Whatsoever is Holy on Sunday of the 31st Week of Ordinary Time
I’m going to call her Rahab. That’s not her name. I don’t really know her name.
And today’s Readings aren’t about Rahab, not really.
They are about Zacchaeus and the town of Jericho where the little man climbed into a Sycamore tree so that he could see the Lord Jesus as He passed by.
Zacchaeus was despised. People had reason to despise him. He ripped them off. Pilfered. Bamboozled. He took their money. (Luke 19)
It’s a New Testament story, but I’m thinking of a woman in the Old Testament from this same area. Rahab. She was overlooked. Had a room for rent. Some say she was a prostitute. I don’t know. All I know is that they probably underestimated her ability to change history. She was despised, at least a little. A woman. Someone of little consequence.
I’m fascinated by the theme: Something Old, Something New.
But what really gets me excited is the fact that the place still exists. Visit Israel today on a pilgrimage, and you will see the sign. Jerusalem, that direction. Jericho, this direction.
Oh, it’s not a big city. There isn’t a towering wall around Jericho. But some things haven’t changed. There are still some around who want to get a glimpse of the Christians, those who come in the name of Jesus.
There are some who are despised there.
The day we were there, some young lads swarmed all around us as we sought a glimpse of the monastery on the mountain, the same mountain of Jesus’ temptation.
The mountain that is just a few miles from that ancient and new city of Jericho.
The guide said something to them, pulled out a bill and handed it to them, and clearly gave them the signal to back off. The boys were quieter, but they remained undaunted.
As the boys continued to beg, I saw her. She wasn’t trying to be seen, not like Zacchaeus of old. She was just along. The boys were clearly in charge.
She was just a girl.
But she is the one that caught my eye.
I had to do it carefully, or the boys would know what I was up to. I surreptitiously reached into my hidden pouch and took out some money. I snapped a picture of the girl. At first she barely smiled. Then I took another, and another. Now she was grinning. And I gave her the money.
The girl skipped away, down the dusty road, and the boys ran after her.
I didn’t know what would happen next. Would God protect little Rahab? Did He have His eye on her. I hoped I hadn’t made it more difficult on her, but I wanted to see a little justice done that day.
I wanted the girl to know that I noticed her.
I saw her.
It’s the story of Jericho. God saw Rahab. And in His justice, He saved her. God saw Zacchaeus. And in His mercy, He called to him.
Justice and mercy kissed.
And a little girl danced along the dusty road, while the boys ran behind and wondered.