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03 November 2013: Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Son of Man came to seek and to find that which was lost

The wealthy Zacchaeus scurries up the sycamore tree because he is ‘short in stature’ and he can’t see over the heads of those in the crowd. In those days, Zacchaeus would probably have been wearing a loose fitting robe or tunic and so one of the Scripture scholars said “All of Zacchaeus would have been visible to the crowd below” thus making the story of this undignified tax collector doubly funny. Jesus seems delighted and is smiling at the sight of the wealthy man perched in the tree. He says ‘Zacchaeus come down for I must stay at your house today’. The joy with which Zacchaeus welcomes Jesus into his house is a sure sign of being on the way to salvation.

Zaccaeus climbs the tree

Pope Francis has challenged Catholic families to pray together with simplicity and to be patient with one another, telling them they will have joyful homes only if they cultivate this welcoming, merciful and respectful love of God. A society needs to look after the vulnerable and often the forgotten members. A society that abandons children and marginalises the elderly severs its roots and obscures its future.

It’s not much fun being an outsider as Zacchaeus was, however many distractions one may have. Let us pray this Melbourne Cup weekend for a heightened sense of the Lord making a home with us and a home for us. And let us pray to face all children with eyes and a heart like his.