My brother, Andrew, has three sisters. If he wanted playmates he had to deal with the feminine principle. We had a little playhouse in our backyard that my grandfather built for us. It looked just like our house in miniature. It was one room with a porch, windows and a shingled room. We played inside and on top thanks to a sturdy tree. It was the epicenter of outdoor play until one day when a carpenter came and built a tree house. I think my Dad figured he needed something more boyish to play in. After the tree house was finished, my brother began to spend more time up in the air than on the ground. He spent less and less time with me and more time with the neighborhood boys. All of a sudden I had “cooties” and the tree house was a girl-free zone. As you might imagine I didn’t like that very much. I remember climbing the ladder, slowly because I was afraid of heights. I made it to the trap door and knocked hoping my brother would suddenly remember how much fun I was to play with. His response was immediate and decisive. The trap door opened and a bucket of acorns was dumped on my head. I held on for dear life and then returned to earth in tears. As soon as I told my Dad what the boys had done, he came down the hill to the tree house and barked, “Andrew Ix, get down out of that tree and apologize to your sister!” He did, of course. It didn’t change things. I still wasn’t welcome in his clubhouse, but he stopped trying to kill me. My Dad made my little brother accountable for his actions and gave him the opportunity to make things right between us.
I think the Lord, Jesus did the same thing for Zacchaeus. He called him down from his safe place in the treetops and offered him the grace to change. There are times in the spiritual life when we get stuck in some tree house of our own creation. We stay up there...comforted by the safety of monastic routine. We stay up there…so we can focus on what others are doing. We stay up there…because we fear the work of change that awaits us on the ground.
Yes, Jesus calls each of us to “come down.” The Lord wants to enter the house of our heart and do what the divine physician does best. He wants to heal us. Jesus makes it clear here that he’s especially interested in hopeful sinners who are willing to do the work of GOD. Our patron, Saint Benedict, has shaped that very desire into a beautiful way of life. May we each have the courage to “come down quickly” when the WORD calls us by name and embrace the challenge we find there. “Salvation has already come to this house.” We need only accept it.
Blessings and love to you all...
- Sister Vicki