FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD
31st Sunday of Ordinary Time
October 30, 2016
From the Word of the Day
When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And he came down quickly and received him with joy. When they all 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.” (Luke 19: 5-10)
How should we live this Word
Zacchaeus is a minor figure in the Gospel. He is a Publican and a sinner who appears and disappears within a few verses. Any yet, he remains a lively and unique image who attracts the sympathy of the readers. It is an amusing scene, as this short man climbs a tree to see Jesus without any one seeing him. He shows us that we can change once we encounter Jesus and thus becomes a model for us.
Jesus looked up and this gaze of Jesus is the first element of communication He used with Zacchaeus. He looked at him with divine penetrating eyes. That deep, radiant, sweet, and strong gaze penetrated his depths and moved him.
Then Jesus told him to come down because He was coming to his house today. He called him by name. Zacchaeus feels he is known personally in his deep and true identity. All the others had labeled him but did not really know him. Now he can respond and dialog with Jesus, face to face.
Zacchaeus finally opened his eyes to see in his wealth an instrument for doing good to others. He is full of joy; salvation has come to his home!
The voice of St. Ambrose
Zacchaeus was up the sycamore tree. He is the new fruit of a new season.
Istituto Maria Ausiliatrice, Via dell’Ateno Salesiano 81, 00139 Rome, Italy
Comment by Fr. Fernando Bergamelli, SDB