Psalm 15:2-3, 3-4, 5
A good story with a great ending; thatís the dayís Gospel in a nutshell. Luke gives us a bit of comic relief, it seems, with Zacchaeus and his shortness, as well as his persistence for getting even a glimpse of this Jesus character everyoneís been talking about. Zacchaeus does not only lack stature, however, but moral uprightness: a wealthy tax-collector made so by exploiting the people of his jurisdiction. This is where the tension of the story builds. Jesus is happy to see him and, further, elects to dine with him. Once again Jesus defies conformist expectation! But look at the results: conversion of heart! Zacchaeus has pledged to right his wrongs, and to do so in ways fourfold!
The invitation of the day, then: conversion, at any level. Lukeís story isnít gratuitous. It reveals a change of heart distinctly under-anticipated. And it almost seems as though Jesus didnít have to do all that much, at least in the immediate context. It was Zacchaeus who moved toward Jesus. Was he curious, fascinated, hungry for inspiration? Iím not entirely sure. But something was at work in Zacchaeusís life, stirring within him as desire.
The desires of our lives Ė those of goodness and integrity, anyway
Ė are such good evidences for Godís work in the world, but more so within
each of us, molding us as the potter and his art. We speak of this
reality to students here at the university. So many of them are wondering
what to do with their lives. I think reflection upon the best of
our desires is a starting point, because thatís how God calls us forth
into the world, gifting us with vocation, a sense of purpose. But
whether weíre at college enrolled in Philosophy 101 or working in steadfast
careers or retired, God still provides us with desires, continuing to call
us to help him make the world a place more and more receptive of his good
grace. And we see this reality with Zacchaeus today, but more poignantly
we see it as conversion, as a change of routine, as an honoring of desires
stirring within the depths. We have a great story to ponder.
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