The Gospel Today
Thirty-Third Tuesday in Ordinary Time
At that time Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town.
Now a man there named Zacchaeus,
who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man,
was seeking to see who Jesus was;
but he could not see him because of the crowd,
for he was short in stature.
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus,
who was about to pass that way.
When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said,
“Zacchaeus, come down quickly,
for today I must stay at your house.”
And he came down quickly and received him with joy.
When they saw this, they began to grumble, saying,
“He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.”
But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord,
“Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor,
and if I have extorted anything from anyone
I shall repay it four times over.”
And Jesus said to him,
“Today salvation has come to this house
because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.
For the Son of Man has come to seek
and to save what was lost.”
Reflection (Sem. Maximilian B. Estayo)
I am amazed at the devotion many Filipinos have to the so-called “AlDub” love team, made up of two youths who charm their way to people’s hearts with their dimples and cute pairing. Perhaps devotion is an understatement because people are simply crazy for this pair – they come in droves to watch their shows, even setting a world record for tweets expressing their fondness for the couple.
I wonder whether we have that same fervor for our faith, specifically for God. We read in today’s Gospel Zacchaeus, who reminds us it is possible to be passionate about God. Let’s call it madness. He ran ahead of the crowd and climbed up a tree to make sure he would catch sight of Jesus. When he was finally in audience before the Lord, he swore to offer half of his possessions for all persons he had wronged as a reparation for his sins – Jesus had not insinuated that he do so.
I might consider as my own madness for God the time I was contemplating to enter the seminary. I couldn’t stand to be somewhere else other than the church to hear Mass every day. Even when I was at work, my thoughts were about God and not the task before me. I would use up my leave credits to have solo retreats. When finally I decided to leave my job and enter the seminary, I did hear a colleague, who was very much aware of my circumstances in life, say, “Are you out of your mind?”
I am glad I did what I did because I can only be crazy for God once. I understand that the zeal has to be so heightened that I would have the courage to make a decision for God. Otherwise, if it was too weak or if I had just let the passion die, I simply would have backed off and therefore never would have had the chance to experience seminary life and know whether God was calling me.
At the end of that decision really is having the opportunity to encounter God. Just like Zacchaeus, I have come to a face-to-face meeting with Jesus because I allowed my passion to drive me straight to His doorstep.