This week let us focus primarily on

TODAY’S GOSPEL [LUKE 19: 1 – 10]. There are three points which could be neglected but do have a connection with something we made much of in last week’s reflection – the place where we are. Where did Zacchaeus place himself.

In the tree, but why did he climb the tree? Well we are given the answer –

“because he was small of stature.” Like the tax collector from last Sunday, Zacchaeus accepted the reality of his personal condition and circumstances. It was this acceptance which was the start of his encounter with Jesus. We should not miss the fact that on two successive Sundays, Luke’s version of the Gospel uses tax collectors to communicate important lessons which we should take to heart.

We continue with the given fact that our short man

“sought to see who Jesus was”– and wanted “to see him.” Zacchaeus had heard about Jesus but needed to know more. I have, all my life, heard about Jesus – I was born into a devout Catholic family and home, attended (at great sacrifice by my parents) a Catholic school, went to the seminary, was ordained a priest and have spent more than 50-years preaching about him.

How often have I sought to see

WHO Jesus was? Then, in my seeking have I WANTED to SEE This week let us focus primarily on TODAY’S GOSPEL [LUKE 19: 1 – 10]. There are three points which could be neglected but do have a connection with something we made much of in last week’s reflection – the place where we are. Where did Zacchaeus place himself.

In the tree, but why did he climb the tree? Well we are given the answer –

“because he was small of stature.” Like the tax collector from last Sunday, Zacchaeus accepted the reality of his personal condition and circumstances. It was this acceptance which was the start of his encounter with Jesus. We should not miss the fact that on two successive Sundays, Luke’s version of the Gospel uses tax collectors to communicate important lessons which we should take to heart.

We continue with the given fact that our short man

“sought to see who Jesus was”– and wanted “to see him.” Zacchaeus had heard about Jesus but needed to know more. I have, all my life, heard about Jesus – I was born into a devout Catholic family and home, attended (at great sacrifice by my parents) a Catholic school, went to the seminary, was ordained a priest and have spent more than 50-years preaching about him. How often have I sought to see WHO Jesus was? Then, in my seeking have I WANTED to SEE

him?” Have I merely helped people to hear about Jesus but has this contributed to them seeking to see who Jesus is and wanting to see him?

Zacchaeus, we are told,

“climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see him.” I am arrested by the little word into. He did not simply climb the tree but he WENT INTO IT. It is no good merely hearing the rain fall if we want it to make us wet – we have to go outside and walk in it. The same is true about the wind – if we want it to blow in our faces we have to face it. Three weeks ago I made reference to the Wind of the Word and reminded all of us about Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus who knew a great deal about the intricacies of his faith but failed to understand that he had to go out into the wind, to feel it and be exhilarated otherwise he would never know who Jesus was. Zacchaeus had faced who and what he wasand then determined to get himself out into the wind and rain so he went into the tree.

I have to get

INSIDE the skin of Jesus – simply hearing about him, no matter how often or regularly, will not achieve this. In TODAY’S NEW TESTAMENT READING [2 THESSALONIANS 1: 11 – 2:2] Saint Paul tells us that to be “worthy of his call … and fulfil … the work of faith” is to ensure that “the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” is glorified in us.

The second ‘little point’ from our Gospel extract is

the fact that “when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him …. come down, for I must stay at your house today.” When we ‘place’ ourselves correctly (the proper attitude of mind and heart) the Lord becomes fully aware of our presence – no matter where we may be. In addition, he immediately invites himself into our place and there he makes himself a guest.

The invitation issued by Jesus makes the words of

OUR OLD TESTAMENT READING [WISDOM 11: 22 – 12:2] come alive. “You are merciful to all … you can do all things … you love all things … you would not have made anything if you had hated it.” The Lord makes it clear, even in the face of public disapproval, {“when they saw it they all murmured”} that even Zacchaeus is loved. “He also is a son of Abraham.” Do not overlook the fact that the murmuring crowd is an image of the self-righteous Pharisee from last Sunday’s Gospel.

Finally, notice that Jesus invites the tax collector –

“make haste and come down.” Then we hear that Zacchaeus “made haste and came down.” He heard what he had to do and he did it – he came down and faced the future. However, he began his future not only with a change in living but he also “stood” against the murmuring of the crowd. Most important of all is the fact that “He received him joyfully.”

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