Homily of Archbishop in the Te Deum of May 25

“Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. There lived a very rich man named Zacchaeus, was chief of the publicans. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, because he was short. Then forward and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, for he was to pass that way. Upon reaching that place, Jesus looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I have to stay at your house.” he came down quickly and received him with joy ..

Seeing this, they all murmured, saying, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus said to the Lord: “Lord, I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I hurt someone, I’ll give you four times.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a son of Abraham, for the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”

From the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 19:1-10

Perhaps as few times in our history, this society malherida awaits a new coming of the Lord. Wait healing and reconciling the entrance of the One who is the Way, Truth and Life. We have reason to expect. Do not forget that your step and his saving presence has been a constant in our history. We discovered the wonderful mark of his creative work in a nature of incomparable richness. God’s generosity is also reflected in the testimony of life of dedication and sacrifice of our fathers and forefathers, just as millions of faces and humble believers, our brothers, movers and shakers of the work and the heroic struggles, incarnation of the silent Spirit epic based peoples.

However, we live far from both deserve the gratitude gift received. What obscures this coming of the Lord? What makes it impossible to “taste and see the goodness of the Lord” (Ps. 34.9) to as freely on earth and men? What work opportunities to build on our Nation, the full encounter between the Lord, their gifts, and we? As in Jerusalem then, when Jesus crossed the city and the man named Zacchaeus could not see it from such a multitude, something prevents us see and feel their presence. In the evangelical scene gives us the key in terms of height and lowliness. High, because Zacchaeus heart outdone by the desire to see Jesus and, being small in stature, comes forward and climbs a sycamore. No talent, no wealth can replace a moral flatness or, in any case, if the problem is not moral-there look out for a low, hopeless, resigned to their limits, uncreative.

In this blessed land, our faults appear to have flattened our eyes. A sad inner pact was forged in the heart of many of those intended to defend our interests, with shocking consequences: guilt of his traps besets his wound and, instead of asking for the cure, persist and take refuge in the accumulation of power, in reinforcing the threads of a spider web that reality obscures increasingly painful. So people’s suffering and destruction that such games cause addicts to power and wealth for themselves are just pieces of a board, numbers, statistics and variables of a planning office. As such destruction grows, arguments seeking to justify and demand more sacrifices hiding behind the repeated phrase “no other choice” pretext used to drugging their consciences. Such spiritual and ethical chatura not survive without strengthening those with another old heart disease: the inability to feel guilt. The ambitious climbers, who after international diplomas and technical language, otherwise so easily interchangeable disguise their knowledge and their almost nonexistent precarious humanity.

As can hacérsenos aware Zacchaeus difficulty live our spiritual height: feel the weight of wasted time, missed opportunities, and a rejection surgirnos within this impotence to carry out our destiny, locked in our own contradictions. Indeed, it is common that against impotence and limits, we bow to the easy answer to delegate other representation and interest all by ourselves. As if the common good of others were a science, like politics, in turn, not a high and delicate way of exercising justice and charity. Short-sighted to see the passage of God among us, to feel gratified and worthy of many gifts, and have no qualms about enforcing them without losing our historical vocation noninvasive opening other sister.

As we too suffered Zacchaeus that shortsightedness. But the miracle happens: the evangelical character rises above mediocrity and located where jump height. Because of the pain and the proper limits is where you learn to grow better and our very evils from which we arise is a deep question: We have experienced enough pain to decide to break old patterns, giving up so ingrained attitudes and make foolish unleash our true potential? Do not we face an historic opportunity to review old and entrenched evils pose never finished, and work together? Do we need more blood to run the river, so that our wounded pride and failed to recognize his defeat?

Zacchaeus did not opt ​​for the resignation to their difficulties, did not give her chance to impotence, stepped forward, looked up from where you see better, and left to look for the Lord. Yes, let look for the Lord, let the pain impact for themselves and others; let failure take away poverty and prejudice, ideologisms, fashions that numb, and that-that way, we can feel the called: “Zacchaeus down soon.” This is the second key to this Gospel passage: Zacchaeus respond to Jesus to humble oneself calls. Get off your autosuficiencias, off the character invented by their wealth, get out of the trap mounted on its poor complex. Indeed, any spiritual height, no project of great hope, can become real if not built and is supported from below, from the abasement of self-interest, from the abasement patient and daily work that annihilates all arrogance.

Today more than ever, when the danger of national dissolution is at our doors, we can not allow inertia drag, we sterilize our impotence or threats amedrenten us. Try to locate where we can best meet the gaze of God in our consciences, join together face to face, recognizing our limitations and our possibilities. Do not let us return to the pride of the division between the interests centennial centralist living on financial speculation and, as before the port, and the imperative of promoting and fostering an interior now condemned to the “tourist attraction”. Let us not push the arrogance of internalism factious, the cruelest of national sports, in which, instead of enriching the confrontation of differences, the golden rule is to ruthlessly destroy the best of the proposals and achievements opponents. Let us not cut roads intransigence calculators (on behalf of such coherences that are not). Do not continue wallowing in the sad spectacle of those who no longer know how to lie and contradict to maintain their privileges, their rapacity and their ill-gotten gain share, while we lose our historic opportunities, and we locked ourselves in a dead end. As Zacchaeus must be encouraged to feel the call to go down: lower patient and consistent work, possessive unpretentious but with the urgency of solidarity.

We have lived much of fictions, believing himself to be in the first worlds, we drew “the golden calf” of consumer and traveler stability of some at the expense of the impoverishment of millions. When dark complicity in and out, they become irresponsible attitudes alibis do not hesitate to take things to the limit regardless of damage: Business suspects evade obligations washes, and supporters sectoral commitments that prevent a sovereign action, disinformation operatives confounding, and push into the destabilizing chaos when this happens to little use illusory temptation to demand scapegoats for the sake of the alleged emergence of a better class, pure magic … would climb another illusion. We acknowledge with sorrow that, among themselves and many Zacchaeus opposites, with different titles and functions; Zacchaeus who exchange roles in a scenario of greed almost authoritarian, sometimes with legitimate costume.

It is best to let the Zacchaeus is inside each of us is left to look for the Lord, and accept the invitation down. This is called the Gospel way of memory and hope. One who seeks and allowed to reach for the sublime results in a new joy, a chance of redemption. And Zacchaeus is redeemed, Sign cheerful invitation to all we can reconcile, God Himself. Login to sit at the table of all, that of social friendship. Nobody asked that publican that was what could not be, but just down the tree. You are asked to agree to the law as one more, to be brother and compatriot, who obey the law.

This must be achieved: law enforcement, our system works, that the banquet to which we are called by the Gospel is that place of meeting and living, working and we want to celebrate, and not “a coffee to step” interests “swallow” the world, those who arrive, extract and start. The law is the impassable condition of justice, solidarity and politics, and she takes care of us, going down the tree, not to fall into the temptation of violence, chaos, of revenge. Assume the pain of so much blood shed in vain in our history. Let’s open our eyes in time: a silent war being waged on our streets, the worst of all, the enemies of living and not seen each other since their interests intersect sordid handled by criminal organizations and God knows what else , taking advantage of social deprivation, the decline of the authority, the legal vacuum and impunity.

This is no time to be afraid and ashamed of ourselves, we are all a little Zacchaeus, and we all have enormous talents and values. We looked longingly natural resources, the brilliance of many compatriots dispersed, the silent and incredibly humble strength of a people defending their reserves and refuses to give up her faith and convictions, fighting against wear. Now or never seek an overhaul of our social bond, as so often claim to the whole of society and, as this publican sorry and happy, give free rein to our greatness, the greatness of give and give. The high demand is the resignation to want to have all the right; maintain privileges, to life and easy income, … to remain fools, dwarfs in spirit. As in the Gospel call, on numerous occasions we stopped visiting for God. There the great and sublime has arisen from us. There in society and proposed a longing, inescapable, to participate and monitor their own performance, as the day that we remember today that the commune was established in Cabildo.

Besides the jump to see Jesus and to follow your humble oneself then there is a third key invitation in the Gospel text: giving, be repairing the evil done. Zacchaeus is encouraged to return the ill-gotten and share. Like Zacchaeus converted this people feel the desire to “give half” and “restore it fourfold.” Want rescue fund your soul work and generous solidarity, struggle and conquest egalitarian social, creativity and celebration. We know that this people may accept humiliation, but the lie of being judged guilty for not recognizing the exclusion of twenty million hungry brothers and dignity trampled. If Zacchaeus, before being allowed to look for Jesus, devised a way for debtors to sink more and more, he could then claim alleged ethical obligations and exemplary punishment. Once converted must recognize its usurious scam, and return what he stole. Contemplate the end of the story: A Zacchaeus-matched to the law, living without complexes or costume with his brothers, living sitting by the Lord, let it flow initiatives confident and persevering, able to listen and dialogue, and especially of giving and share joy of being.

History tells us that many people rose from their ruins and abandoned their villainy like Zacchaeus. Must lead to time and record organizational and creative appeal unless the claim sterile, to illusions and promises, and devote ourselves to the firm and persevering action. This path flourishes hope, that hope which does not disappoint because it is God’s gift to the heart of our people. Today, more than ever, calls us hope. She inspires and gives us the strength to get up and let us look for God in humility abajarnos service, and giving ourselves give. At times we dream a call, the hope and delightfully magical. The path is simple: we just return to the Gospel, let us look like Zacchaeus, hearing the call to the common task, not disguise accept our limits but the joy of sharing, rather than the concern of hoarding. And then we will hear, addressed to our country, the word of the Lord: “Today salvation has come to this house … For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Lk 19: 10)

Buenos Aires, May 25, 2002.


Jorge Mario Bergoglio S.J.
Archbishop of Buenos Aires

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