Your House”
31st Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 30, 2022
“Come down Zacchaeus, for today I must stay in your house.”
Jesus wants to stay with me today. Can I hear him asking? Will I recognize his request to come in? How does he do this?
Zacchaeus was a tax collector. In last week’s gospel, another tax collector considered himself to be such a bad sinner that he beat his breast and could not even look up while praying in the temple. Tax collectors worked for the occupying enemy, the Romans, and got their income by extorting money from their fellow Jews while collecting taxes. When this man would come calling, people knew that he was planning to extort extra money from them to add to his own wealth. Most of us sure wouldn't ask this man to dinner, but Jesus did.
Notice that Jesus invites himself over before Zacchaeus has repented. This causes the whole town to murmur, and rightly so. Jesus knows that he is going to cause an uproar by this choice, yet he does it anyway. Zacchaeus climbs a tree for a better view, which must have made him look ridiculous. In this way, Jesus knew that Zacchaeus was interested; he made a greater effort than those around him, and Jesus zeroes in on him.
Since the Lord also wishes to enter and stay with each one of us, we will want to prepare our house and put things in order. He is not afraid to come right into the house of a sinner to clean it up! He is not afraid to take a whip and chase the evil out if needed (as we see in the cleansing of the temple story), because he loves his house.
The Lord wants to come and stay in my house today. How might he do this? One way will be THE EUCHARIST, where the Lord will literally come to dwell in the temple of my soul. Of course, he will want to start cleaning house right away. He will clean the room with all the junk in it, and throw out any unsavoury “guests” we may be entertaining, like sins and disorders, or questionable media content and focus on the way we treat others.
Jesus also comes to stay in my house today by means of HIS WORD. Do I meditate on the Word of God daily? Try to keep one passage in mind every day from the Mass readings and he will be there.
Jesus will come and stay in my house through PRAYER. Whether I feel him or not, Jesus is always here when I pray or attend Mass. Jesus will come in surprising ways too. We invite him in when we are kind to someone, or are mindful of the poor. Have I tithed here or given to others in need? Then, although I probably didn't notice, the Lord has come in; he has entered my house. Jesus wants to stay with me today. Did I hear him asking? Did I recognize his request to come in?