Readings for Tuesday November 17, 2009
Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, religious
First Reading: 2 Maccabees 6:18-31
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 3
Gospel: Luke 19:1-10
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 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.” (Lk 19:4-10)
I have always enjoyed the story of Zacchaeus the little tax collector. I admire his determination and persistence in seeing Jesus. I am amazed at how quick he came to repent and to do penance for the things he had done. It is clear that Zacchaeus wasn't truly a bad person at heart, he was simply without hope. This man probably didn't even have a strong reason to live a good life, who even knows what motivated him before he met Jesus. I am willing to bet that Zacchaeus was driven by money and greed like most of the other tax collectors at the time. But while he may have given in to the greed, it is clear that this is not what was in Zacchaeus' heart.
I think that it is amazing the changes that can happen once the hope of Christ is introduced into someone's life. Today, when Jesus accepted Zacchaeus, his heart was instantly converted. Zacchaeus had found the hope that he was so desperately searching for, and was he willing to go any distance or climb any height (or tree) just catch a glimpse of it. Like the story of Zacchaeus, we have many great examples in the bible and of the saints that show how much the hope of Christ can change us and lead us to eternal life.
Zacchaeus shows us today the power that hope can bring in our lives, may we never lose the hope of Christ which is the fuel of our faith.
Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, we thank you for all that we have and all that we are. Lord, may we always place our hope and our trust in you; may we always seek first to serve and honor you in all that we do. We pray for all of our priests and religious, may they be strengthened in their ministries and in their vows. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.