02 Nov Saturday
There are several contrasts in the readings or reversals, if you will. The grand as in the grandeur of the created cosmos in the first reading and the smallness or shortness of Zacchaeus in the Gospel. And in the Gospel, just as Zacchaeus seeks (the translation is “tries”) to see Jesus, so too Jesus seeks the lost, that is, Zacchaeua, not the grand Pharisees.
Zacchaeus’ restitution and reparation goes way beyond the twofold required in the Mosaic Law, and beyond any sense of tithing, when he offers four fold. He is being outrageously generous in his joy at having come to see Jesus and receive such a guest into his home.
On the last portion of his journey to Jerusalem, there are four encounters: with the ten lepers, the rich official, the blind beggar, and Zacchaeus. Each of these has been about certain classes of people, both the have and have nots of society of the day. They are also stories of the Messianic joy and thanksgiving that arises from the encounter with Jesus. These stories are about acceptance or rejection of the reign of God. They are not parables but arranged by Luke as actual encounters, to show how the encounter takes place and the turning point of the encounter as conversion and acceptance of the messianic presence.
Translating this into our own encounter with Jesus challenges us, largely because we are unsure of our own encounter. For us it may very well have begun with the natural world which the Wisdom author puts into perspective for us. Yet, we are the same people who admire the beauty of the natural world we ravage it wastefully and wantonly. Or it may have been like the Psalmist who has an experience of God’s mercy which turns them to thanksgiving. Or perhaps it is the reception of the Thessalonians in their struggles to hold fast to the faith that they should keep in mind the glory of God.