November 3, 2013 – Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
Most of us have no trouble visualizing Zacchaeus, a short man who climbed the sycamore tree so he could see Jesus as the Lord passed. Zacchaeus was on the verge of something important, but he probably did not go up in the tree so Jesus would notice him; he climbed the tree because he was seeking Jesus.
Zacchaeus was wealthy; he was wealthy because he had over-collected taxes from the people. They hated him, but as Jesus reminds us all at the end of the Gospel passage, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.” Zacchaeus was not a good steward of his blessings.
Jesus was aware of that when he went to Zacchaeus’ home to be fed. Something important happened to Zacchaeus; he went through a conversion experience – an encounter with Christ, an event that changed his life. He began to share with special regard to the poor. He began to reach out to those whom he had mistreated. That’s what stewardship can do for us, too. We must undergo a transformation of mind and heart. Then we must reach out to God, to one another, and especially to those who are destitute, both spiritually and actually. As Blessed Mother Teresa once said, “Love is not patronizing, and charity isn’t about pity; it is about love.”