Zacchaeus Wasn’t the Only One Who Climbed a Tree

Homily for 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)
October 30, 2022
Holy Trinity, Tabor: Sunday, 8:00 AM
St. Francis, Fisher: Sunday, 10:00 AM

Focus:             The gaze of Jesus changes people
Function:         Consider how the Lord looks upon you.

He went to a lot of trouble to see Jesus.

Zacchaeus was short.  He could not see Jesus over the crowd.
But, by grace, that sycamore tree caught his eye.

Have you ever tried to climb a tree?
It’s not a pretty picture.

Jesus intended to pass through Jericho, but Jesus notices the small details.
He noticed one small man in a tree among the vast crowd.
He saw Zacchaeus trying to see him.

Jesus saw Zacchaeus.
He called him by name.

St. Ignatius of Loyola, in teaching us how to pray, gives us two steps to begin.
First, make the Sign of the Cross.
Then, in the amount of time that it takes to pray the Our Father, “consider how the Lord looks upon you.”

See his gaze.
See the Lord looking upon you.

Sometimes we feel we need to hide.
We can’t stand out.

Zacchaeus was aware of his sin.
He could have stayed hidden.
He chose to see.
He was willing to be seen if only he could see.

He allowed Jesus to look upon him.

Jesus saw him.
Jesus saw him trying to see Jesus.
His gaze fell upon Zacchaeus.

Zacchaeus saw Jesus looking at him.

He called him. 

And that changed everything for Zacchaeus.

Jesus sees you.
His gaze falls upon you.

See him.

See him looking upon you.
Consider how the Lord looks upon you.

Prayer is all about relationship.  Every relationship begins with a look.
The gaze of another affects us:[1]
An athlete is affected when he knows that his coach, or grandma and grandpa, are watching.
A child is affected when he knows that a parent is watching.
Parents are affected when they know their child is watching.
We are affected if a stranger is creepily watching us.

The gaze of Jesus received by Zacchaeus brought conversion and salvation.

Brothers and sisters,
Climb the tree.
Climb the tree and get above the vast crowd of your anxiety, your sin.  Rise above the noise that surrounds you. 
Climb the tree and get above the crowd of your distractions, cares and concerns.

Climb the sycamore tree of silence to see above all of that,
to see Jesus,
to let Jesus see you.

Zacchaeus wasn’t the only one who climbed a tree.

Jesus also climbed a tree.

Jesus climbed a tree so that we would see him and would invite him to come and stay at our house.

Behold the Lamb of God.  Behold him who takes away the sins of the world.

Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

[1] Fr. Paul Hoesing, Have I Been With You? Personal Prayer for Young Disciples, page 20.

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