..having celebrated two of greatest feasts in Catholicism, All Saints on Friday & All Souls earlier today/yesterday, a phrase in 1st rdg from the Book of Wisdom says it all .. “you spare all things, because all things are yours, Lord, lover of life, you whose imperishable spirit is in all..” our destiny, gifted unearned unmerited “imperishability” the promise assurance guarantee of heaven..yet for many of us it still seems too good to be true .. share with you quote from book on pupils desk in SBPS just before half term.. “so you know all about me?” said the boy “yes” said the horse “& you still love me?” asked the boy “we love you all the more” said the horse..
“..little by little, you correct those who offend..” ; Lord have mercy “..you admonish & remind them of how they have sinned..” ; Christ have mercy “..you overlook men’s sins so that they can repent..” ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
..if you find yourself in the company of a bag of sweets & a young child, they love it if you count out sweets “one for you, one for me” squeal with delight if its “two for you, one for me” & they sulk with pet lip if its “one for you, two for me” & you lose all credibility & trust for next 5mins..gospel of Zacchaeus counted coins not sweets & so poorly paid were tax collectors; it was known & accepted practice that they would pocket some of takings before it was banked..”he was one of the senior tax collectors & a wealthy man” sticky fingered..set apart from rank & file because he worked for Roman forces of occupation, a pickpocket & a collaborator..he couldn’t see Jesus, partly because he was short, but primarily because no one would break ranks to let him in; he was cold shouldered excluded despised..a prospective migrant to the UK..how many of our Herdwicks have suffered from such judgementalism from us Swaledales ?..however Zacchaeus bless him was a man of faith “anxious to see what kind of man Jesus was”.. could you give a warm passionate & convincing four sentences to your Zacchaeus about the kind of man your Jesus is?..four sentences from your experience & wisdom..now & from the heart, could you?..& having been cold shouldered, his intrigue fuelled his forward thinking; he ran on climbed a tree so that, when Jesus walked past, he’d get a bird’s eye view..a drones view.. & Jesus “looked up & spoke to him” imagine it..& then it gets worse, much much worse.. Jesus knew this misfit reject, this cunning little rat, by name, & he invites himself to his house & to stay!..unbelievable! feel the crowd seething, so used to a Judaism where for so long it’s been “one sweet for you & four sweets for me” & when Jesus rewrites the script to “one sweet for you & six sweets for Zacchaeus they are fuming “he has gone to stay at a sinners house”..the bag of sweets has been taken from us..& bless him Zacchaeus “stood his ground”..now he had been seen recognised acknowledged, not in spite of, but because of, his crooked lifestyle thus far, he wasn’t going to revert to his old self & his inappropriate behaviour ; he looked Jesus & truth in the eye, & his prayer of remorse & contrition “I will pay back to the victims of my cheating four times the amount “ restores him to spiritual health..& the climax is quite brilliant..as Jesus offers the tax collector a full pardon called salvation..slate wiped clean, & three words written on it “mine & forever”..then comes a wonderful swipe at the self righteous squeaky clean insiders “this man too is a son of Abraham”..ultimate accolade for any man Jew,that put him head & shoulders above rest of mankind was to be known to be seen & to be addressed as son of Abraham..a Swaledale..& for a Herdwick to be given equal rights parity of esteem, was earth-shatteringly disheartening for the great & the good..& hearteningly affirming for the small in stature & in faith..Jesus comes to seek out & to save those of us who are anxious to find out more about him..those of us listening out for his gentle voice as he asks to stay at your house, at my monastery, later today..& you will recognise him because he will bring a bag of sweets..a full bag which will be counted out & shared equally between you & him “one for him, one for you” parity of love & esteem ..love meets love in equal measure..a loving exchange of imperishability..a loving exchange of imperishability we call All Saints & All Souls..