Who’s Looking for Whom?

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Tuesday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

 

Luke 19:1-10

He 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: Good Jesus, I believe that you desire to spend this time with me much more than I know. I also wish to be with you, to open my heart to you, to receive your word, and to let you find and make your home in me. I trust in you. I love you. Come Holy Spirit, help me to pray. 

 

Encountering Christ

 

  1. A Seeker: There seems to be a contradiction in the first few lines of this passage. First, the evangelist Luke told us that Jesus “intended to pass through the town.” Then, “when Jesus reached the place,” he stopped. The reason his plans changed had a name: Zacchaeus. This little man with a great heart had the power to “change” Jesus’ course, to catch his eye. What was it in Zacchaeus’s heart that drew Jesus to him? Or was it the other way around—what was it about Jesus of Nazareth, a poor carpenter-turned-rabbi, a young but charismatic miracle worker, that attracted wealthy and preoccupied Zacchaeus? This passage expresses the timeless dynamic of the utter attraction of God to the soul who seeks him. Zacchaeus was a seeker, and no obstacle, not even the hustling crowds or his short stature, would keep him from that search. 
  2. Zacchaeus Sought Jesus: Faith is kept alive not only in spiritual dispositions. It takes flesh and grows through concrete actions, daily choices. Zacchaeus sought Jesus in the midst of the crowd; he persevered through the difficulties and sought to overcome them. He saw where Jesus was going, ran ahead, and scurried up the tree, perching himself among the branches both to see and, probably, to be seen. What could Zacchaeus’s story have been had he never chosen and taken these actions? The Lord forever invites, never forces his invitation. Zacchaeus’s proactivity opened his heart to receive the Lord as he passed by. 
  3. Jesus Sought Zacchaeus: None of Zacchaeus’s efforts were lost on Jesus. What must have been in Jesus’ heart as he set out on the road that day, knowing he would meet Zacchaeus? Did he see him running ahead, finding just the right sycamore tree to hold him up and let him see? How did he respond to Zacchaeus’s utter delight and surprise–almost defiance before the incredulity of the crowds–insisting that his conversion was real, that he was willing to amend his life and live his newfound faith with authenticity? This is the faith that draws the heart of God to the sinner, to the child in need—that was Zacchaeus and that is you and I. 

 

Conversing with Christ: Jesus, you affirmed to Zacchaeus that you had come to seek and to save the lost. You speak this truth to my heart, too: you never tire of going out to seek me. I wish to seek you, too. Strengthen me by your grace to take daily, concrete actions which will open my heart and help me to receive your invitations. And may my faith, sincere though feeble, draw you to me, too. I need you, Lord, and I need you to never tire of seeking me out. 

 

Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will look for and take concrete actions that will strengthen my faith and openness to you. 

 

For Further Reflection: Today’s saint, Gertrude the Great, had a tender devotion to the Heart of Christ. Read more about her here

 

Beth Van de Voorde is a Regnum Christi Consecrated Woman, currently serving in pastoral ministry to families in Madrid, Spain. When she’s not reading Ratzinger or humming along to some song or another, you may find her making her pilgrim way through Spain’s timeless history of faith, walking alongside the beautiful families she’s there to serve.

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