Thirty First Sunday

3rd November 2019  

Feeling small? Lk.19.1-10

Zacchaeus was a short man, the odd one out, self conscious about his smallness, and many of us can identify with that, even if we are six feet tall. For there are 101 different ways in which we can feel little or insignificant … not sporty or athletic? Not good looking? Not musical? Not literate? Not rich? Not successful? Ill at ease with others?  We can make our own list.

Sadly we can also respond to our smallness in a 101 destructive ways … become a loner .. become a bully .. scapegoat others .. become  neurotic … anorexic … take to the bottle … have an affair …. hide in shame. Again the list goes on.

Zacchaeus became a tax-gatherer, working for the roman occupation. Sure he was a traitor to his people, but no one was going to call him little if he was rich, and had the Rome Army behind him as he hounded hapless tax-dodgers.

And yet this little man knew that his life was a mess, and tentatively sought out Jesus in the vague hope that something would change. And something did change that day in Jericho when Jesus went to dine with this public sinner. Zacchaeus had an overwhelming change of heart, and determined to make amends for the human damage he had caused.

Jesus declared him a ‘Son of Abraham’ which sounds very religious to us, but to Zacchaeus it meant that he was part of the community again. ‘Son of Abraham’ meant that he belonged to the Jewish family again, a treasured brother not a traitor or an outsider.

The same blessing is offered to us every time we turn to the Lord in our smallness. Awkwardness starts to disappear and we become part of the family once more.

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