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11/3/19 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time - Deacon Tony

Deacon Tony Conti

Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 153

  • Today’s gospel says that Zacchaeus “…was seeking to see who Jesus was...”
  • It’s becoming more and more difficult to see Jesus in our world and in our nation today… and perhaps even in ourselves…
  • We often find ourselves living in a hostile and angry world…
  • If only we could get a glimpse of Jesus as Zacchaeus did, it might just change our life as it did his…
  • Our perspective in life… How we see life… how we see others… how we see the world… how we see ourselves, matters far more than we can appreciate
  • But perhaps what matters most of all is how we see God...
  • Because our image of God determines how we see everything else...
  • Zacchaeus’ experience of Jesus changed his perspective... and this change of perspective changed his life
  • The world knew Zacchaeus as a tax collector, but Jesus knew him as a beloved son of the Fatherand that made all the difference
  • His experience of Jesus’ unconditional love changed how he saw everything - because love changes everything...
  • What Zacchaeus learned from his encounter with Jesus was that love requires everythingand everything requires love
  • Zacchaeus was a “well to do” tax collector… He had no apparent need to change his life, but he realized that something was missing… something that his wealth couldn’t buy…
  • He had heard about this Jesus Who spoke of a new way of living, and he was curious to know more…
  • When we become complacent and choose to settle for the status quoThis is when we can lose interest in what Jesus has to offer us
  • Zacchaeus refused to accept his life as it was… he longed for “something more,” even though he wasn’t sure what that “something more” really was…
  • Jesus showed Zacchaeus who he truly was under the tax collector mask that he had worn for the majority of his adult life…
  • We all wear masks in life whether we’re aware of them or not… We can wear the masks that the world hands us for such a long time, that we can eventually forget who God created us to be…
  • Our quest to re-discover who we truly are deep inside will undoubtedly take some soul searching and some time, and some work on our part…
  • It’s an ongoing process of discovery, and it’s well worth the effort
  • Father James Martin S.J. wrote: “God desires for us to be the persons we were created to be: to be simply and purely ourselves, and in this state to love God and to let ourselves be loved by God.” (Becoming Who You Are; Pg 22)…
  • That in essence is the story of what happened to Zacchaeus
  • Zacchaeus was humble enough to realize that he didn’t have the answers that he sought… He was open to seeking and learning more
  • Humility is an often misunderstood and maligned trait…
  • Being humble doesn’t mean that we’re called to be a doormat for the world, or that we need to relinquish our dignity as sons and daughters of the Father…
  • Humility is simply knowing who we are and perhaps even more importantly, who we are not...
  • Humble people are comfortable in their own skin and don’t need to try to be someone they’re not...
  • Humility is a good measure of a person’s strength of character...
  • A healthy humility is achieved by striving to learn who we truly are underneath all of the titles and masks that the world has given us…
  • At some point in our lives… We need to find the faith and the courage to allow God to take the lead… as Zacchaeus did…
  • This admittedly, isn’t an easy thing to do in a world that’s taught us from childhood that we must do everything in our power to be in control of every situation…
  • I recently read a commentary in the news in which the writer noted... there comes a time in every life to put the ego asideand simply be...
  • We’re all called to begin to appreciate that our self worth is not dependent upon what we do or what we accomplish but rather on Who we are and Whose we are...
  • This revelation may arrive early in our lives, or on our deathbedBut we’re all called to this reckoning sooner or later in life
  • We’re called to a time when we finally discover that the peace that we sought in so many ways and in so many places throughout our lives was already ours for the taking if we but accepted the love that God freely offers us each day...
  • Like Zacchaeus; if we find ourselves searching for something more in life, we must become restless enough to seek a change… to refuse to accept the status quo
  • And like Zacchaeus, we must have the humility to open our hearts and our minds to seek out Jesus more and more in our lives
  • It’s about more than receiving the Eucharist at mass… Jesus wants to become an integral part of our daily lives…
  • There’s a painting of Jesus knocking at the door to our hearts… but the door has only one door knob… and it’s on the inside
  • We must first open the door to our hearts and invite Jesus in… not just once… but over and over
  • Every time we stray… Every time we get lost in life… Every time life gets stale
  • If we invite Him in… He will enter, (over and over)… and never tire of our wanderings…
  • I’ll close with a quote from Sister Joan Chittister who wrote: “The point, is that life is about living into the one great moment of insight, awareness, (and) realization that changes us… We are now someone going someplace for a reason larger than ourselves and feeling more humanly significant than simply self important.” (Following the Path, Pgs. 170 & 159.)

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