How do we stay on the track?

By | October 27, 2010

Zacchaeus, the Jericho tax collector, was interested in locating the person of Jesus. Zacchaeus chose a sycamore tree. It was from that perch that he saw and encountered the person of Jesus. It was then that the tax collector heard those words that would change his life forever: “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay in your house” (Lk 19:5b).


Bishop Robert Morneau

How do we, in the 21st century, locate the person of Jesus and pick up his signals. As the darkness of November becomes deeper, how do we remain in the light?

Desire is one component of the spiritual life that enables us to encounter the risen Lord. Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus. It was this desire that motivated him to overcome obstacles and achieve his wish. Zacchaeus ran ahead and climbed a tree. He was serious in his search. He would do whatever it took to fulfill his desire.

James Joyce said it well: “Desire urges us to possess, to go to something; loathing urges us to abandon, to go from something.” Zacchaeus desired to have a relationship with Jesus and must have been deeply surprised when the Lord himself, before the end of that fateful day, sat at his table. But it was more than just a question of hospitality or human desire. This encounter meant salvation not only for Zacchaeus, but for his family.

St. Paul constantly received signals from God as to his calling and purpose. It was a system of prayer. St. Paul’s mind and heart were attuned to God’s gracious calling. In faith, this apostle to the Gentiles passed on what the Lord revealed to him and thereby gave the various faith communities that he served a sense of direction and meaning. His prayer for the people of Thessalonica was that they might be worthy of God’s calling.

Wisdom helps us see what really matters and directs us in the ways of grace. In our first reading from the book of Wisdom we are given many insights: God has mercy on everyone; God overlooks our sins that we may repent; God loves all things that are; God is a lover of souls; God rebukes our offenses little by little. Great wisdom here to guide us on our way.

Our pilgrimage is long and arduous. It is so easy to get lost. We need a system of prayer, the mentors and models like St. Paul, indeed the North Star of Jesus to direct us to our true country.

Questions for Reflection

1. What is your deepest desire?

2. What systems do you have to stay connected to the Lord?

3. How often do you pray for the gift of wisdom?


Bishop Morneau is the auxiliary bishop of the Green Bay Diocese and pastor of Resurrection Parish in Allouez.

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