03 November 2019. Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reflection (Sem. Keith R. Buenaventura)
I was raised in a poor community, which motivated me to strive in my study. My parent’s priority is education for us, their children, to have a better future; thus, I exceled so much so that I became the valedictorian, giving me opportunity to scholarship. I took BS Applied Mathematics in Ateneo de Manila University against my will since I desired to enter seminary after high school. However, it gave me a big opportunity for growth and to help my family. I also finished Master in Applied Mathematics. I then worked as Investment Risk Analyst at Bank of the Philippine Islands from 2012 to 2016. While working, I started to search for the meaning of life until I decided to go back to my first dream. After serious search and discernment, I decided to enter HASS in 2016. In the seminary, I got to experience the true meaning of my life.
I can relate very much to the story of Zacchaeus in the Gospel of Luke. He was short in stature so he climbed the sycamore tree which is about 30 to 40 feet high. Climbing a tree was risky. People could have stoned him once they recognized him as the chief tax collector for the Romans who, among Jews at that time, consider him as an enemy of the people, collaborator and sinner. He was desperate for a cure for his meaningless life. So he made himself vulnerable to the public by climbing the sycamore tree.
When we follow Jesus, it was Jesus who would enter our house – our life – and choose to defile Himself. Jesus is the real host. He means to dine with us. His love is an inclusive love. By giving half of his wealth to the poor and promising to pay back everyone he defrauded four times, Zacchaeus went beyond what was expected of him. Why did he do it? Because he found the meaning of his life in Jesus. In my life, I also search for its meaning and I find it in Jesus too.
The Gospel Today
Luke 19: 1 -10
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 all 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.”