October 31, 2010 - Readings and Commentary
Wisdom 11: 22-12, 2
22Though many are strong, you alone always overcome. And who will withstand the strength of your arm?
23 For, like a tiny grain on a scale, just so is the world before you, and like a drop dew before dawn, which descends upon the earth.
24 But you are merciful to all, because you can do all, and you dismiss the sins of man because of repentance.
25 For you love all things that are, and you hate nothing of the things you have made; for you would not have created or established anything that you hated.
26 For how could anything endure, except by your will? Or what, having been called by you not to exist, would be preserved?
27 Yet you spare all things, because they are yours, O Lord, who loves souls.
1 O how good and gracious, Lord, is your spirit in all things!
2 Therefore, those who wander afield, you correct, and, as to those who sin, you counsel them and admonish them, so that, having abandoned malice, they may believe in you, O Lord.
2 Thessalonians 1: 11-2:2
11 Because of this, too, we pray always for you, so that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may complete every act of his goodness, as well as his work of faith in virtue,
12 in order that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, in accord with the grace of our God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 But we ask you, brothers, concerning the advent of our Lord Jesus Christ and of our gathering to him,
2 that you not be readily disturbed or terrified in your minds, by any spirit, or word, or epistle, supposedly sent from us, claiming that the day of the Lord is close by.
Luke 19: 1-10
1 And having entered, he walked through Jericho.
2 And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. And he was the leader of the tax collectors, and he was wealthy.
3 And he sought to see Jesus, to see who he was. But he was unable to do so, because of the crowd, for he was small in stature.
4 And running ahead, he climbed up a sycamore tree, so that he might see him. For he was to pass near there.
5 And when he had arrived at the place, Jesus looked up and saw him, and he said to him: “Zacchaeus, hurry down. For today, I should lodge in your house.”
6 And hurrying, he came down, and he received him joyfully.
7 And when they all saw this, they murmured, saying that he had turned aside to a sinful man.
8 But Zacchaeus, standing still, said to the Lord: “Behold, Lord, one half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have cheated anyone in any matter, I will repay him fourfold.”
9 Jesus said to him: “Today, salvation has come to this house; because of this, he too is a son of Abraham.
10 For the Son of man has come to seek and to save what had been lost.”
Overview of the Gospel:
* In this Sunday’s Gospel reading, Jesus is passing through the town of Jericho as he makes his final journey to Jerusalem. As he does, a chief tax collector, Zacchaeus, clamors to have a look at him, even to the point of climbing a tree.
* As we saw last week, the Jews of that time and place regarded tax collectors as sinners and traitors. Zacchaeus himself acknowledges that he has led a sinful life (verse 8). Jesus, however, calls Zacchaeus by name, and asks that he be invited home to dine with him—that very evening. The response of Zacchaeus is immediate and joyful (verse 6).
* As usual, Jesus scandalizes the Pharisees by the company he keeps and they begin to murmur against him (verse 7; Matthew 9:10-13)). Zacchaeus defends himself (to the Lord, not to those who were grumbling) and pledges restitution over and above the requirements of the Jewish Law (Exodus 21:37—22:1-3; Numbers 5:5-7).
* Jesus himself offers no excuses. He simply states the reason that he was sent into the world—to seek out and to save sinners (Matthew 9:13; John 3:16-17).
* In the First Reading, the writer of the Book of Wisdom tells us that God is mindful and cares for the least of his Creation, and extends mercy to all who would accept it. How does this apply to Zacchaeus? How does it apply to you? How do you apply it to others?
* In the Second Reading, what are the gifts that St. Paul prays that God may bless the Thessalonians with? What power is going to supply these gifts? Possessed of these gifts, what event does Paul warn them not to become preoccupied with?
* Where else in the Scriptures do you see the town of Jericho mentioned (Joshua 2:1-7, 6; Mark 10:46; Luke 10:30)? What do you imagine this town to have been like?
* How does Zacchaeus compare with the rich official (Luke 18:18-30) in his approach and response to Jesus? How did Zacchaeus show himself to be a true son of Abraham (Luke 3:12-13; Romans 4:12)?
* Why does Jesus dine with Zacchaeus? Why does this bother others? Do you think Jesus’ words (vv 9-10) stopped the crowds’ muttering?
* Where did Jesus first find you? (Up a tree? Out on a limb?) How did he get you to join him?
* What was Zacchaeus’ attitude toward his own dignity in his desire to see Jesus? How willing are you to make a fool of yourself so that salvation may come to your house? What wrongs do you need to make right?
Why does Jesus dine with Zacchaeus? Why does this bother others? Do you think Jesus’ words (vv 9-10) stopped the crowds’ muttering?
Our Lord see an "unclean" sinner actually seeking Him out. Remember, back then a "tax collector" was usually not only an extortionist (skimming off some for himself and passing the rest on to Caesar,) but since he collected taxes for the Roman authorities against his own people, the tax collector was seen as a "traitor" to his people. A very bad sinner!
Me––I personally don't think our Lord stopped the crowd from muttering. Hey! How'd you feel on April 16th after you just got dinged a hefty tax? Here right in front of your face was "the tax man!" Mighty hard for we humans to forgive––but that's what Jesus did.
Jesus knows Zacchaeus wants mercy and forgiveness. (If we are wise, don't we all want this? How far must we go "out on a limb" to seek the Lord?)
Poor Zacchaeus. He had plenty of money, goods, physical things. I think he had to be awfully lonely. He longed for love and truth.
The "establishment" of the Pharisees tried justifying themselves, telling the crowd: "This guy, Jesus, can't be the Messiah of God since he hangs around with trash and we all realize a person is known by the company he keeps. So this Jesus charachter hangs around with sinners! How can he be God?" This really bugged them; really bothered them.
...well, that's the point, guys! Jesus came to save us––the sinners! As our Lord spoke to us: people in good health don't need a doctor––only sick people. People are "sick" when they are in sin. The Lord gives a blessing and forgiveness to Zacchaeus, telling him that his search for forgiveness has yielded great reward. Seek and ye shall find.
Zacchaeus was lost, but now he is found....he's seen, met, touched and served a meal to the Messiah they have longed for and searched for.
what lovely symbolism––the "tree" which we first see in the Garden of Eden, now here...and as our Lord is now slowly walking his way to Calvary––He sees the Cross––our tree of life and salvation!