November 19, 2013

The Gospel Today 

Tuesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time

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 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. Julius de Gracia):

Zacchaeus, make haste and come down: for I must stay at your house today.”(Lk. 19:5)

     More than anyone else it is Jesus who know us better than ourselves. Jesus knows what is in our very hearts. That is why when we are in deep trouble even a “deep sigh or buntong hininga” Jesus already knew not just what we want but what we need. Whatever is the situation of your life right now believe and claim that Jesus is with you, if you are weeping now, Jesus weeps with you, He knows our joys too – thus this very moment Jesus is rejoicing with you too.

     Our gospel character today is small in stature but he has a splendid want and need at that moment, and that is to see Jesus. Perhaps Zacchaeus just want to see this Jesus that is why he climbed the sycamore tree. For Zacchaeus to see Jesus is enough, while for Jesus more than that “He wanted to be with and to stay” with Zaccheaus.

    Even with all the actions, running, climbing the sycamore tree and undermining the people, Jesus is more interested than Zaccheaus. Jesus initiated the connection, as he said “Hurry down Zaccheaus, because I must stay in your house today.” That is how interested Jesus is,… with you and me, today and every day of our lives. Despite and in spite of our sinfulness, Jesus is willing to accept you and me, to forgive us so that we can start a new with God the Father in Jesus.

     I want you to reflect with me further, more than the identity of Zaccheaus in our gospel let us see and look at the “sycamore tree”; it was the way, style, approach and the means of Zaccheaus to see and how to get near to Jesus. Nobody was hurt or rights violated with that kind of means.

     That is why it’s good to examine ourselves and ask, How about me? What are my “sycamore trees?” in life that either leads me or hinder me to listen, obey and follow Christ Jesus, through the Church? Possibly our sycamore trees, could be our knowledge, our talent, relationships, ideas, positions, wealth, power and honor. Where do these sycamore trees lead us? Are we going nearer to Christ or are we taken far off? Will it gain the approval of Jesus and thus say to us as well, like that of Zaccheaus, “Yes, __________ (state your name)  I will stay with you…today salvation has come to this house…

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