November 15, 2016
Tuesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
The Gospel Today
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. Mark Ian V. Abu)
As chief tax collector working for the Romans whom people hated so much in those times, Zacchaeus was considered a public sinner and the Pharisees taught the people to avoid someone like him. But amidst this public sentiment Zacchaeus longed to see Jesus and decided to climb a tree to fulfill his desire. Jesus saw him and invited him to dine in his house which received too much condemnation from the people around because this Jesus, known to be holy would enter a sinner’s house. All the while Zacchaeus thought that he was looking for Jesus, only to find out that Jesus was looking for him. He wanted to know who Jesus was, only to discover that Jesus knew who he was.
We have many similarities with Zacchaeus. Our sinfulness made us also far from the Lord and made us hateful from the sight of others. And many times also in our life we longed to seek the Lord, to know who really is He. But, like Zacchaeus, Jesus is the one looking and longing for us more than we do. He is also inviting us today to receive Him in our house, in the inner part of our lives so that He may let us feel how to be accepted and loved despite our sinfulness. If we will just allow Jesus to enter in our hearts, we will realize that there will be no words of condemnation from Him, we will not hear any lecture on how to be righteous. All that He brings is His mercy and love.
Too often we are harshly judgmental in our attitude towards others and ourselves. We keep purifying ourselves to be worthy of the Lord only to know that God loves the sinner as He loves the saint. This maybe shocking, yet also liberating to know that salvation comes primarily from God’s initiative and goodness and not from our own useless efforts of self-justification. God’s love and mercy is truly an experience of unbelievable love, of an overflowing love and our response, like Zacchaeus, is also an overflow of goodness.