Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 30, 2016
I once heard some advice for writers on how to make a story more dramatic. “Get your character up in a tree,” the advice goes, “and throw rocks at him.” The advice isn’t meant literally, but rather it’s about how a character in jeopardy is always a good source of drama.
Well Saint Luke, author of today’s Gospel passage, seems to have taken at least a part of that advice literally. It’s the famous tale of Zacchaeus, who was short of stature and so needed a higher perch to see Jesus pass by.
But it’s really the grace of God that’s creating the drama here—a dramatic act of repentance. Even before Jesus comes on the scene, Zacchaeus is determined to see him. What led this wealthy tax collector—an unpopular figure in the town of Jericho—to be interested in Jesus? And even more, what moved him to a radical divesting of half his possessions, and a promise to over-compensate anyone he may have defrauded? It can only be grace!
And it gives you and me an important reminder. God is at work in the most unlikely of ways, and in people we may least expect to change. Repentance like that was—and is—the mission of Jesus. Let’s welcome his invitation to stay with us, in our daily lives.