Jesus said, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And he came down quickly and received him with joy.
Aren’t we all looking for a good friend, someone who will lift me up; someone who will care for me; someone who will make me a better man, a better Christian. A good friend is not easily found.
Well, guess what? You’re it!
“The Lord upholds me! Oh Lord, you are my shield; my glory, you lift up my head. When I lie down in sleep, I wake again, for the Lord sustains me.” (Ps 3:2-6)
I have to tell you; while I was studying in Rome I had many wonderful experiences that I miss today. Some of them came from our annual house blessings. We would go door-to-door, knocking on their doors, and visiting unknown families and homes. We were very often surprised at what we found. Many homes welcomed us with great joy. Some did not. I learned a lot from these visits. I learned not to kid around too much and not to assume anything.
One day, after a few days of visiting homes, I knocked on the door and a little old lady answered. Mind you, I was in my cassock with a roman collar. I could not have looked priestlier, more Catholic than that! As soon as the little old lady opened the door, I told her, jokingly, that we were Jehovah Witnesses. Before I could smile and laugh, she slammed the door shut and never opened it again. The younger seminarian standing next to me looked at me then put his head down and shook it in disapproval. That is an example of a house visit I would love to forget.
But there was another visit I will never forget. We came across a young couple who had recently had a baby. Her unborn baby was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. She was devastated. She kept asking herself and us, “How could this be God’s Will? How could this be happening to me? Why would God allow this to happen?” I had no answers. I did not know what to say. She told us, “I am going to pray day and night that God changes my baby!” I knew that was not the answer, but I didn’t know what to tell her. I left that home feeling empty and useless.
Well, I never forgot this visit. The following year we went back to visit them. I was surprised to see husband and wife smiling and laughing as we entered their home. In their arms was their new born baby. What struck me most was how much light was in the home? Their home seemed so different. Their eyes seemed so much more brilliant. There was joy and love in their home. I thought to myself, “The doctor must have been wrong!” So I asked, “How are you doing? How is your baby?” She told me, “Do you remember how I told you that I was going to pray to every day and night that God change my baby? Well, instead of changing my baby, he ended up changing me! Look how beautiful my baby is!” I looked and saw a beautiful child with Down Syndrome.
What I appreciate most about the Lord is how he reached out to people. He never wrote off anyone. He never gave up on anyone.
Thanks be to God! Just like Zacchaeus, He never gave up on me! Let us always receive the Lord with open arms! Let us always receive His Will, His Passion, His Love, His Mercy, His Providence with faith, hope and love and joy.