Tuesday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial Feast: Saint Elizabeth of Hungary (1207-+1231) Patron Saint of Hospitals and Nurses
Book of Revelation 3:1-6, 14-22; Psalm 15:22-3a, 3bc-4ab, 5; Luke 19:1-10
I have always loved today's Gospel from Saint Luke. It is a good story that has a great ending. Luke gives us a bit of comic relief, it seems, with Zacchaeus, the "short" tax collector, and his persistence in getting a glimpse of this Jesus person everyone has been talking about. Zacchaeus not only lacks physical stature, however but moral uprightness. He is a wealthy chief tax collector, and he was made so by exploiting the people of his jurisdiction. This is where the tension of the story begins to build. Jesus is happy to see him and, further, elects to dine with him. Once again, Jesus defies traditional expectations. However, look at the results of His actions; we have Zacchaeus' conversion of heart! More importantly, he pledges to repay everything he has extorted four times over.
The invitation for us is conversion at any level. Luke's narrative reveals a change of heart from an unanticipated individual. Zacchaeus was a tax collector who, most assuredly, was disliked by his fellow citizens of Jericho. Interestingly, Jesus didn't have to do all that much more than invite himself to dinner. It was Zacchaeus who moved toward Jesus. Was he curious, fascinated, or hungry for inspiration? Something was at work in Zacchaeus' life, stirring within him to amend his life.
Friends, the desires of goodness and integrity in our lives are good evidence for God's work in our world and within each of us. God provides us with desire and continues to call us to help Him make the world a place more receptive to His good grace. We see this reality with Zacchaeus in today's reading. More poignantly, we see it as a conversion, as a change of routine, as an honoring of desires stirring within the depths of our hearts.
Question of the Day: Will you too "climb the sycamore tree" as Zacchaeus did to be seen by Jesus and invite Him into your home and your life?
Prayer: "God loved us, and sent His Son as an expiation of our sins." Amen.