November 17, 2020 (Tuesday of Week 33 Year II: St. Elizabeth of Hungary)
To seek out…
Dear friends in Christ, the encounter of Jesus with Zacchaeus is a mission to save the lost but that applies to humanity in general too. Jesus has come to gather all back home to the father, will you respond like Zacchaeus?
In today’s Gospel (Luke 19:1-10) Jesus was in Jericho on his way to Jerusalem, he meets Zacchaeus, a short but wealthy tax collector. At the beginning of the story, Zacchaeus was looking for Jesus, but it was Jesus who found Zacchaeus and will be a guest in his house. Zacchaeus was hated by the Jews, being a senior tax collector. Materially he was rich, but spiritually and socially, he was very poor. As someone working for the Romans, his job made him an enemy of his own people. Though despised by the people, when he heard that Jesus was passing by, he decided he must see him. Because of his height, he ran ahead of the crowd and climbed a tree. When Jesus came to the tree, he stopped, looked up and called, “Zacchaeus make haste and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” The man hurried down and welcomed Jesus joyfully. This gesture of Jesus, was enough to change the life of Zacchaeus and to offer him salvation.
In his speech, Zacchaeus took steps to show that he was a changed man, he had made a wonderful friend in Jesus; so took the decision and made a promise, to give half of his goods to the poor; from the other half, he will make restitution for any fraud he had committed. “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” That is the effect, of the loving visit of Jesus to the sinner; for he has “come to seek out and to save what was lost.”
Note that Jesus did not demand repentance and restitution from Zacchaeus, before sitting down at table to eat with him. Jesus overlooked his wrongdoings in the hope that he will repent. And indeed Zacchaeus was moved to repentance. Jesus comes to you too, in his word and the Eucharist, will you show your appreciation, by making a new resolution to repent of your sins, and change your way of life? Can your resolution also include restitution, as a sign that you are truly sorry for what you have done, and want a clear break from the past? The Lord stands at the door of your heart and he calls to you like Zacchaeus to come down from the tree of sin and death. “Today, salvation has come to this house…”
Let us pray: Just like Zacchaeus, may you experience that salvation which comes from Christ. Amen. May the Almighty God bless you, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen