Good News and Bad News
It’s a rather perverse human characteristic that news about the failings of others is often more widely read than news of success stories, perhaps because in some way it makes us feel less guilty about our own indiscretions - there’s some consolation in knowing that we’re not alone in our failings! But how sad it is when the bad news in the press and other media arouses more interest than the good news of the Gospel.
Jesus himself was also interested in bad news but for different reasons. He actively sought the company of those considered outcasts from society – take for example his meeting with Zaccheus, a wealthy tax collector who exploited others for his own gain. As a Jewish tax collector, employed by the Romans, he was despised as a traitor and classed along with prostitutes, thieves and murderers. He’d heard about Jesus and was curious to see him, but he was so small that he had to climb a tree to see over the crowds. Jesus saw him and called him down by name saying ‘Hurry because I must stay at your house today.
The people were angered by this, but Jesus was more interested in who Zacchaeus was and his potential, rather than the angry crowds who were focussed only on his failings. Jesus didn’t demand repentance before eating with him, but subsequently, Zaccheus did make public amends for his wrongdoing. The story illustrates how, by welcoming everyone and eating with them, Jesus gave them the opportunity to express remorse in an atmosphere of acceptance. I wonder how good are we at accepting and welcoming others, despite what the crowds think?
Merciful Father, help us to grow continually in your spirit of acceptance and forgiveness. Amen