This Week's Reflection

White Tree
Oratory of Divine Love Reflection 599: Curiosity, freedom, and acceptance: A Reflection on Luke 19: 1-1

 

1 He came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town. 2 Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, 3 was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature.

4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way.

5 When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 And he came down quickly and received him with joy.

7 When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.”

8 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.”

9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19: 1-10)

 

Each of us has a family story, unique, personal – perhaps heard many times and in the telling, there is a dynamism of bonding, a sense of tradition and of belonging and we need that. St. Luke recounts a family story, one that is common to all of us because it is about one of our ancestors in our family of faith – he belongs to us and we belong to him – Zacchaeus the tax collector who was short in stature.

In reflecting on this Gospel, three words came to mind – I’m sure there are more but I’ll keep to these three: curiosity, freedom, and acceptance. There was a curiosity on the divine and human levels: Zacchaeus curious to see Jesus and Jesus to see him – it was a “must”! There was freedom: Zacchaeus had the freedom to climb a tree and it did not matter what others thought and Jesus who had determined to proceed to Jerusalem had the freedom to stop – you might say, just to see Zacchaeus. And then there was acceptance: “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” Perhaps, jumping down Zacchaeus received Jesus “with joy.”

Jesus’s final words crown this meeting: “Today salvation has come to this house…” to this man, short in stature and also short in another way. In his humanity Zacchaeus is limited by his history, his choices, failures, imperfections, and yet, Jesus, Salvation Incarnate, comes to him, stays with Him, and dines with him and his friends. Zacchaeus could have said, “Why me?” and Jesus could have replied, “Why not!” I have come to and for people like yourself, people in need and desirous of true life.

Like this ancestor in faith, we are short, limited in our souls by original sin, history, choices, etc., etc., and yet none of these deter the Lord, Salvation Himself, from coming to us as He does in this gathering of faith – through the proclamation of the Sacred Word, through the celebration of this Holy Eucharist. Jesus has been called “This Tremendous Lover” and so He is for us. Because this is what it means to be God, our God. For conviction, for belief in our God that in accepting Him we grow in love, the love that consumes us.

The best commentary on Scripture is Scripture itself – we hear it in the reading from Revelation: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice, and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him and he with me.”

--Fr. John Denburger, OCSO

 

 

Quote from a Saint: “Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you, and a hope of finally embracing you.” – St. Thomas Aquinas

 

Prayer: Lord, help me to daily seek You and to increase my life of faith through prayer.  May my prayer help me to receive Your holy and perfect will into my life.  Jesus, I trust in You. Amen.

 

Questions for Reflection:

 

  1. Discuss the quote: “Like this ancestor in faith, we are short, limited in our souls by original sin, history, choices, etc., etc., and yet none of these deter the Lord, Salvation Himself, from coming to us as He does in this gathering of faith.” What does the Lord’s willingness to come to us in our “shortness” say about the nature of God? Of Salvation? About our worth as children of God?

  2. If you were an onlooker to Zacchaeus’ interaction with Jesus what would have been your reaction?

  3. What can we do during Mass to make ourselves more able to receive God when he comes to us through the Liturgy of the Word? The Liturgy of the Eucharist?

  4. How do we show curiosity in our spiritual lives?

  5. Have you ever done anything out of curiosity for the Lord without caring what others thought?

  6. In what way does our freedom allow us to act upon that curiosity? How does this bring us closer to Jesus?

  7. What does receiving Jesus with joy look like in your home? How does this reception influence how you live your life?

  8. What does it mean that “in accepting Him we grow in love, the love that consumes us?” What aspects of our lives are consumed by His love? Does the concept of being consumed by love cause you discomfort? What areas of your life do you need to surrender to God’s love?

--Kristen Rinaldo