A special thank you this week to our friends from St. Celestine Parish, Elmwoord Park in the congregation.
The Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost. Zacchaeus climbing a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, to get a better view. You might say that he was at one time lost but is now found. This reminds me of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States, in which I stood along a crowded street with my brother in New York on Fifth Avenue. We stood far from the curbside with the crowd just trying to see a glimpse of the pope’s motorcade go by. Many of us were on our tippy toes to try to get a glimpse. I felt strange though when I was there because all a sudden from the crowd, a stranger called out and said, “You know, this is like Zacchaeus.”
The Lord is calling us though to get new insight in envisioning Christ. In today’s gospel, Jesus encounters the wealthy and the unpopular tax collector Zacchaeus. He felt an urging to find out more about Jesus, but because he was short in stature and standing on his tippy toes wouldn’t even help, he climbed a tree so he could see Jesus. Maybe there was an internal call that was not really visible, a call in the inside of his heart, a call to conversion. As the Lord Jesus called Zacchaeus by name, “Come down quickly. For today, I must stay in your house,” and so he came down quickly and joyfully received the Lord into his home. “Behold,” he said, “Half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor and if I’ve extorted anything from anyone, I shall pay it back four times over.” Jesus responded to this and said, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”
This reminds me of the parable, the Prodigal Son, when the son returns home after squandering all his father’s money and property. Losing his inheritance, he finally returns home only to find his father seeking after him, moving toward him, offering him forgiveness. During the Jubilee year of mercy and as we approach All Saints Day, let us recognize that that call that the Lord gives to us by name to move closer is a call to conversion. The Saints responded to it and we, too, must joyfully recognize, joyfully welcome the Lord in our midst in the Eucharist. May our conversion and communion renew and strengthen us each day to get a new view, a new perspective, seeking Christ’s forgiveness for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.