If anyone needs to hear and be reassured that they are loved by our good God, we hope that you were listening to today’s readings. If you weren’t really paying attention or if in the future you ever feel alone or unloved, these are great readings. In them we heard the fact that God is OUR CREATOR, that God has a never-ending love for us, we heard of God’s mercy and gentleness with sinners, and of God’s constant reaching out, searching for us, of God’s desire for us to know that we are loved.
In the first reading we heard of God’s love for ALL things that are and that God dislikes nothing that God made, that includes all of us! The unbelievable hugeness and allinclusive love God has for all of us no matter where we are or what we have done are the themes of today’s readings and our belief that the Scripture is God’s very own Word should give us strength and courage to face what we have to, what we need to do, to live our lives as disciples of Jesus.
God always desires to be in a relationship with us; He created us, and He wants to be a part of all we do. Sue and I have been married for 52 years and we have held hands many times during those years, it feels right and good. But all those many years ago I can still recall the feelings of being scared as I reached for her hand for the first time, what if she pulled away, what if she didn’t feel the same way I did. For many couples holding hands is their first experience of sharing intimacy, and it was for us. Before that first kiss, before even a hug, almost always comes that simple act of holding hands. In that grasp of hands lies the foundation of most relationships.
Now we go back and remember our readings today, the message that God reaches out and desires to be in relationship with us. From our first reading we heard proclaimed, “Oh Lord, lover of souls,” lover of all of us. God desires this relationship but never demands it. Instead God comes slowly “courting” us, quietly making his presence known in our lives, reaching out to hold our hands, patiently waiting for us to respond. As we heard in the Gospel with Zacchaeus, when we turn our gaze toward God our life changes, our life of faith begins. When we accept God’s offer of life and love, we are converted and transformed, our lives will never be the same again because our Creator and Lover is holding our hands.
Jesus came to Zacchaeus that day. Jesus comes to us today and salvation is always available to us as a reality that can enter our lives at any time if we only respond with a “yes” as we look back at that loving Jesus who is constantly looking at us. Did Zacchaeus even know that the power to make such a change in his life was in his heart? Do we? The power of Jesus’ gaze at each of us has the power to transform us beyond our wildest imagination!
Jesus asks if today he can dine at your home, knowing what that can mean in your life, what is your answer? Are we willing to take hold of Jesus’ hand and begin that relationship?
Deacon Bill and Sue Spies