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Saturday, November 3, 2007

Jesus and Zacchaeus

We know from Luke's Gospel for this Sunday that Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector, a wealthy man, short of stature, and one who was seeking Jesus, seeking at least to see who Jesus was. His desire was strong enough to allow him to put aside all human respect and run ahead and climb a sycamore tree "in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way."
His desire is not only realized, but Jesus looked up and said, "Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house."
Jesus has invited himself; he is responding to a deep desire he knows that Zacchaeus has to see who Jesus was. Jesus also responds to our deepest desires to see him. He invites himself into our hearts. Do we receive him with joy? The Gospel tells us that Zacchaeus "came down quickly and received him with joy."
When the crowd saw this, they began to grumble, saying, "He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner." How does Zacchaeus respond? With great generosity. He tells the Lord that he will give half of his possessions to the poor and if he has extorted anything from anyone, he will repay it four times over! He has seen Jesus and this is enough to convert him. He wants to be with Jesus and Jesus tells us that "Today salvation has come to this house...the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost."

I am putting the Sunday Gospel reflection on early as many prefer to prepare the Mass on Saturday. This gives us today to enkindle the desire that Zacchaeus had in our own hearts!

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