Thirty-first Sunday – Ordinary Time Cycle C
Reflecting on Luke 19:1-10
Oh, Zaccheus. We really get you. Short in stature and huge of heart, you couldn’t hear or see through the crowd. The Jesus whom you longed to know was here! Right here in Jericho! So you climbed straight up that sycamore in order to see him whom your heart already loved. Your story inspires us still, and so we have the courage to pray:
Find us, Jesus, as we rise and pray our Morning Offering, as we care for children and parents, as we strap on our sneakers and go to the gym, as we give everything we have to our jobs and our families, as we make our examen before falling asleep. Find us, Jesus, as we hear the baby cry and leave our warm beds, as we stand firm against the strong wills of our unformed teenagers, as we look at the same photo album a thousand times with our parents who suffer from Alzheimer’s.
Find us, Jesus, as we navigate the path back to peace after an argument, insight after a humbling experience, faith after a time of doubt. Find us, Jesus, as we process together to receive you in the Eucharist, then to see you at every table throughout the week.
Find us today, Jesus. See us in that sycamore. Call us by our name. Invite yourself to our house for dinner tonight. Please, Jesus. AMEN.
We are gifted with a question at the ground of our being. And even in the worst of times, we climb trees to find out what the answer might be. (John Kavanaugh, S.J.)
My dear friends Mary Frances and Bill Jaster inspired this column.
Sharing God’s Word at Home:
In what ways do you seek Jesus?
What would YOU like to say about this question, or today’s readings, or any of the columns from the past year? The sacred conversations are setting a Pentecost fire! Register here today and join the conversation.
I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).
Wow…exactly. We just want to see and be seen. Love the quote from Fr. Kavanaugh (a wonderful St. Louisan!)who spoke at my high school graduation 33 years go, when, of course, I wasn’t paying the least bit of attention to him! Youth is wasted on the young, as someone once said!
I try to see Jesus in the people around me, and, boy, sometimes it’s difficult. I’m betting that they also have a tough time finding Jesus in me!
I’ve tried thinking about my actions in a way that makes me more conscious. For example, would I get angry with another driver, if I knew that driver was Jesus? So, I try to remember that everyone is part of the body of Christ — when I am good at remembering that, I treat them with love and compassion.
I have fond memories of Mary Frances and Bill Jaster. They have been Christ to me. – – Cris
Thank you Brebis for the great idea of seeing Jesus in other drivers. I will try that out this week.
I love this story of Zaccheus, but not because of his longing for Jesus… I love how Jesus pursues Zaccheus, wanting to be part of his life and to share a meal in his home. Zaccheus, as a tax collector, was a despised member of society and yet Jesus pursued him. How reassuring to know that when we’re at our worst, in the midst of great sin and shame and suffering, Jesus will seek us out. “Find us Jesus…” What a lovely way to pray ~
Jesus stopped under the tree and said, “Zaccheus, COME DOWN QUICKLY, for today, I MUST stay at your house.” In the sermon I heard on Sunday, the word “must” was emphasized. Jesus was compelled to call Zaccheus down, with the words from Wisdom in mind: “O Lord and lover of souls.”
But I believe Zaccheus was likable, even without the description in Wisdom about God’s love: “But you spare all things because they are yours…” The short man who scrambled down when called and looked up into Jesus’ eyes can’t help but make me smile!
I remember people who enriched my life, who were just irresistably likable, even though their faults were also evident. I was graced to know a lot of different people when I was younger, and had a chance to be working or studying in groups. Now life is more compartmentalized. I meet people at predictable times and in predictable places. That doesn’t tend to encourage the kind of out of the ordinary meetings of people like Zaccheus.
The question was, “where do you seek Jesus?” It has to be in church, in scripture, and prayer time. But the column entries this week inspired me on being ready to find Jesus anywhere. And the prayer, Kathy, spoke so much of the sacredness of everyday life…of course Jesus can be found in so many places throughout a day. A prayer in the heart can be held all the time, instead of only at a “certain” time or place.
I have an update for you. The Jesus I saw driving in front of me needs remedial driver’s ed! 🙂
Good laugh, Eileen! Maybe he was confounded by all the gadgets that weren’t on the donkeys in his day . . .
I don’t always succeed in seeing Jesus in everyone around me, but when I am successful, it feels awfully good!
Because of being “between jobs,” I find myself in places that I would not have been if I were employed. When I worked for the church, it was “easy” to recognize the person who walked through the door as another Christ. This was a part of my ministry. Now, with a different consciousness, I look at some of the people who are touching my life in a way that is colored by the “freedom of no strings attached.” They are Jesus ministering to me.
There’s the ever so patient man at the Salvation Army, (from whom I’ve learned so much), who volunteers his time to equip people with computer skills. I see Jesus in his willingness to use his gifts to help people grow beyond themselves. Then there are the people who show up at the very same place where classes are held, so that they can have breakfast, lunch and a warm place to sit. They carry a lot with them; not only their belongings, but also the weight of this being “home.” In some ways they are itinerant preachers from whom I learn humility and solidarity. At the hospital where I volunteer, the sick and the wounded come in a steady stream. They wear masks to protect everyone else from their illness. In the health care workers who tend them with careful skill and hopeful words, I’ve come to know the Jesus who walked among the lepers, the people with contagious diseases. My volunteer position is to smile, greet people and give directions to where they want to go. The lame and the bleeding, the mothers with crying children, the people who tell me their most intimate situations, teach me to recognize the Jesus who took risks to share with us who He is. And then there are my friends who raise my morale when I receive another rejection after spending a lot of time on tailoring my resume and my application. They are the Christ who pray for me, send me a card, sit with me during a melt down, and remind me that God has something in store for me. If only I could recognize the plan and the Planner.
So, I continue to seek Jesus in the people who unexpectedly come my way in the midst of these circumstances. I seek Him by being open to the everyday miracle that He offers me. I seek Him in God’s Story, in the way people share their lives with me, in the circumstances of my own life, no matter how difficult. I try to pay attention and live my life with intention, knowing that while I am seeking Jesus, He is definitely seeking me.
Mike and Betsy, that work “must” throws a whole new light on things.
Sometimes we think we are in places by accident, not realizing that we are where we need to be right at this time in our lives. We are here to touch one another with the hands of Jesus.
I believe Bobbie you are where you need to be this time in your life. You are finding Jesus in others and they in you!
I pray you will find a job, and you have been so enriched by the people you’ve met and helped during this “between” time.
Just when I thought I was going to “retire” and take a part-time job, I meet a young brain injured man, who has shown me Jesus everyday! He always has a smile on his face and volunteers at food banks twice a week. Does he know that he does more for me than I do for him?
Jesus, call me down from that sycamore tree, you’re not done with me yet!
All beautiful thoughts and words. This poem by Hellen Steiner Rice always helps me get in the right state of mind.
God, open my eyes so I may see
And feel Your presence close to me…
Give me strength for my stumbling feet
As I battle the crowd on life’s busy street,
And widen the vision of my unseeing eyes
So in passing faces I’ll recognize
Not just a stranger, unloved and unknown,
But a friend with a heart that is much like my own….
Give me perception to make me aware
That scattered profusely on life’s thoroughfare
Are the best gifts of God that we daily pass by
As we look at the world with an unseeing eye.
Thanks, Donna. I collect words of encouragement the way I used to gather shells on the seashore. They are treasured in my heart and brought out on rainy days.