Homilette for Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time

(Revelation 3:1-6.14-22; Psalm 15; Luke 19:1-10)

The old Beatle George Harrison expresses the desire of Zacchaeus and of us as well when he sings, “Lord, I just want to see you.” Zacchaeus climbs a tree to get a bird’s view of Jesus passing by. We will have to strain our imaginations to see Jesus for the gospels reveal little to nothing of ho Jesus looked or gestured.

But seeing Jesus with one’s eyes holds no great advantage. Most of those who saw Jesus did not choose to follow him. Indeed, the majority of the witnesses to his miracles turned their backs on his call to conversion. More important than seeing Jesus is having faith in him. As he says in John’s Gospel, “`Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.’”

Surprising to many, Zacchaeus expresses such faith. As a tax collector, Zacchaeus is expected to swindle the poor, not to treat them with kindness. But he couldn’t be more generous as he promises to give the needy half of his possessions. The only recognizable motive for his doing so is his belief that since Jesus brings salvation, what better thing is there to do with one’s wealth than to share it with Jesus’ special friends.