Let’s climb the tree


Let’s climb the tree

Zacchaeus “was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature.” (Luke 19:3)

Do you believe people are genuinely good? I do! Sometimes it might not look like when we encounter ruddiness, ignorance or simply indifference in people. But I sincerely believe that most people are trying…

Our De Mazenod Door Outreach program at St. Patrick parish in Hamilton, ON welcomes people of all experiences of life. Here, you will meet the homeless, the broken and those struggling with addictions. They seek shelter and food; but even more importantly non-judgemental compassion and hospitality. They are all “trying to see who Jesus was” in the sense of seeking hope, healing and a better life. We witness some of the “success stories” of our guests who are now ‘clean’ from their addictions, who through our housing program were finally able to find a home, who restored their broken relationships and even found a renewed relationship with God. Many of them are giving back to the community, such as Leon, who spent most of his life in prison and now is a valuable De Mazenod Door employee and who is excellent in building relationships with our guests. Leon was baptised during the Easter Vigil this year.

Sadly, we also painfully encounter the stories of those we lose through addictions. With broken hearts we saw Jeff falling into his addiction and lost contact with him for years. We said goodbye to Paul who was “camping” just across the street from the church and overdosed last week. They are genuinely good people at heart; they just couldn’t overcome their “short in stature” ways, of addiction, brokenness and in some ways hopelessness.

In today’s Gospel Zacchaeus faces his own “short in stature” challenge. It might be his wealth, social status or disregard by other people. He knew that he had to stop just “trying” to see Jesus; that wouldn’t change anything. He knew that he had to “do” something to see Jesus; which has changed everything! “So, he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him…” (Luke 19:4a)

It’s time to climb the tree!!! We all are “trying to see who Jesus is” in our personal lives, families and communities, workplaces and schools. But quite often we encounter our shortcomings of being “short in stature”. It might be a difficult experience of the past or an overwhelming challenge of today. It might be our personality or our self-esteem. It might be discouragement from other people and feeling burdened by life’s daily obstacles.

We are all genuinely good. We just have to stop “trying” and actually “climb the tree.” Because Jesus is passing your way today and when he comes to the place where you find yourself at this moment in life, he looks up and says to you, “…hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.”

By Jarek Pachocki, OMI
OMI Lacombe Canada – Vocation Director