Homily – November 3, 2019

Today’s gospel gives us another example of Jesus reaching out to a person who was seen to be on the borders of respectable society. Tax collectors were at the bottom of the totem pole of occupations. Jesus calls Zacchaeus down from tree telling him, ’I must stay at your house today.’ Zacchaeus opens his home to Jesus and as happened many times in the gospel people complain,’ he eats and drinks with sinners.’

Welcoming Jesus into his home and enjoying Jesus’ company sharing a meal with him turned Zacchaeus’ life around. He was graced to see the ways he’d wronged and hurt people. He faced the fact that he cheated and exploited people

Salvation came into Zacchaeus’ house and it turned his life around. He promised to right the wrongs, try to heal the hurts he brought on others. He’d give half his possessions to the poor and pay back fourfold whatever he defrauded others. He could end up broke himself. We’re told Zacchaeus was short in stature but by God’s grace he grew tall.

Looking into our own relationships is there anyone in our family or among our friends to whom we should make amends, set things right?

Is there anyone with whom we’d wish to make amends and say those words that stick in our throats; I’m sorry, I was wrong, I was thoughtless?

Could it be an estranged spouse or an estranged son or daughter we’re convinced wronged us and we’ve judged harshly? Could it be a neighbour we’ve harmed by our gossip and defrauded them of their reputation?

Are we willing to make amends to people we’ll never know but people, because of our wasteful lifestyles or worse still because of our indifference, live without adequate food or water? Would we ever think of making amends to our Mother Earth by acknowledging that because of our wonton consumerism we’ve exploited Earth’s limited resources, poisoned it’s seas and rivers and the very air we breathe?

In his visit to the home of Zacchaeus Christ wanted to bring out the best in Zacchaeus. In our hearing of this gospel can Christ bring out the best that is within us?