Thirty First Sunday in Ordinary Time

One of the disadvantages of social media is that it turns us all into spectators, onlookers, and bystanders. It’s very easy to pass judgement by posting something on Facebook or Instagram or tweet something we know very little about. Suppose you are a nature lover. Now, you don’t have to get your shoes dirty, or let the rain fall on you. You don’t have to leave your own sitting room, or even move from the fireside. Social media and television provide you with a feast of sights and sounds. There is no risk, no pain, no trouble, and no responsibility. Yet what a poor substitute this is for the real thing. There are people who claim to love nature, who seldom, if ever, have walked in the woods, across the fields, or along the shore. In other words they are mere spectators. They are not really involved. To be involved is to give a part of oneself to it. However there is at least this to be said about the spectator, he or she is interested. And where there is interest, there is the possibility of real involvement. We have a similar situation with Zacchaeus in our gospel story today. At the start of the story he was a mere spectator. He was just an onlooker. He didn’t join the crowd. He climbed up among the branches of sycamore tree. But what happened? Jesus saw him and invited him to become a participant. Suddenly Zacchaeus was whisked from the touchline right into the centre of the action. He was like a spectator who goes to a football match, and suddenly the manager spots him, throws him a set of gear and says. ‘You’re on!’ And he finds himself playing. When it comes to involvement in our Church and in our community maybe we are only spectators. There is no doubt a lot of interest in our church and our community, but we all need to ask ourselves the question; Am I only a spectator? Am I just a passive onlooker, avoiding risk, commitment and responsibility? Jesus challenged Zacchaeus and he responded positively and joyfully. It changed his life. All of us to a greater or lesser degree need this kind of conversion. We go from here today challenged by Jesus to reflect on our participation and commitment to our Church and community. What will your response be?