An Unexpected Guest
Malvern Minute

 

November 21, 2017 – Tuesday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

 

Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (mpoletunow@malvernretreat.com)

 

Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)

 

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (19:1-10)

 

At that time Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town.
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.”

 

Reflect: Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house. To the surprise of many, including Zacchaeus, Jesus summoned him down from the tree and invited himself to stay at Zacchaeus’ house.  The scripture reminds us that Zacchaeus was not only a “chief tax collector” which put him in a questionable status, but also that he “was short in stature” meaning that he was far from God. Nonetheless, he had a burning desire in his heart to catch a glimpse of Jesus. Because of his profession, he, together with Jesus, was judged negatively by the onlookers. None of that mattered to Jesus. He recognized a heart that was seeking the truth and Jesus was determined to seize the opportunity to call Zacchaeus to conversion. At the moment of the encounter, Zacchaeus “received him with joy.” He was face to face with the Living God, and, despite his sinful life, his heart could not resist. He wanted to turn over his life entirely 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.” Zacchaeus not only said “yes” to God, but he embraced penance for his sins and promised to make restitution for his cheating and stealing. Today, we celebrate the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Temple. “Wherefore the angels of God are singing: ‘Behold the heavenly tabernacle!’… Wherefore let us cry out to her with all our strength: ‘Joy to you, fulfillment of the Creator’s plan!’ (Byzantine Divine Liturgy, as cited in Magnificat, p. 305)  As much as the heavens and earth rejoice for the sinless life and faith of Mary, there was, also, great rejoicing that Zacchaeus returned to God without holding back. May we have the courage to seek the Lord, repent, do penance and run to Jesus with joy! He wants to be a guest in our homes today.

 

Questions: In what ways am I falling short in my relationship with the Lord? How is Jesus calling me to repentance and reconciliation? Can I ask Jesus to help me today to find the courage to leave behind an attraction of the flesh, the world or the devil that is keeping me at a distance from the Living God?

 

Pray: Loving God, it is you that I seek. Purify my heart so that I might not hesitate in receiving you and rejoicing to be in your presence.  I pray this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.

                                                                                                             

Praise the Lord our God, for in Mary his handmaid he has fulfilled his promise of mercy to the house of Israel.

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ENCOUNTERING DIVINE PHYSICIAN (Gospel of Luke 5: 17-26)

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