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Jan 31st
Home Sections The Daily B.R.E.A.D. The desire to meet Christ. Employing the necessary means
The desire to meet Christ. Employing the necessary means PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 04 November 2007 04:23

The readings for today's Mass focus our attention once more on God's infinite mercy. It is logical that the Church should give so much emphasis to this ineffable reality. What could be more important than the mercy of God? It is the fountain of our hope. We creatures are very much in need of divine pardon. We do well to remind ourselves frequently that the Lord is full of mercy.

In the First Reading, the book of Wisdom presents God's goodness and love for all creation and especially for his sons and daughters: And how, had you not willed it, could a thing persist, how be conserved, if not called forth by you? You spare all things because all things are yours, Lord, lover of life, you whose imperishable spirit is in all. Little by little, therefore, you correct those who offend, you admonish and remind them of how they have sinned, so that they may abstain from evil and trust in you, Lord.1

The Gospel relates the meeting between Jesus and Zacchaeus.2 The Lord was passing through Jericho on his way to Jerusalem. At the entrance to the city Jesus had cured a blind beggar of his affliction. The beggar had won his cure because of his faithful, persevering prayer to Jesus, despite the admonitions of the crowd. Once Jesus had entered the city, the streets were thronged with people. There amidst the crowd was one of the senior tax collectors, a wealthy man who was well known in Jericho. The Roman Empire had no officials of its own for the collection of taxes: in each country it used local people for this purpose. These were free to engage agents. The global amount of tax for each region was specified by the Roman authorities; the tax collectors levied more than this amount, keeping the surplus for themselves: this led them to act rather arbitrarily, which was why the people hated them. In the case of the Jews, insult was added to injury by the fact that the chosen people were being exploited by Gentiles.

St. Luke tells us that Zacchaeus was anxious to see what kind of man Jesus was, but he was too short and could not see him for the crowd. Yet he eventually got his wish by putting to one side any concern he might have had for public opinion: so he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus, who was to pass that way. Zacchaeus must have had a burning desire in his heart for him to put his reputation at risk by this kind of behavior. What a wonderful example he gives to each one of us who share his longing to see Jesus, to remain with Jesus. Let us take advantage of today's prayer to examine the sincerity and vigor of our desires. Pope John Paul II has commented on this passage: Do I want 'to see Christ'? Do I do everything 'to see him'? This question, two thousand years later, is as relevant as it was then, when Jesus passed through the cities and villages of his land. It is a relevant question for each of us personally today: Do I want to? Do I really want to? Or do I perhaps rather avoid the encounter with him? Do I prefer not to see him and do I prefer him not to see me at least in my way of thinking and feeling? And if I already see him in some way, then do I prefer to see him from afar, not drawing too near, not venturing before his eyes so as not to perceive too much ... so as not to have to accept the whole truth that is in him, that comes from him - from Christ4

1. Wis 11:25-26;12:1-2

2. Luke 19:1-10

3. The Navarre Bible, note to Matt 5:46

4. John Paul II, Address, 2 November 1980

With permission from Scepter UK. Short excerpt from IN CONVERSATION WITH GOD by Francis Fernandez. Available at SinagTala or Totus Bookstore 723-4326 or at

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