October 30, 2016

A HOMILY FOR THE THIRTY-FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME –  CYCLE “C” – 10/30/16  –  SMG

+  Pax et Bonum!    Peace and goodness to you this day!

A few years ago, the people who make Klondike Ice Cream bars, came up with a unique advertising campaign based on “What would you do for a Klondike Bar?  They had commercials asking people to do crazy things, in order to get a free Klondike ice cream bar.  They asked things like would you act like a monkey?  Or would you cluck like a chicken?  Or would you pretend like you were catching imaginary flies and put them into your mouth?  It was all pretty silly, and meant to embarrass the person, and then they’d give them a Klondike Ice Cream Bar.  The point was that their Ice Cream Bars were so good, that people wouldn’t mind getting a little embarrassed, or doing something a little crazy, in order to get one for free.  There were dozens of spoofs of these ads on TV and the internet, some of them not so nice, where it turns out that a lot of people wouldn’t do much for a free Klondike Bar.

I have always loved this Gospel passage from St. Luke!  This is a great story.  And it sounds a little bit like one of those Klondike Bar commercials.  It’s a little crazy.  This little, short tax collector named Zacchaeus climbs a Sycamore tree just to get a glimpse of Jesus!  You can almost hear the announcer’s voice, “Hey Zacchaeus, What would you do to get to see Jesus?   Now, part of this is really not as crazy as it first sounds.  Zacchaeus was, apparently, a really short guy.  He knew that Jesus was coming to town, and was coming down this particular street, but he also knew that because of the crowd, that by just standing along the side of the street, the he was not going to see anything, because he was too short.  Now, this was from his own experience!  How many things, and events, and people, had Zacchaeus not been able to see or witness before, because he was too small!  Zacchaeus had learned how to adapt!  And apparently, he wasn’t too bad of a tree climber either!  He sees the sycamore tree, he scurries up it, gets a good perch, and then Jesus comes down the street.  And what happens next, changes Zacchaeus’ life forever.  Jesus wants to come to Zacchaeus’s house.  Nobody ever wanted to come to Zacchaeus’ house!  Maybe it was something that nobody had ever done before!  And yet, Jesus’ love changes Zacchaeus’ whole life.  He would never be the same again.

We’ve heard this same basic part of this story before:  Jesus’ love also changed Peter.  It changed Mary Magdalene.  It changed Matthew.  It changed James and John.  It changed the women with the hemorrhage.  It changed the Roman official whose daughter was dying.  Over and over again, Jesus’ great love changed people’s lives forever!  And many times, an act of Faith, doing something a little crazy, was demanded, to get people to the point where they could experience the love of Jesus Christ.  Sometimes, just standing on the side of the road isn’t enough.  If we want to see Jesus, if we want to meet Him, if we want to experience His love and mercy, then sometimes we too have to climb our sycamore tree, or do something a little crazy, a little unusual, a little out of the ordinary, in order to do so!  We can’t just stand there on the side of the road.  We can’t just sit there in a pew in a church!  Sometimes you gotta take that leap of Faith!  Sometimes you gotta climb a sycamore tree.

What do you need to do?  What WOULD you do to find Jesus and His love?  Do you need to go on a retreat?  Do you need to serve or help someone in need?  Do you need to get an hour of Adoration?  Do you need to volunteer for a ministry here at the Parish?  Do you need to read the Bible more or join a Bible Study?  We have many sycamore trees.  We have many opportunities!  Which one of those opportunities are going to lead you to that life-changing love of Jesus Christ, that turns your world upside down?  The possibilities are endless.  And they are different for each one of us. But make no mistake about it, sometimes all of us have to be willing to do something first, in order to experience the living love of Jesus in our lives!  Our crazy little sacrifices opens up the door for great things with God!

This week, let’s be willing to do some unusual things. Let’s go out on a limb!  Let’s take a leap of Faith!  Let’s try something new.  What would you do, not for a Klondike Bar, but what would you do this week, what could you do this week, to experience Jesus’ powerful love in your life?  May you have the courage to do what you need to do!

+  May God bless us this week, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…                  AMEN !!!

St. Maria Goretti…                                 Pray for us !!!