REFLECTION FOR TODAY,
November 17, 2020
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
“Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” Lk. 19:5
Every encounter with Christ in the Eucharist is a chance for our lives to be transformed in love. Zacchaeus is one of countless public sinners with whom Jesus chose to visit and dine.
Zacchaeus welcomed Jesus into his home and, in turn, repented of his former way of life as a tax collector. We also have the opportunity to receive the Lord, and to be transformed by God’s grace for greater love. What joy Zacchaeus had at receiving this invitation from our Lord. There are three things to note in this encounter.
First, Zacchaeus was seen by many as a sinner. He was a tax collector and, therefore, was not respected by the people. There is little doubt that this would have affected Zacchaeus and been a temptation for him to see himself as unworthy of Jesus’ compassion. But Jesus came precisely for the sinner. Therefore, truth be told, Zacchaeus was the perfect “candidate” for the mercy and compassion of Jesus.
Second, when Zacchaeus witnessed that Jesus came to him and selected him out of everyone present to be the one to spend time with, he was overjoyed! The same must be true with us. Jesus does pick us and He does want to be with us. If we allow ourselves to see this, the natural result will be joy. Do you have joy at this knowledge?
Third, as a result of Jesus’ compassion, Zacchaeus changed his life. He committed to giving half his possessions to the poor and to repay four times over anyone he had previously cheated. This is a sign that Zacchaeus began to discover true riches. He began to immediately repay to others the kindness and compassion shown to him by Jesus.
Reflect, today, upon Zacchaeus and see yourself in his person. You, too, are a sinner. But God’s compassion is far more powerful than any sin. Let His loving forgiveness and acceptance of you overshadow any guilt you may feel. And allow the gift of His mercy to produce mercy and compassion in your own life for others.
Lord, I turn to You in my sin and beg for Your mercy and compassion. Thank You in advance for showering Your mercy upon me. May I receive that mercy with great joy and, in turn, may I shower Your mercy upon others. Jesus, I trust in You.