Climb That Sycamore Tree: Learning How to Live From the Blind Man of Jericho and Zachaeus
Where is Jesus passing by through in our own lives? He always shows up for those who have their spiritual eyes opened to see Him
Zaccheus teaches us to learn to listen for the voice of God in our personal lives and respond without holding anything back. He also teaches us to look for Jesus along the road of life.The Christian life is about God's action and our response to what He is already doing. Jesus reminds us "You did not choose me, but I chose you" (John 15:16). Zaccheus serves to remind us of who does the choosing and who does the responding.
Zachaeus in the Sycamore tree
CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - As we round the bend toward the end of the Liturgical Year of the church and approach the Feast of Christ the King, our daily readings at Mass focus us on what matters most, our relationship with Jesus Christ. The two stories,one concerning the blind man of Jericho (Mondays Gospel account, Luke 18: 35-43) and the other the man little of stature named Zachaeus, (Tuesdays Gospel account, Luke 19:1-10) are rich with allegory and lessons for our own lives.
They both invite us to reflect upon how we can identify with these wonderful men and learn from their response to the Savior. Father Stephen Reynolds beautiful Monday Homily entitled "Lord, Please Let Me See", opens up the example of the blind man for us here. I want to focus on the story we hear on Tuesday which helps us to further learn the life lesson. It presents us with one of my favorite biblical characters, the man who was small of stature but large of heart. His name was Zacchaeus. Both of these men humbly understood their own lack and recognized their need for a Savior. They both lived their circumstances with bold and dynamic faith. Do we?
Where is Jesus passing through in our own lives? He always shows up for those who have their spiritual eyes opened to see Him. How about in our workplace? How about in our relationships? How about in our families? Are we running out to meet Him? Or are we afraid? Are we wondering "if we see Him, what will He ask of us?" The invitation of this story is to climb that Sycamore Tree; to find the place that will make it possible for us to see Jesus
The 'Good News' is that no matter what has happened in our past, Jesus walks into the dusty streets of our own lives this day.
In the last chapter of the Gospel of St John we read these words: "There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written." (John 21:25) This verse underscores the importance of the stories that are actually recorded in the Gospels. The people to whom we are introduced have been selected from among many others who most certainly encountered Jesus for a purpose. They can put us in touch with the Lord, with ourselves and with the very purpose of our lives.
Upon prayer and reflection, they are meant to become an invitation to conversion. St. Jose Maria Escriva once wrote "I advised you to read the New Testament for some minutes every day, and to enter into each scene and take part in it, as one more of the characters. This is so that you incarnate the Gospel, so that it is "fulfilled" in your life. and "make others fulfill it" (Furrow #672).
St. Luke introduces us to a tax collector named Zacchaeus. "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 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."(More than what the Law required) 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." (St. Luke 9:1-10)
Israel was under Roman occupation. An unfair tax was extracted by people like Zaccheus who worked for the oppressor. They earned their living by adding an extra surcharge for themselves. These Jews were considered traitors. However, they were still Jews, sons of the Covenant and children of Abraham, trying to make a living. Zaccheus was not unlike some of us in our own day, separating "what we do" from "who we are". "After all" we may tell ourselves, "we are simply trying to make a living."
Yet Zaccheus wanted to see Jesus more than he wanted to maintain his economic comfort. Jesus knew that. He had come to Jericho that day seeking to save the lost. He knew Zaccheus like He knows each one of us. The "crowds" around Zaccheus may have deemed him as unworthy of the encounter that was about to occur but God did not see him this way. Jesus saw Zaccheus' heart and he drew him ...
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