Once again, Pope Francis provides an image for this week’s reflection. Did you see the story and the picture of the young Colombian boy, abandoned by his parents and adopted by an Italian couple, took to the stage during a presentation by Pope Francis during a celebration of the family? Somehow, the young boy, dressed in a yellow shirt, got on to the stage as the Pope spoke. Some on the stage attempted to steer him away by bribing him with candy, others tried to get his attention and to lead him away from the Pope.
Pope Francis remained calm, continued to speak, then gently reached over and rubbed the young boy’s head. Other pictures showed the young boy kissing the Pope’s cross, and at one point, sitting alone in the Pope’s chair.
In this scene, the young boy comes to the Vicar of Christ and is welcomed. In our Gospel story Luke 19:1-10], Jesus comes to Jericho. As he passes through town, he spots Zacchaeus —- A TAX COLLECTOR —- a person more despised than the designer of the ObamaCare Webpage! Being of short stature, he has climbed a tree — but to the surprise and dismay of everyone — including Zacchaeus — Jesus spots him, tells him to come down and says, “Today, I must stay at your house.”
Yikes — the grumbling begins — “HE” has gone to the house of a sinner.
Wow — while we work so hard to get to heaven — heaven comes to us! Again, heaven has come to us … Jesus calls to me and to you — this very day, I want to be with you …. you!
Logic [the world] cannot comprehend love. Repeat: the human mind is really having a tough time these days comprehending that LOVE is real and that it is possible.
We see a bus driver stop his bus, full of passengers, and talk a woman from jumping over a ledge into traffic. [this week’s news] We marvel at it — the driver says he is not a hero — he just did what he was supposed to do. But, we do not see it often enough to truly understand —THAT IS WHAT WE ARE SUPPOSE TO DO.
The GRUMBLERS wanted to create a pristine-world of the righteous where sinners were not welcome. On the other hand, Jesus accepted that the world was messy and that lots of the people the world were a mess, too. While Divine, Jesus understood and accepted the humanity of mankind more than most humans of his time. Jesus knew that before most people got on the right road, they would wander and wonder around a lot. Jesus was quite o.k. with the “little people.”
In the world of the SAINTS there are many men and women who seemed to “get it right” from the very start — they lived whole and holy lives from early on. And, there were lots of folks — perhaps more folks — who didn’t seem to have a clue of who Jesus was/is or what was expected of them. There were those who “seemed to be so holy”— and on the inside, they were rotten to the core. There were others who looked— in the eyes of the self-righteous” who were deemed unclean, unworthy — the sinners —— who were in truth doing the best they could with what they had —they were struggling — and they knew they were struggling and God loved them ever more.
When we look back, most of us will realize that we have been right along side Zacchaeus. When we wanted to hide out of sight, Jesus called to us to come down—he hugged us– and he walked with us.
When others seemed to focus on the negative side of us — Jesus had time for us — he pointed to the good–he redeemed us and set us on our way.
When we could not see ahead because the obstacles seemed too great — Jesus called to us, lifted us up and showed us how to overcome the moment.
When we are enslaved by our fears, our anxiety, our guilt — Jesus liberates us and sets us free.
I am the little boy in the yellow shirt — you are a little boy — a little girl with a yellow t-shirt —and Jesus will not let anyone or anything get between him and you/me. This very day he will come to me. He wants to spend some time with just me. Me and Jesus.
I will praise you forever — my king and my God.