November 15

Tuesday November 15

Opening :
Let us place ourselves in the presence of God.
Close your eyes.
Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Luke 19:1-10

At that time Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town.climbing
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.
When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said,
“Zacchaeus, come down quickly,
for today I must stay at your house.”
And he came down quickly and received him with joy.
When they saw this, they began to grumble, saying,
“He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.”
But Zacchaeus stood there and 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.”
And Jesus said to him,
“Today salvation has come to this house
because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.
For the Son of Man has come to seek
and to save what was lost.”

Reflection – By Father Kevin O’Shea
The story of Zacchaeus is found only in Luke. [The name Zakkai is found among Jews at this time – there was a famous Pharisaic Rabbi called Johanan ben Zakkai, around 80 c.e.] The Zakkai in Luke’s story is a chief tax collector – an architelones – and the word is found nowhere else in Greek literature of this time. He is in Jericho, the Jericho that Herod had set up. It would have been an important tax centre. Imports would have come through it from Perea to Jerusalem and the north. The sycamore tree mentioned in the story is really a mulberry, and was easy enough for anyone to climb.

Luke draws attention to the fact that Zacchaeus was short in stature. It sounds like a comment from the crowd. They didn’t like short people. There is a sense of inferiority in it. {Not good at anything except maybe marbles…fewer choices in life…. might as well become a jockey….compensate by using violence, getting titles, driving big cars?} At the same time, he is presented as a ‘Big Shot’ in Jericho. He may be up a tree, but he’s not up the wrong tree!

Such tax collectors often charged less than the required tax, in exchange for a bribe… You do something for me, and I will give you a good discount on your tax bill! Yes, there is the polite bribe again! He is a swindler!

Can you imagine Zacchaeus’ kids when they saw Jesus coming with him? “Look, Mum, who’s coming to our place!”

Jesus tell Zacchaeus that he must abide in his house (menein) and lodge there (kataluein) – this is more than a visit, and seemingly for a span of time greater than a few days. It suggests that while Jesus is in the area or town, Zacchaeus’ place will be where he resides. It’s more than ‘look who Jesus is having coffee with – that bad man!’ It is a time to live joyfully (chairon). The usual things that go with conversion of a rich man are there, but they are assumed rather than demanded. Zacchaeus is not interested in wealth, has given plentiful alms, has made restitution, has repented, and is clearly already a virtual disciple of Jesus.

I think this is why Luke interprets the outcome of the story as ‘salvation’ (soteria). The word, surprisingly, is not very prominent in the gospels. It largely means a restoration to a wholeness that is proper to a person, or group, or situation. Paul uses the word to mean – in the eschaton – a final deliverance and a permanent blessedness, that is something to be looked forward to in the future. In Acts, Luke uses the term to describe something already present and given – in the forgiveness of sins. Again in Acts, Luke says that this salvation will come to the Jews (primarily – it is meant so for them) through the appearance among them of Jesus, their Saviour. We hear almost those exact words in the announcement by angels to the shepherds at the birth of the saviour. To use this term, soteria, in relation to Zacchaeus means that the tax collector is no longer an outsider but a member of the renewed people of God, whom God acts to save. There is also an innuendo at least that this salvation is from wealth and the power that goes with money.

Pause for one minute for personal reflection…

1. We pray we are welcoming to the outsiders in our life. The people who are unpopular. The people we find most difficult to get along with. Lord here us.
Response – “Lord here our prayer”

2 We pray for those in our community who feel rejected. May God bring them a sense of welcoming in our community. Lord here us.
Response – “Lord here our prayer”

3. We pray for the willingness to change. To change our selves and to change our world. Lord here us.
Response – “Lord here our prayer”

Leader – Are there any other intentions?
Response – “Lord here our prayer”

Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenityserenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.