Increasing your oneness

By Ryann Kuykendall

Imagine the one person you absolutely can’t stand. Now think of Jesus inviting himself to a private dinner in this person’s home. Next visualize Jesus happily sitting on a couch to talk with him or Jesus cooking dinner in her kitchen. In Luke 19: 1-10, it is written that Jesus did just this. Jesus invited himself into Zaccheaus’s house. Zaccheaus lived life as a hated man, a tax collector, but when Jesus asked Zaccheaus to follow, he did so without hesitation. With that first step towards Jesus, Zaccheaus became a new man, a man of God.

During the retreat, “Treasuring Jesus’ Examples of Healing and Justice,” this was the most difficult of the four readings for many to accept happily. The other three readings were Luke 18 1-8, Luke 7: 11-17 and Luke 18: 35-43. Denise Simone and Cele Breen led the retreat last month at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church.

Even now my blood starts to boil thinking of my particular person with Jesus. But isn’t that the challenge He gave us? Love. It can be corny and full of good feelings or it can be the greatest trial. Jesus lived a life of love and thankfully we are left with written accounts. The rest is up to us. What do we do with His message?

During the retreat a radiant 92 year-old nun sitting next to me softly asked, “Please help to increase my oneness,” while handing me a pen and paper. She wanted my name and number. It was then that it all came together. Jesus told his parables, raised the dead, cured the blind and had dinner with the hated to increase our oneness. What a beautiful part of being. The widows in Luke 18:1-8 and Luke 7: 11-17 were alone. They were invisible outcasts. So was the blind man of Luke 18: 35-43 yet they all three kept praying, kept their faith. Then there are people like Zaccheaus who seem to not have faith, only bad attitudes. Yet they are just as much loved by God as you or I. As much as we may not like our Zaccheaus-like person, we are called to love him or her and invite him or her out of “tree” to a life with Jesus.

Our retreat leaders, Simone and Breen, asked thoughtful questions of us. They asked us what are some ways that we can, like the widow in Luke 7: 11-17, act of character for the sake of justice? Who might be desperately screaming to us for our attention or concern? Who might be “lost” and need to be returned to their place as children of God? How do we bring them back as our brothers and sisters? Who might “fall out of a tree” if we asked them for hospitality and sat down with them today?

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