Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Get Shorty! (Bible Study Recap, 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C)



That guy Zaccheus is a lovable scamp, isn't he? Not only does his name challenge our auto-correct, but he's one of those guys you love to tease but would be happy to have a beer with. I love him.

'Course I'm "size challenged," too.

You ever pick the most remote pew in a church and then — usually right after the Sanctus — some HUGE guy plants himself in front of you? Happens to me all the time. Blessedly, I've got the solution…I either stand on the pew (don't tell the Director of the Chapel) or kneel down on the floor…how come?

Because I want to see!!!

So this guy does essentially the same thing, or even more daring…he hops up a sycamore tree!

We had a lot of fun with this Gospel and this guy, sobered up appropriately through the First Reading, floated through the Response, and went right back to good old Zaccheus.

(Did you know that tradition has it that the little guy became a bishop of Caesarea? I didn't!)

For a good time…

Put yourself in that area of Jericho, maybe standing along the curb with your kids or spouse or buddies, waiting for Jesus to come by. (Remember, at this time He had earned quite a bit of fame…and also? He was, as He is now — an Attractive Man.  Okay, so now you see this crumb of a guy (pretend you're living in Jericho and have had encounters of this Servant Of The Roman Government That's Trying To Rip You Off!) scurrying over to the parade route. You're not going to let him squeeze in! Okay, so he gets the message, and like an adept monkey, beats you all by scampering up a sycamore tree to claim the best seat in the house!

You: "See that, Harry?"
Harry: "Yeah…what a jerk."
Your Spouse: "Now just stop that! He's coming!"
Kid: "I'm hungry!
You: "Shh…hon, where is He?"
Spouse: "Well, if you'd open your eyes, for Pete's sake…"
Harry: "Oh, yeah, there He is! Where's my camera?"
You: (laughing) "Check your pockets…the little runt probably stole it before climbing the tree!"
Harry: "Very funny…wouldn't put it past him though."
Spouse: "Put the child on your shoulders so he can see!!!"

Jesus, smiling, nods at you all…and then looks up, grinning even more:


Okay, now you take it from there. :-)

Anyway? These are really, really, rich Readings. Enjoy them…we did…and we prayed for you. Please remember us in your prayers.

Your humble scribe,

Kelly (and for your continuing (or beginning, for that matter!) meditation on this Sunday's Readings…

“There certainly is much truth in a certain saying of a philosopher, “Every rich man is either wicked or the heir of wickedness.” That is why the Lord and Savior says that it is difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Someone may raise the objection, “How did wealthy Zacchaeus enter the kingdom of heaven?” He gave away his wealth and immediately replaced it with the riches of the heavenly kingdom. The Lord and Savior did not say that the rich would not enter the kingdom of heaven but that they will enter with difficulty.”

~ Saint Jerome, Homily on Psalm 83 [84]; in A. Just, Jr., Luke, 290
“Say what you like, but for our part, let us climb the sycamore tree and see Jesus. The reason you cannot see Jesus is that you are ashamed to climb the sycamore tree. Let Zacchaeus grasp the sycamore tree, and let the humble person climb the cross. That is little enough, merely to climb it. We must not be ashamed of the cross of Christ, but we must fix it on our forehead, where the seat of shame is. Above where all our blushes show is the place we must firmly fix that for which we should never blush.”

~ Saint Augustine, Sermon 174.3; trans. in A. Just, Jr., Luke, 290-91)


 Image courtesy of Diane Leagh Matthews, "Rebel to Redeemed"

Points to Ponder, by Doctor Scott Hahn
Lover of Souls

Our Lord is a lover of souls, the Liturgy shows us today. As we sing in today’s Psalm, He is slow to anger and compassionate towards all that He has made.

In His mercy, our First Reading tells us, He overlooks our sins and ignorance, giving us space that we might repent and not perish in our sinfulness (see Wisdom 12:10; 2 Peter 3:9).

In Jesus, He has become the Savior of His children, coming himself to save the lost (see Isaiah 63:8-9; Ezekiel 34:16).

In the figure of Zacchaeus in today’s Gospel, we have a portrait of a lost soul. He is a tax collector, by profession a “sinner” excluded from Israel’s religious life. Not only that, he is a “chief tax collector.” Worse still, he is a rich man who has apparently gained his living by fraud.

But Zacchaeus’ faith brings salvation to his house. He expresses his faith in his fervent desire to “see” Jesus, even humbling himself to climb a tree just to watch Him pass by. While those of loftier religious stature react to Jesus with grumbling, Zacchaeus receives Him with joy.

Zacchaeus is not like the other rich men Jesus meets or tells stories about (see Luke 12:16-21; 16:19-31; 18:18-25). He repents, vowing to pay restitution to those he has cheated and to give half of his money to the poor.

By his humility he is exalted, made worthy to welcome the Lord into his house. By his faith, he is justified, made a descendant of Abraham (see Romans 4:16-17).

As He did last week, Jesus is again using a tax collector to show us the faith and humility we need to obtain salvation.

We are also called to seek Jesus daily with repentant hearts. And we should make our own Paul’s prayer in today’s Epistle: that God might make us worthy of His calling, that by our lives we might give glory to the name of Jesus.