In today’s Mass readings we encounter the well-known story of Zacchaeus the tax collector who was curious to see Jesus, this wonder worker about whom he had heard so much. It is a much different encounter of the blind man in yesterday’s gospel. Both are example of the laws of momentum, but on a spiritual plain.
The first law of momentum states that every object will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless compelled to change its state by the action of an external force. The blind man used his inner desire, the movement of the Spirit, the presence of Jesus – we are not told specifically – to ask Jesus for his sight. Acted upon by the greater force of God’s power and love, the course of that man’s life changed.
In Zacchaeus’ story, the “greater force” in the person of Jesus does not wait for Zacchaeus, but simple announces that He will dine with the chief tax collector at his house. The course of Zacchaeus’ life changes.
And all around the scene played out, the crowds remain at rest or uniformly heading in the same direction unmoved by Jesus or Zacchaeus’ confession and reparations. “When they saw this, they began to grumble, saying, ‘He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.’”
All around us the grace and love of God is that greater force, only waiting for the invitation to act upon the course of our lives. To change our momentum, our direction, ourselves, our lives…will you cooperate?