Home > Living the Gospel > Surprise!

The doorbell rings and as you open the door, there stands a person you know by sight whom you have great respect for and wanted to get to know better…but you weren’t expecting him this morning. You think quickly, ‘I can’t invite him in, the dishes aren’t done, the kids’ clothes are all over, the morning paper is spread out on the sofa and there is dust on everything, … I wished he had called first’…but then you hear him say, ‘I was passing by, I knew you lived here and I want to talk to you about something, can I come in?” You hesitate for a moment, reluctantly say yes and begin to explain and apologize for the mess. Your unexpected guest enters, hardly seems to notice the surroundings and you have a wonderful visit. The conversation flows easily as you relax.
Zacchaeus might have had similar thoughts in the Gospel story this morning. ‘I just wanted to glimpse Jesus as he passed by ….I didn’t expect him to visit me personally.’ Perhaps, we too, only want to meet Jesus on our terms….at Mass or during times of prayer. Perhaps we don’t expect Christ to be present to us in the people and situations we encounter throughout the day….but God is there. ….we can pray for the grace to recognize the Divine… ‘open our eyes and heart to recognize You, Lord’…. and then be willing to welcome God …even if our inner house is messy!

Or …

Perhaps you enter a room and observe the high energy of the crowd as they socialize before the meeting begins. As you scan the group you see a woman sitting alone. You recognize her as a person who seems to live on the edge…the edge of poverty, the edge of being accepted and the edge of loneliness. You approach her and ask if you can sit with her. She is surprised, but pleased, to have someone to talk with. She feels recognized and valued as you begin a conversation.

Jesus might have had similar thoughts in the Gospel story this morning as He looked up and saw Zacchaeus in the tree….’I want to come to your house..even though I know you are not accepted by others.’ Perhaps we too need to reach out to others who appear to be isolated or alone for whatever reason. Jesus welcomed all…Do we? Stay alert this week to the times you are surprised by God’s presence as Zacchaeus was or surprised by the opportunities you have to recognize and welcome others as Jesus did. Enjoy the crisp, frosty November mornings!

Peg Orzel