Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time, November 4, 2007

Wisdom 11: 22 - 12:2

2 Thessalonians 1: 11 - 2:2

Luke 19: 1 - 10

What will be the quality of our relationships?

Jesus is going through Jericho and out of curiosity, Zaccheus wants to see him. It doesnt say anywhere that he wants to be converted or even has the desire to meet Jesus. Undoubtedly his curiosity makes him just want to see Jesus face to face. But the rich chief of the Publicans is short and this impedes his view! He could have asked for a place in the front row. We understand why he doesnt take this course of action when witnesses tell us that people dont go with or even speak to sinners. (He has gone to a sinners house, v. 7)

So Zaccheus climbs a tree and gets what he wants but he is surprised by Jesus initiative. Jesus looks on him, not out of curiosity, but because he wants to meet Zaccheus. Jesus words explain immediately that his gaze is not one of judgment or rejection. He calls Zaccheus by name and invites himself to his house. He draws near to the Publican and, in so doing, shows his desire to form a relationship, in truth not just by convention. In fact, Jesus exposes himself to the judgment of the entourage. According to the common values and practices of the witnesses, to be the guest of a Publican and to share a meal with him is to share in his sinful state.. All murmured : How is it possible that Jesus commits such a faux pas? If only Zaccheus had first declared his conversion, or done penance, or abandoned his profession, or at least promised to do so! Zaccheus, for his part, sees in Jesus gesture, Jesus seeking out of him, his intention to love him as a person. It is this very love and this love alone, shown in Jesus desire to meet him, that converts Zaccheus. This story shows us that it is the closeness and communion desired by God that can change ones heart and life. The God that Jesus reveals to Zaccheus is the one found in the Book of Wisdom: Indeed, you love all that exists, you reject none of your works. For you would not have created a being that you did not love.

If the Lord is capable of closing his eyes to the sins of men so that they be converted, are we capable of recognizing that we need to be warned of our sin so we can believe and turn away from it? And what should be the quality of our relationships so that, without judgment or condemnation, without compromising with evil, they may show the respect and love of others that can open up for them the possibility of a new future.

—Sr. Sophie Ramond, RA