Homily for 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)
November 3, 2019
Sacred Heart, EGF – 10:00 AM
Focus: Everything changes when the Lord looks upon you.
Function: Let him look upon you.
No one wanted to see Zacchaeus.
There wasn’t much to see. Nothing special about him. He was small in stature. There was nothing worth noticing. He was a nobody. An outcast. No one liked him. He was the most unpopular man in town. It was his job to take their money.
No one wanted Zacchaeus to go to their house, and they certainly weren’t going to his.
No one wanted to see Zacchaeus.
And then everything changed.
Everything changed when Jesus came passing through.
Zacchaeus climbs a tree to look upon the Lord. He climbs the tree to see Jesus, but he ends up being the one who is seen, who is noticed.
The Lord looked upon him.
And everything changed.
Jesus takes notice and this nobody becomes a somebody.
“Zacchaeus, hurry down, for today I must stay at your house.”
Everything changed. Everything changed because Zacchaeus had been penetrated and captured by a gaze that recognized him and loved him for what he was.[i]
Zacchaeus was lost and is now found. He is saved. Zacchaeus thought that he was the one who was seeking Jesus, but in reality it was Jesus who had come to seek and to save him.
Those of you who are married, think of the first time you noticed your spouse. The first time you looked upon them. The first time they looked upon you.
Everything changed when they returned your gaze.
Everything changed when they looked upon you.
Everything changed when you looked upon them looking upon you.
Brothers and sisters, the Lord is looking upon you like he looked upon Zacchaeus. Are you willing to look back?
Zacchaeus climbed a tree to see Jesus. He was willing to put himself out there, to risk ridicule in order to see the Lord.
Are you willing to do the same?
Are you willing to climb the tree? To make the effort? To risk being noticed?
It’s a scary thing to allow the Lord to look upon us. We have so many fears.
Fear of being uncomfortable.
Fear of my sin.
Fear that I might have to change.
Fear that I won’t know what to say or how to respond.
It makes me uncomfortable to let the Lord look upon me.
It’s safer, it’s easier, not to look.
But the Lord wants you to look.
Let him look upon you.
Look upon him looking at you.
St. John Vianney once walked into his country church and found a man sitting before the tabernacle. He asked him, “What are you doing?” The man replied: “I look at Jesus and he looks at me.”
Before the Lord the whole universe is as a grain from a balance or a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth.
And yet, the Lord notices.
He noticed Zacchaeus.
He notices you.
He looks upon you, with love.
Today, Andrew and Kayla bring Jasper here, to this place, to the waters of baptism. They bring him here to allow the Lord to look upon him. And Jesus says, “Jasper, today I must come to stay at your house.” Today, salvation comes to this house.
Today, you come to this Eucharist. You stand in the pew, in the crowd. You dare to come forward. Jesus sees you. “Today, I must stay at your house.”
That means you have to change.
Zacchaeus had to change.
Jesus’ look made him change.
Everything changes when the Lord looks upon us
Today salvation has come to this house.
Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and I shall be healed.
[i] Servant of God Luigi Giussani, founder of Communion and Liberation (from the November 2019 Magnificat Reflection)