Sunday, October 30, 2016

I Must Stay: Jesus & Zacchaeus (2016-10-30)

2016 Oct . 30  /   31st Sunday (year C)
Sabiduría 11:22 – 12:2 Psalm 144   2 Tesalonicenses 1:11-2:2Lucas 19:1-10 •           

[__01__]    When I was a recent college graduate, about twenty two years old, I wanted to move out of my parents´ house but lacked the money and resources to do so.    My parents were not, I assure you, mistreating me, but I was the oldest and wanted to go.
          I called and spoke with two friends of mine. They had their own apartment.  I asked them if I could move in a for a while. They were willing. I paid some rent until I found my own place to live.
          ¨Can I stay with you?¨ was not just a hint or suggestion. I was begging and, because I did not pay that much of the rent, I was also freeloading.
          I must stay with you.
          I have to stay with you.
          Fortunately, it worked out well. We still speak to each other.

[__02__]      ¨Today I must stay.¨  (Luke 19:5) These are the words of Jesus upon his arrival at the hometown of Zacchaeus, at Jericho, at Jericho station on the Jerusalem-transit-line.
          Jesus and Zacchaeus have something in common. Both of them bear the weight of sinfulness, though for different reasons. Both of them are facing an angry crowd, though for different reasons.  And, both of them are in trouble with this crowd. Both of them would be, so to say, up a tree.
          Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

[__03__]     ¨  Today I must stay with you.¨ These are the words of Jesus  upon arriving at Jericho, at Jericho station on the Jerusalem-transit-line.
          Jesus is new in town and, as usual, as we read in the Gospel, foxes have dens, the birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head. (Luke 9:58).

 [__04__]   ¨Today I must stay with you.¨
          If a friend or family member were to come to you in need, in necessity, what would you say or I say.
          They might arrive on short notice and say, ¨Today I must stay with you.¨
          In many, many situations – of course there may be exceptions – we will say YES. Please come in. Then, we start to wonder, how long is this person going to be in my house or apartment?
          He must stay with me?
          Doesn´t he have anywhere else to go?
          And, by the way, is this just for TODAY _ How long will this continue_
          Do we rejoice, celebrate, at the arrival of such an unexpected or unanticipated guest?
          Do we rejoice at the arrival of someone whom we did not expect for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
[__05__]    ¨Today I must stay with you.¨
          This could be a challenge. We might resist.
          This is not absolutely crystal clear in the Gospel.  That is, did Zacchaeus expect that Jesus would move in all of sudden, immediately?
          All we know is that Zacchaeus had climbed a tree in order to gain a better view.
          Zacchaeus wanted to see our Savior.
          Then, Jesus takes the next step and invites himself over and into the home of Zacchaeus.
          ¨Zacchaeus come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.¨ (Luke 19:5)

[__06__]   ¨Today I must stay.¨
          ´I must stay´ means, to you and me, an invitation to simplicity and stability.
          We see Jesus welcomed, at times, in spectacular ways and in public venues. Entering Jerusalem, Jesus is welcomed with the singing of Hosanna. Born at Bethlehem, the angels sing Glory to God in the Highest.  However, these welcomes are meant to lead us to a personal and private encounter as well.
          Welcoming our Savior, we are called to live with him in simplicity and to offer him stability as we would offer it to a friend.
          We are called to make, to seek, to find, the five minutes or twenty minutes of prayer time so that we can welcome him.
          We are also called to recognize that every moment is a prayer and opportunity find him among us.
          He must stay, he is not going anywhere.

[__07__]    ´Today I must stay´ means, to you and me, an invitation to renovation, to renewal, and examination.
          Zacchaeus knows that his his house is not in order. And, this is not because his roof is leaking or he owes taxes. Zacchaeus is a wealthy individual and he is the tax collector. He is the local equivalent of the IRS. No one is coming after him from the government. He is, to use a phrase of our day, an ESTABLISHMENT candidate.
          Nevertheless, his house is out of order because his relationships are out of order.
          He will be examined and a different type of audit.
          And, this renovation or cleaning begins with a public statement, an act of repentance and contrition, on the part of Zacchaeus, ¨If I have cheated anyone, behold have of my possessions, I give to the poor, and I have extorted anything from anyone, I shall repay it four times over.¨  (Luke 19:8)

[__08__]    Zacchaeus makes this public act of repentance. After all, everyone is watching him. They know his reputation as a profit-making – and dishonest – tax collector.
          They might wonder, is this repentance here to stay?
          Is Jesus here to stay?
          For if Jesus is really here to stay, then Zacchaeus and you and I are called not only to make reparation – or fixes – for others to see and calculate. We are called not only to make restitution for the sins that diminish our reputation or position.
 [__09__]      Jesus says, ¨¨Today I must stay.¨
          Therefore, he does not want to leave us alone, but to help us to grow in holiness each day.
          He comes to us as a friend, but also as a friend who will disrupt our regular routine and our ways.
          He comes to invite us to simplicity and intimacy with him.
          He arrives so that salvation will come to your house and to our house, today.    [__fin__

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