Sunday, November 3, 2013

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker
By Father Perry D. Leiker

For what reason would a person change his or her life, or do anything or all things differently?

Zacchaeus made an enormous change and announced it publicly: "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 time over."

Just what could cause a person to change so completely? In reviewing Luke's story, we some details that illuminate and offer to us an understanding of such conversion.

Zacchaeus was hated and shunned by all. Being a short man, he was even crowded out by the elbows of so many, preventing him from even seeing Jesus pass by.

Zacchaeus climbs a tree,
and no one paid him
any attention.
What did he do to satisfy his curiosity? He climbed a tree; no one paid him any attention. No one cared that he was even there. No one offered him a sliver of space to allow him to come close to Jesus. So Jesus came close to him. "Come down from the tree, Zacchaeus. I want to say in your home."

Jesus accepted the unacceptable. Jesus loved the seemingly unlovable. Jesus invited when everyone else rejected. Loving, accepting, welcoming, and valuing, where enough. Jesus gave that man enough dignity and value that he could invite the great teacher into him home. Jesus made it known he would be pleased to be his guest.

Is it any different from any one of us? Would he — could he — ever reject us? Is that not, perhaps, what is the heart of the good news? To each and everyone of us the same phrase rings true if we just accept it: "Today, salvation has come to this house!"

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112, or email

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