November 7, 2018
Dear Family of Mary!
“…That is why I call you, apostles of my love: you, strive to look to the very depth in human hearts and there you are certain to find the little hidden treasure. To look in this way is mercy from the Heavenly Father. To seek the good even where there is the greatest evil-to strive to comprehend each other and not to judge-that is what my Son is asking of you. And I, as a mother, am calling you to listen to Him….” (November 2, 2018)
Jesus was able to comprehend the people He encountered, it seems, with perfect perception. He could look into the very depth of a human heart. He knew when someone was secretly seeking His Father. Jesus could look past the human categories that separate us one from another. He could see the smallest spark of good and call it forth. Yesterday we read from the Gospel of John about the woman caught in adultery. We contemplated Jesus’ wise response to the crowd. He who is without sin… Today let’s read about Zacchaeus, the very short tax collector and see what kind of treatment he gets from Jesus:
He entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector, and rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not, on account of the crowd, because he was small of stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was to pass that way.
And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” So he made haste and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it they all murmured, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.”
And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded any one of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:1-10)
Here we find Jesus in public again, walking through Jericho. People were all around him, the curious, the needy, and the critical. Clearly Jesus’ fame had preceded Him. Zacchaeus was really intrigued. He wanted to catch a glimpse of Jesus, but he was not big enough to power his way to the front of the crowd, and he was not tall enough to see over the heads of the onlookers. So he decided to climb a sycamore tree.
For once, Zacchaeus’ wealth was no help. He had to humble himself and climb a tree! But Jesus doesn’t miss this humble act. “When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, make haste and come down; for I must stay at your house today.'” Jesus looked into Zacchaeus’ eyes probably in much the same way He looked into the adulterous woman’s eyes. He looked deeply, and with love. He knew Zacchaeus, probably better that Zacchaeus knew himself. And He invited Himself for the night!
Jesus came to stay!! What a shock for all the people watching. They murmured. They thought they knew Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was a sinner. No holy rabbi would stay with him…
And of course Zacchaeus spoke up, when he heard the murmuring. He owned up to his ill-gotten gain, and vowed to return what was taken by fraud, and give the rest to the poor. Having met Jesus, he no longer loved wealth. He loved Jesus and wanted to live a righteous life. Conversion was called forth instantaneously, through meeting Jesus.
Jesus found the treasure hidden in Zacchaeus, and called it forth. As with the woman, Jesus saw in Zacchaeus the real treasure within, the desire for God. All their false desires dissolved in an instant! They had found what they were looking for.
Notice how in both stories, the onlookers were judgmental and even scandalized by Jesus’ mercy and acceptance of the sinners. They had not learned to look with Jesus’ eyes of mercy, and could only see the surface of things. Jesus could see the good even where there was great evil. And Jesus could call forth that good. In doing so, Jesus also delivered them both from the evil they had chosen. He could deliver them from sin.
We may have a lot to learn before we can look with the eyes of mercy at our neighbors. But we can start by observing Jesus in the Gospels. He can teach us mercy. I notice that in both stories the mercy of Jesus does not cover up the sins of either person. Jesus does not gloss over sin, but confronts it by His presence, and calls forth a conversion. Sin is evil and not to be tolerated. But love will win!
Thank you, dearest Mother for calling us to this beautiful path of love that you walked with your Son, and which you both walk even today. Help us to follow you and learn from you the way of love.
In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
© Mary TV 2018