Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Luke 19:1-10 A Wealthy Man

Luke 19: 1-10 A Wealthy Man

(Click here for readings)

They say that money can solve 99% of our problems. What they neglect to say is that money causes 99% of all our problems. Jack Whittaker became the largest lottery winner in US history. At 11:00 pm, Christmas night, Jack hit the jackpot: $314.9 million. He couldn’t believe it. The winning numbers for the Christmas drawing were 53, 14, 5, 16, and 29, with a Powerball number of 7. He later told reporters, “I just want to thank God for letting the machine pick the right numbers.” Was it God or was it the devil? The Lord said, “You will know by their fruits.”

Despite having millions, Jack Whittaker lost what he prized the most: His only granddaughter. It didn’t all happen overnight, it took years. First, the assault charges then thieves breaking into his car and home, stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars on various occasions. A year after winning, he was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving. More money ($85,000) was stolen from his car. He said, “I am ready to kill somebody.” Then three more assault charges. Later in the year he was hospitalized for undisclosed reasons. Last but not least, a judge ordered Whittaker to give up his driver’s license and start substance-abuse treatment. Finally, on December 9th, 2004, Whittaker reported his 18 year old granddaughter was missing. On December 20th, her body was found near a trash can on a friend’s property.

Rich man to poor man.

Compare his life to another man’s life: Zacchaeus. This man built his fortune on dishonest wealth. He lived in his own little world, population one. He may have been the wealthiest man in Jericho. For sure, he was a powerful figure, regardless of how short in stature he was. He had power, bodyguards, and most likely any woman he could get his hands on. But man’s greatest desire was missing from his life: to love and be loved. There was no throne for him to sit on. We know that people continue to live their lives regardless of their unwanted kings. Besides, for Zacchaeus, the seat next to the throne of his tiny little empire was vacant. No one dared or cared to occupy it. Zacchaeus was not only small in stature; he was tiny in his sphere of influence. His universe was small, his world even smaller.

But by all accounts Zacchaeus appears to have been a passionate man. That is, it was easy for him to enjoy company as it was to hate it. He had a better heart than most would suspect because he was easily hurt. For this reason, he came out to see Jesus. “Whatever” was not part of his vocabulary. And if it were, it was with one eye looking forward and one leg following the crowd. He wanted to be there because he wanted to be seen – found. He climbed up the tree and reached God. Never in a million years did he expect to hit the jackpot!

The Lord appeared. He saw Zacchaeus. History was made. “I will seat the victor beside me on my throne” (Ps 15:2). The most despicable man was honored and loved by the greatest man. His life became grand! He gave half of all his possessions. That's the moment he became a wealthy man. He repaid four times what he owed and his universe exploded and continues to expand to his day.

What is the difference between poor Jack and rich Zacchaeus? I am not sure. You are more than welcomed to share your thoughts. But for me, I consider myself extremely wealthy. It appears as though Zacchaeus reached out for the Lord and gave him his wallet, while if I were a millionaire, I would be greatly tempted to reach for my wallet and throw the Lord out.


  1. When I look at the people who seem to have it all, I realize, probably after wondering what their secret is, that they too are also wounded somehow. And what is "it all"? And, who really has "it". If I would try to focus more on the importance of God, spriituality and the eternal graces I probably wouldn't wonder what the secret those that have "their it" hold. Balance. I wish I had more control over wanting what the "have it alls" seem to easily obtain. So easily I fall off my balance beam. I think Zacchaeus found his balance and Jack came tumbling down.

  2. As alluded to above, suffering is a universal experience; a result of our fallen human nature. It is also the great equalizer, defying measurement and comparison.

    I do not think money solves 99% of our problems, nor do I think it causes 99% of our problems. I think WE cause 99% of our problems, and God is the ONLY one who solves 100% of our problems.

    We all are born, and we all die. Rich and poor alike. We all have problems. What percentage of them we let God solve will determine our success in life, not the number of digits we can put next to our name.

    I pray that everyday I can win the battle for faith and trust in God. So that when I lay on my deathbed, I can say the problem of my mistakes in life has been 'solved', by a savior who is my God. And that the 'problem' of life after death has been solved because I trust in God, who is the creator of my life.


  3. Dear Fr. Alfonse,
    I think one of the differences between these 2 men is the way in which they obtained their wealth. Zacchaeus obtained his wealth by cheating man out of his money and because of this I am sure he had very few, if any friends. I think he was longing for something more and hearing about Jesus helped him to realize that something bigger than himself was out there.

    Jack on the other hand had this absurd amount of money given to him. He even thought it was a gift from God. If only he has used it to glorify God. Just think how many people he could have helped with that money! But as you mentioned “You will know by their fruits.”

    I am sure he also had people coming out of the woodwork wanting money, claiming to be his friend, using him and this all lead to his demise. Very sad!

    Just my thoughts.

  4. I agree with Jessica: WE, not the money, cause 99% of our problems. There's nothing wrong in having money if it's a product of a hard and honest work. The problem comes when you think you deserve it and that you are more than others because you have it. It happens not only with money but with all what we think we possess: beauty, intelligence, charm, fame, a good job, charisma... All these can make us very arrogant if we don't constantly remind ourselves that these are gifts from God given to us to help others, not to feed our ego for having them.

  5. Really Father??? You didn't give half of your money up to serve the Lord. You gave it all up, including your life.

    Besides what would you do with millions of dollars besides give it away? Buy gas for your car?

  6. Your last statement made me so sad.... but then I realized if you were a millionaire, you wouldn't be Fr. Alfonse, you would be somebody else, not that it would make it OK, but at least I wouldn't have to worry about you! God bless you!

  7. How do you do that? I know, I know. You are always in my prayers! :)


Updated: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. Comments must be concise and to the point.Comments are no longer accepted for posts older than 7 days.