November 18, 2014

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. Jorge A. Santiago, Jr.):

          As the saying goes, “one thing that is constant is change.” We continue to experience this in our lives. Like a flowing river, the water that passes by will not be the same as the water that is yet to come. God continues to invite each one of us to participate in this change, to love Him more each day and that love should grow deeper as time passes by.

          In the Gospel today, God chose to stay with Zaccheus. Putting myself in the shoes of Zaccheus, I would feel so delighted. With this event, I can not help but feel excited about it. A tax collector during those times was considered as a sinner and very few people would relate to them. The joy that it brought to him already made a shift from an expectator, up in the tree, to an instant sensation. Jesus chose to stay with him.

          Few days ago, we celebrated All Saints Day.  A day of feasting with all the saints. If we look at the lives of all the saints, we could see that there was change. From bad to good, from good to better and from better to best in the eyes of God.  

          My formation here in the seminary is a constant change. The person I am right now is not the same person I was 5 years ago. Tremendous changes happen as days pass by. The joys that I experienced surpassed the hardships and trials that came. Life was not that easy but with God’s grace that accompanied me throughout the years, it was all worth it. 

          I feel that responding to God is not enough, it is my continuous response that will make change happen. It is not enough that I go down from my own tree. I need to be able to change my relationship with God, to change my disposition and relationship with others, but most of all, to acknowledge that I am a sinner that needs to be forgiven. Being invited by God doesn’t make me more or less of a person. It is the action that I do after the invitation that matters.  Zaccheus knew he was a sinner and he was able to act accordingly from his own will to change his ways. To let go of all things that blinded him from seeing God. But it was the faith of Zaccheus that led to his conversion, to the change.

          A few days from now, the Church will be preparing and celebrating one of the joyous seasons. Like the joy and anticipation that Zaccheus had, this I believe is the same attitude and mindset that God is inviting me to have; the continuous joy of knowing that God will come to my life in  different ways everyday, that He continues to introduce Himself in a way that will always blow my mind away in awe, and finding joy in sorrow in the most painful experience that life could bring.

           Maybe the challenges for everyone are: How are we preparing for the joy that God continues to invite from us?  How do we cope with the changes that God is creating in our lives everyday?  How do we respond to God’s call? Let us continue to ask for God’s grace that He may grant us a steadfast faith to be able to withstand the trials that may come our way. The grace to be able to accept things in the way God sees it and a loving heart that knows only how to give love and channel God’s love to those in need. It is the joy of changing for God that makes a difference. Let us ask the intercession of our blessed Mother, Mary to pray for us constantly, so that we will be able to receive fully the graces that her Son is pouring upon us. Amen.

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