“Called by Name” by Lisa Valentino, Fiat Ventures

Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Have you ever had an experience, where someone who was really well known was coming to the town near you and you just had to see them? Maybe it was a famous singer or actor, maybe even a favorite YouTuber. Whoever it was, you just had to be where they were going to be, even if it was just to catch a glimpse of them.

You wake up early to stand in line or do some research to find out exactly what time they will be where and the best way to see them. You know the car they will be in, what exit they will come out of and even who they are traveling with. Now imagine that all of your homework pays off and you not only catch a glimpse of that special person, but they see you! Not only do they see you, but they know who you are, they call you by name!

That is what happens in our Gospel reading this week. Zacchaeus, a tax collector braved the crowd just to see Jesus. He made a plan, did his research and showed up. We are told that Zacchaeus is short and climbs a tree so that he can see Jesus as he passes by. Notice that he is not in the crowd to ask Jesus for anything, but to just see him, as he has probably heard so much about him.

As Jesus passes through the crowd, he not only sees Zacchaeus, but calls him by name. How is that even possible? Zacchaeus was overwhelmed with joy at that moment and I am sure extremely surprised. Then the Lord tells him to come down and prepare his house for the Him. Zacchaeus came down from the tree and did as Jesus asked. People in the crowd were shocked we are told, for Zacchaeus was a sinner. None of that mattered to Jesus. He also tells Jesus he will give half of his possessions to the poor and repay anyone he has taken advantage of. He gives his whole self.  Jesus tells him that this day salvation has come to his house.

Guess what? Jesus is calling you and I by name as well. We don’t have to just be a part of the crowd who watches and hopes to catch a glimpse. Jesus calls us by name and wants to be a part of our lives in a real way. No matter what we have done his invitation for us to join him and prepare our hearts for that coming is just as real as him calling Zacchaeus down from that tree.

Zacchaeus’s life was forever changed by that personal call from our Lord and it all began with his yes. What are you waiting for? The Lord is calling you by name and waiting for your response. His invitation is a personal one to each and every one of us. It is one that requires a response. Will today be the day that you come out of whatever your tree is and say yes? Will today be the day that you explore that calling by the Lord to you? What is it that stops you from answering God’s call in your life?

Called by name, it’s a personal invitation to a life filled with love, forgiveness and true joy! Don’t just be another face in the crowd!

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