November 18, 2008
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 to him, "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."
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I want to love you as Zacchaeus did. He put no limits on his love. He knew what it was to live a life of sin – how empty it was. Then he met you, and for the first time he felt fulfilled. Let me renew my self-offering to you today as though it were my first time.
Petition: Christ Jesus, teach me how to love you with a selfless love, holding nothing back and thus making you the center of my life.
1. Do Riches Truly Bring Peace and Fulfillment?
Zacchaeus was definitely not hurting financially. He had a steady job, probably a nice house, a decent family. What more could he need? Yet he was still dissatisfied. How many times do we read about the rich and famous and their problems? How can someone who has every material possession imaginable be so unhappy? Because man was not created for this earth: He journeys through it in order to reach his true home. Problems enter when man lives for the world, instead of simply in the world. St. Augustine said it perfectly when he said, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
2. Finding True Wealth
We are often so consumed with “having” that we forget the joy of simply “being.” If we were to take a few moments to be silent and contemplate the many gifts of God, we would see that his love truly is present in everything. Zacchaeus meets Christ in the most peculiar way. He climbs a tree to see if all the rumors he has heard are true, and when his eyes meet Christ’s, he is “sold.” At once he is convinced of his own unworthiness and of his need to right all the wrongs he has ever done. He is not convinced out of fear: he has seen for the first time the look of love and mercy – his true wealth that will last for eternity.
3. Time to Make a Choice
Every change in life takes courage and a good dose of humility. If someone never feels the need for a savior, why would he desire one? This is why suffering is so important in the life of a Christian. It makes him more human, more open to the grace of God. When someone looks at his life and recognizes areas of sin, he faces the decision: either to open up to God’s grace and grow with his grace, or to turn away from the loving and inviting gaze of our Lord.
Conversation with Christ: Lord, I desire to know you better, because if I knew you better I couldn’t help but love you more. Lord, in moments of darkness and confusion, may I turn to you for consolation. In moments of light and joy, may I turn to you to thank you for your mercy and glorify your infinite kindness.
Resolution: Today, I will take 10 extra minutes to sit in silence, contemplating the many blessings God has given me.
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