October 30, 2016 — Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
In the Gospel Reading from St. Luke we hear the story of the tax collector Zacchaeus and his desire to see and perhaps meet Jesus. The image of Zacchaeus up in that sycamore tree is one that many of us may recall from our childhood, and hearing it — because it is a vivid impression, and one that even as we get older may — may trigger a memory.
The name Zacchaeus means “pure one,” but he certainly was not pure. We learn from his own confession how he has overcharged and cheated people in his tax collection duties. However, for all his faults and shortcomings Zacchaeus seeks purity, and he understands that Jesus is a way to achieve that. It is interesting to note that Zacchaeus climbs a tree to see Jesus better. That sounds like something a child might do, and that fulfills in a small way an instruction Jesus gives to each of us, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus follows that remark my immediately reminding us that we must become humble like children.
That is a cue for us to recall importance of humility when it comes to being a good steward, but thanks to the lesson of Zacchaeus we learn even more about how to seek stewardship. Like the tax collector we need to make an effort to seek Jesus; like him we must be humble; we must welcome Jesus into our homes and into our hearts; and finally we need to receive him joyfully.