To watch Fr. Joe’s homily for the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!
Years ago, there was a communion song we sung in church entitled, “Look Beyond” with the refrain: “Look beyond the bread you eat see your Savior and your Lord; look beyond the cup you drink see His love poured out as blood.”
“Look Beyond” just might be the title for today’s homily.
And “Look Beyond” is exactly what Jesus does in today’s Gospel when He looks up and there in the tree is that short guy, that tax collector that nobody liked, that guy named Zacchaeus.
And of all the people along the road that Jesus could have chosen to call out by name and then have dinner at his home, of all the people… really, Zacchaeus. That’s what many people were thinking! Because they knew the man, at least so they thought they did, they did not like the man, and besides he was a tax collector.
But Jesus look’s beyond all this and why we might ask???
Maybe part of the answer is in our first reading today from The Book of Wisdom:
- The Lord… has mercy on ALL.
- The Lord… loathes nothing he has created.
- The Lord… loves us ALL.
Jesus knew the past of Zacchaeus, just as he knows our past. What Jesus saw in Zacchaeus, was more than what people said about him; Jesus saw his willingness to change his life for the better, to be fair and honest, today and tomorrow.
Zacchaeus says, “I shall give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have extorted anyone I shall repay them 4 times over.”
And today, some 2000 years later, what is it that Jesus asks of us, as people of Faith? What is it that Jesus “Looks Beyond” in each of our lives and in doing so encourages us to be willing to make the effort to be and become better a person of faith, that person of integrity, of caring, of sharing, of life and love and so much more.
Oh, and maybe in the Spirit of Jesus we too might “Look Beyond” what we think we know about another or others, just like Jesus does. Jesus who has mercy toward ALL and Jesus who loves ALL.
Most certainly something that all people of our world need to know and experience every day: unconditional mercy and love!