November 16, 2010
Tuesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
By Beth DeCristofaro
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me. I will give the victor the right to sit with me on my throne, as I myself first won the victory and sit with my Father on his throne. ‘Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” (Revelation 3:22)
“Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And he came down quickly and received him with joy. … Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19:5, 8-10)
Zacchaeus was a wee little man, and a wee little man was he.
He climbed up in a sycamore tree, for the Lord he wanted to see.
And as the Savior passed him by, He looked up in the tree,
And he said, "Zacchaeus, you come down from there;
For I'm going to your house today, for I'm going to your house today"
Zacchaeus came down from that tree, as happy as he could be,
He gave his money to the poor, and said: "What a better man I'll be."
(lyrics for children’s song – with gestures, author unknown)
These are such beautiful and vivid readings. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock…” What an image! Knocking at my door is God who wants to spend time with me! Astounding! And miraculous! But there it is. But I am so aware that as I open the door to God, even as I welcome God, I stand there – in the way – and actually become the obstacle to God entering.
Lazy habits, neglect in loving and caring for those around me, stinginess, fear…I could go on and on with those places in me which block God’s entrance. I know many parts of myself which I need to change. I also know that it is difficult to make changes so feel weighed down and (usually) guilty about those deficits.
And then we meet sinful, short guy Zacchaeus who first answers the door to let Jesus in but then makes the decision to remake his life and reprioritize his actions. He shows us that, not alone but with Jesus, he – we – can make the changes needed to open our doors to God. Zacchaeus does not stammer a lukewarm promise to Jesus but chooses a full conversion of his being to orient himself to God and the life of God within him. Zacchaeus stands tall and welcomes God in.
Climbing a tree is generally easier than making needed personal changes. In what way do you stand in God’s way at the door? Sing the song above (make up your own tune!) Add you own name and add gestures. Have fun and laugh as you join Zacchaeus in climbing down his tree and becoming a better person. Out of what tree do you need to climb? What riches do you have to part with and what reconciling is needed in your life?