Sunday, November 03, 2019
Seek out more Zacchaeuses to win (Sunday homily)
This man, Zacchaeus, was someone everyone would have hated.
He was a tax-collector for the Roman oppressors.
That also meant he was feared,
because a word from him could bring you big trouble.
And this is who Jesus chooses to be friends with?
This reminds me of a great movie called “The Scarlet and the Black,”
about a Catholic priest, Monsignor O’Flaherty,
in Nazi-occupied Italy during World War II.
At great risk, the priest finds ways to save Jews from the Nazis.
The villain, Colonel Kappler, was responsible for many deaths,
and if he’d had his way, that would have included Father O’Flaherty.
But then things turn, and now the Nazi comes and begs the priest
to help his family escape. At first, the Monsignor refuses;
but then his heart softens, and he rescues his enemy’s family.
Kappler goes to prison for his many brutal crimes.
Every month one person visited him. It was Father O’Flaherty.
After 14 years, Kappler was baptized!
Jesus’ friendship with Zacchaeus had instant results;
But more often, it takes great patience, as with Kappler.
When you and I show kindness and mercy like this,
We will be criticized and mocked as naïve;
and many times, it won’t seem to have done any good at all.
But one day you and I will stand before Jesus.
He will not mock us. We will not be embarrassed on that day!
Imagine being Monsignor O’Flaherty, appearing before Jesus,
and saying, “Here, I brought my own Zacchaeus:
my friend, Colonel Kappler!”
Do you think he will regret that he was generous,
that he persevered, all those years, in showing kindness and friendship?