Say What? (Thirty-first Ordinary)

Then Jesus entered and walked through Jericho. There was a man there, his name Zacchaeus, the head tax man and quite rich. He wanted desperately to see Jesus, but the crowd was in his way – he was a short man and couldn’t see over the crowd. So, he ran on ahead and climbed up a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus when he came by. (Luke 19: 1 – 4)

Zach was the co-worker who made life miserable for everyone in the office. He spent the better part of his days playing video games and made others work late to cover for him. He repeatedly ran over budget and blamed mistakes and excessive spending on junior partners. He minimised or ignored the success of anyone else and made snide comments about them. He excluded all but a select few from lunch conversations and after-hour gatherings. And he openly undermined any co-worker who threatened his role in the hierarchy.

So when word spread the company chairman was coming to announce some internal changes, you can imagine that many office workers had high hopes that the chairman, known for his integrity and compassion, would recognise Zach for what he was – an office bully. After weeks of preparation, the day of the big visit arrived. The work room was abuzz, but the excitement soon turned to dismay when the chairman walked right to Zach and invited him to dinner!

It felt like a sucker punch to nearly everyone. Except then a strange thing happened. Zach looked down and said, “I have been a royal pain in the neck to everyone in this room and I don’t deserve to have dinner with you until I sincerely apologise for all the damage I have done”.

Impossible, you say? Impossible for love to change a sinful heart? Well, let’s take a look at this week’s gospel.

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