Notice the determination of Zacchaeus in next Sunday's Gospel reading. His view of Jesus was obstructed, but that didn't stop him from seeing Jesus. He had an obstacle (the crowd) and a handicap (his short stature), but he refused to allow any of this to prevent him from reaching his goal of getting a clear view of Jesus.
In fact, Zacchaeus was so eager to experience Jesus that he did something drastic: He climbed a tree! Maybe he felt embarrassed hanging onto a tree limb; maybe onlookers thought he was odd. Maybe someone tried to talk him down. Maybe the tree was rough and tore his clothes and scratched his skin. None of that stopped him.
We all have handicaps – prejudices, misconceptions, bad training, spiritual laziness, fears and doubts, and so on – which obstruct our view of Jesus. And we all have a short stature; we are much smaller than God and cannot see what he sees in the hardships we endure. And thus we assume that Jesus has abandoned us, and we feel so very alone.
Instead, we should be like Zacchaeus. In our desire to see Jesus fully, as he really is, we should do everything possible to find a way around all obstacles and overcome all spiritual handicaps.
Notice that once Zacchaeus climbed the tree, Jesus zeroed in on him and gave him personal attention and affirmation. How did Zacchaeus respond? He QUICKLY descended from the tree and welcomed Jesus with DELIGHT. He had so much enthusiasm that he wanted to quadruple the penance for his sins!
Do you see Jesus in the Eucharist at Mass? If Zacchaeus' reaction to Christ's presence isn't our reaction, we need to climb even higher; our view is still partly obstructed.
Questions for Personal Reflection: What are you "short" on? What in your faith life is too small? What is crowding your life and obstructing an enthusiastic relationship with Jesus? And how can you overcome this handicap so that you can see Jesus and recognize his nearness and hear his affirmation?
Questions for Family & Community Faith Sharing: Name some signs of spiritual determination that you've seen in others. Why are we able to see Jesus better when we pray more fervently, sing in Mass more enthusiastically, serve others more eagerly, immerse ourselves in scripture more hungrily, care about others more cheerfully, or donate our treasures more generously?
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