REFLECTION FOR TODAY
November 16, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
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 who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So, he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. Lk. 19:1-3
As a chief tax collector and a rich man Zacchaeus seemed to have it all, but he was lacking in one thing money and successful profession cannot give. He was a wealthy man, materially, but interiorly he was poor and in need. And it was this spiritual poverty he was experiencing that led him to seek out Jesus with much determination.
Zacchaeus probably wasn’t the obvious candidate for discipleship, and he never would have imagined that Jesus would offer to come to his home. Clearly, he climbed the tree to get a glimpse of Jesus because he felt a strong desire to know our Lord. Since he was physically wealthy, it seems clear that he no longer was satisfied in life simply because of a comfortable lifestyle. Something was missing, and he couldn’t help but know that Jesus held the answer. So Zacchaeus did what some may have thought unusual. He climbed the tree to see Jesus.
Jesus knew Zacchaeus and was waiting for him to clime the sycamore tree for a better view so, He stop and him down, stating that He was going to stay at Zacchaeus’ home. Jesus was able to sense the need within the heart of Zacchaeus. Hearts that are poor, in need, and open are very attractive to Jesus. He never misses the opportunity to come to humble souls like this.
Zacchaeus was so moved and touched by the encounter that his whole turned around. He responded by promising to right the wrongs he has done in the past. He promises to give away half of his possessions and to repay anyone he has extorted fourfold. This reveals the authenticity of Zacchaeus’ heart.
As Jesus passes by you, what does He sense? Is He drawn to your heart? Is He drawn to you because of your interior disposition of humility and need? Zacchaeus’ encounter with Jesus was an experience that stirred his conscience into giving half his goods to the poor and to go far beyond the legal requirement for restitution.
Encountering Jesus should make a difference in our lives. It should shake us to the core and move us to be more generous with others we meet. Jesus is on the lookout for each of us, even as we are searching for him. Does that seem impossible? No, it is not. We need to remember how salvation came to Zacchaeus and he reached out for more of Jesus.
Reflect, today, upon the fact that you have the ability to draw Jesus to yourself. You can do this by looking at your need for Him. Do not hide it. Climb the figurative tree by which you will be able to look for Jesus and, more importantly, by which Jesus can see your manifest desire for Him. As you express your need for Him, know that He will be compelled, by His unshakable love and mercy, to come to you and to stay with you in the house of your soul. And when He does, be ready and willing to abandon all that has been a hindrance to your meeting with Christ in the past.
Lord, You are always aware of every heart that longs for You. You never ignore those who desire You in their life. Please help me to see my own interior needs and struggles and to see You as the only source of fulfillment in life. I commit myself to seeking You out, dear Lord. And as You come to me, I commit to abandon all that has kept me from You in the past. Jesus, I trust in You.