Thinking outside the box
For others, “thinking outside the box” is just a cover story for lazy, undisciplined thinking or for rejecting any “box” that impedes their own autonomy.
In today’s Gospel, we have two people who think outside the box – with salvific results.
Zacchaeus is a short man who is blocked by the crowd from seeing our Lord. He thinks “outside the box” and climbs a tree.
Zacchaeus is also a tax collector, hated by the people not only for filling the coffers of the Roman oppressors, but also because tax collectors often used extortion and other crimes to make their quotas (and also fill their own pockets).
Jesus thinks "outside the box." He recognizes Zacchaeus’ interest as an opportunity to save another lost soul and indeed, salvation comes to Zacchaeus’ house.
In our baptism, we too have been commissioned to carry on Christ’s mission of seeking out and, by his grace, saving those who are lost.
To do this, we must think "outside the box:" to break out of our habits, daily routines, social barriers, and personal preferences in order to reach out to people who really need to hear the truth of Christ.
As we look at the world today, we are sometimes very discouraged. Yet, as today’s first reading reminds us, the power and mercy of God is still at work in the world, extending the possibilities of repentance and redemption not only for ourselves (who need it so badly) but also for the whole world.
We are to be instruments of the Lord in this sometimes darkening world, helping others to repentance and redemption. To borrow Lincoln’s phrase, “we must think anew and act anew” – think outside the box – being always faithful to the truth and to our mission of sharing that truth with others in the name of Jesus.