St. Michael's Parish - Cobourg

Zacchaeus, come down, I want to have dinner with you

Zacchaeus, come down, I want to have dinner with you!          -Homily October 30, 2016


It was not by chance that Jesus went to Jericho. He intended to pass through the town. Jericho is a sign of sin, of human kind in need of forgiveness and salvation. Jesus came to save what was lost, he came to save sinners, and the best way he found to save sinners was to approach them. He could have forgiven us all from heaven, by just a word of his mouth. He could have put on gloves to touch our dirt, he could have sent us a check from his home, he could have shipped his forgiveness in a beautiful card… he could have avoided us, he could have avoided the loathsome leprosy of our sins. Instead, he preferred to come down, he preferred to engage us, he preferred to show his love by his physical presence among us. He preferred to show his love with his blood. He preferred to weep for us in our presence. He preferred to work, eat and sleep like one of us, he preferred to walk among us, and suffer the same death that we will suffer. And when he rose from the dead, he did not escape back to heaven: “Ah, finally I can get rid of them.” After his resurrection, he appeared to us, and he stayed with us for forty days, so that we may rejoice that his triumph will also be our triumph. He went to heaven then, yes, but he remained with us in the Eucharist, so that nobody in the history may ever feel that God is not with him, or that God does not want to touch him. God loves us, God wants to be with us, God is with us, even within us.

Jesus went to Jericho looking for Zacchaeus. He knew perfectly what he was doing. He was looking for the worse of them. Jesus knew Zacchaeus, and he knew that Zacchaeus would try to see him if he came closer to him. Jesus came close looking for him, Zacchaeus went up to see him, Jesus called him by name and asked him to come down, and told him that he wanted to have dinner with him: “I want to have dinner with you. Yes, with you, the most loathsome of sinners, the most in need of my sons. I want you for me, I love you. Open your heart to me.” Zacchaeus could not resist the invitation, and repented of all his sins. Zacchaeus does not respond: “O yes, please, come to my home to have a meal.” Zacchaeus opens, not his home, but his heart to Jesus. Zacchaeus takes away from his heart everything that is not pleasing to his honourable guest: his injustice, his past sins. That is why he says: “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.”  That is exactly what Jesus wanted. Jesus rejoices with him and says: “Today salvation has come to this house: I came to seek and to save what was lost.”

 

It is a beautiful Gospel. Because it shows clearly what mercy really means. Jesus loves us despite of our sins, insofar as he takes the first step to forgive us. He comes close to the sinner, so that the sinner may be confident and approach him when he asks for forgiveness. Jesus comes closer to us because he wants us to repent and so come closer to him. Salvation enters our home only when we repent. Jesus wants us to repent. But what he uses to make us repent is not a rebuke, but an offer of love: “Come down, I want to have dinner with you. Come down, you are too far from me on that tree, you are too far from me with your sins. Come down to me, who came close to you, so that we can have dinner together, so that you can receive me as your bread. I came down from heaven and climbed on a tree (the tree of the cross), not to see you from afar, but to save you from your sins. Come closer, I want to have dinner with you.” The way Jesus conquers our heart is by his cross: he climbs on the tree so that we may also look up, see him and tell him: “Come down, my Lord, do not suffer any more for me, I repent from my sins. O my Lord, have dinner with me!”

 

May the Lord give us the grace of being good Zacchaeus. But also, may we be good Jesus for the Zacchaeus we find on our way. Let us love them first, so that they may repent. Let us forgive them, let us be patient with them. It is not our job to condemn what is lost, but to save it, before the Lord comes. May the Lord grant us the grace of helping many people to repent and come close to the Lord.  –Fr. Andrew

 

 

 

 

 

This as reminder that we have our first Youth Retreat Saturday, November 5th. 

Beginning at 3:30 pm  and ending at 9:00 pm.

We meet in the Parish Centre.

 

The day will include:

·        Moments of prayerful reflection

·        Fellowship for young people. 

·        Activities 

·        Mass 

·        Dinner 

 

Please make an effort to attend!  

If you have a friend (13-19) who is interested in attending please let me know.

 

God Bless, Fr. Gerardus

gerardushauwert@ive.org

905 372-6844