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!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Lk 19:1-10 Please Come Down From That Tree

Sunday of the Thirty-First Week in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)

At that time, Jesus 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 Jesus...

No one is too small.  No one is that great.  No event is too small.  No event is that great.  "Before the Lord the whole universe is as a grain from a balance or a drop of morning dew.  But you have mercy on all, because you can do all things; and you overlook people's sins that they may repent" (Wis. 11:22-23). 

Zacchaeus climbed up a tree.    The Lord may overlook our sins, but he does not overlook us.  If anything, He looks out for us.

Zacchaeus may have had the body of an adult, but he still had the heart and mind of a child.  I think he was a child, through and through.  After all, he still liked to climb up trees! 

But guess what?  We are all children in heart and mind, regardless of how old we are.  We still think like children, act like children and dream like children.  We are no different from Zacchaeus. 

They say he climbed up a tree because he was short in stature.  If that is true, then I would say he also became a tax collector because he was short in stature.  What the heck, let us even say he became a tough and wealthy man because he was short in stature.  Short people tend to compensate for their shortness in bad ways.  Do you know anyone who is short and mean? 

Zacchaeus was no different.

God is our Father.  We are his children.  Zacchaeus is a child.  And like so many children, who are small in stature and like to climb up trees, they can be both angels and devils simultaneously; truthful and amazingly dishonest; loving and incomprehensibly hateful; emotionally taxing and emotionally rewarding.  They may share our genes but they sure act like aliens.  Children are very interesting.  They can humble the mighty.

Zacchaeus humbled God. 

Today's readings highlight the depths and widths of God's love for His children, especially His messy ones.  Parents should take note of God's methodology for raising His children.

As a priest, I have learned three important lessons for raising children:  (1) spend quality time with them; (2) don't smack them often; (3) avoid creating any rifts between you and them.

An amazing invitation.  The Lord saw Zacchaeus.  He saw him sitting on a branch.  And he called out to him, "Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house."   The small man was overwhelmed with joy.  He could not believe it.  He could not believe the Lord was speaking to him.  He jumped down from the tree and approached the Lord.  But suddenly, from nowhere, a voice shouted out, You are a sinner!   Concerned, Zacchaeus must have stood there for a moment with his eyes wide open and thinking to himself, "What shall I do?"  So he 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."

Why?  Why was he willing to do this?  It's obvious.  Zacchaeus was willing to lose all his wealth, but not the Lord's invitation.  He would do whatever it took to have the Lord stay with him.  Lord, everything I have I will give it away, but please, please, do not leave me.  Just don't leave me.  Stay with me, Lord. 

And the Lord said to him, Zacchaeus, today I will stay at your house.

My dear parents.  Children don't want your money.  They want you.  It was not the Lord who showered Zacchaeus with money, it was Zacchaeus, his lost child, who showered the people with his money.  All he wanted was to spend some time with the Lord. 

Just yesterday, our school's volleyball team won their first playoff match of the season.  I have attended almost every single game since the start of the season.  A dad said to me, "You must really like volleyball."  I looked at him and said, "No.  I am here because our kids are here."  I have no doubt these kids will never remember a word I said in a homily, but I am equally convinced they will never forget my attendance at every volleyball game.

Spend more time with your children, and if you have to sacrifice for it, then do it.  They don't want your money.  They want you with them.

You are a sinner!  As soon as Zacchaeus' feet touched the ground he was emotionally smacked in the face by a neighbor:  You are a sinner!

But the Lord did not come to slap Zacchaeus in the face.  He came to save him from the human race. 

"You spare all things, because they are yours, O Lord and lover of souls...Therefore you rebuke offenders little by little, warn them and remind them of the sins they are committing..."   (Wis. 12:2)

Many "experts" say you should never hit your children.  I say, for every slap or spanking there should be a thousand hugs and kisses; that is, one slap for every thousand hugs and kisses.  I say this because there are some who tend to hit more than they hug, so they need a little reminder.

The Lord did not slap Zacchaeus.  He hugged him. 

Humility is the Christian's greatest weapon.  It was our Lord's stealthy drone.  The Lord did not come into the world with blasting trumpets, ready to strike.  He came unannounced and unnoticed, and only at very specific moments did He actually reveal His true identity and the purpose of His visit:  "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost."

Humility disarms enemies (sinners), and turns them into long lost friends.  Christians have been called by God to disarm the world.

Zacchaeus come down from that tree.  Avoid creating rifts between you and your children.  Heal divisions.  Strengthen family unity.  Love your children.  The Lord called out to Zacchaeus, "come down from that tree."

Avoid a rift at all cost.  Help bring someone down from whatever tree their in.

1 comment:

  1. "…you overlook people's sins that they may repent."
    Jesus knew that he had to overlook people’s sins BEFORE they would repent.

    The only people I trust are those that show me that they care about me. Those are the only people that I share in my utmost confidence. I can freely give them my heart. I know that they cannot hurt me, because I know their intention: to love me. We know innately when we have wronged others because love brings out this honesty.

    This is the power that Jesus gave Zacchaeus through one act of love: to repent.

    To dine only with him…I cannot imagine.


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