Rejoice with Jesus

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Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious

 

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.”

 

Opening Prayer: Lord, thank you for this chance to pray. Thank you for giving me the gift of faith, because I know that many live without it. Help me in this moment to see the world the way you see it, and to love like you love. Draw me close to your heart.

 

Encountering Christ:

 

  1. Nothing to Lose: Ironically, a reputation of sinfulness or weakness can sometimes become an asset. Zacchaeus was almost universally disliked because he gathered taxes from his people for the Romans. Because few liked him, he did not have to worry about impressing anyone. When Jesus came to town, a more respectable person might have thought twice about climbing a tree, but Zacchaeus had no such inhibition. He wanted to see Jesus passing by. And because Zacchaeus forgot himself enough to climb that tree, he caught Jesus’s attention, which ended up being the biggest blessing of his life.

 

  1. The Encounter: When Christ saw that short little man looking down at him from a tree–dressed in clothes far too nice for tree climbing–he did not ignore Zacchaeus, or laugh, or point him out to the crowd. Instead, he took Zacchaeus seriously. Indeed, Zacchaeus was the one with whom he chose to have dinner—not the Pharisees, nor the upstanding citizens in the area, nor even the lowly ones. Christ will never laugh at our efforts to reach him, no matter how ridiculous we feel or may seem to others. He is always seeking to grow in intimacy with us.

 

  1. Imagine the Joy: When Zacchaeus repented and offered restitution, Jesus exclaimed, “Today salvation has come to this house.” Jesus had come to save what had been lost, and in Zacchaeus his mission had been fulfilled. Nothing makes Our Lord happier than the return of a lost sheep! He says to us, “Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep” (Luke 15:6). We can share that joy with Jesus by reaching out on his behalf to others he places in our lives. When we act according to his will, Jesus can change the lives of those for whom we pray and those we serve. What joy!

 

Conversing with Christ: Lord, increase my faith, hope, and love. I want to be your envoy to those in need of your presence in their lives. Help me to notice them, to greet them, to befriend them and to serve them in your name. 

 

Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will make one little public act of faith, whether it be making the sign of the cross in front of a church or saying “God bless” to someone. 

 

For Further Reflection: 

The Litany of Humility

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved…
From the desire of being extolled …
From the desire of being honored …
From the desire of being praised …
From the desire of being preferred to others…
From the desire of being consulted …
From the desire of being approved …
From the fear of being humiliated …
From the fear of being despised…
From the fear of suffering rebukes …
From the fear of being calumniated …
From the fear of being forgotten …
From the fear of being ridiculed …
From the fear of being wronged …
From the fear of being suspected …

That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I …
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease …
That others may be chosen and I set aside …
That others may be praised and I unnoticed …
That others may be preferred to me in everything…

 

Written by Brother Riley Connors.

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