The WORD in Other Words by Fr Samuel Clarin SVD (Philippines) for Tuesday Week 33 in Ordinary Time
Have you experienced being given an unexpected gift from someone you do not personally know‘? A religious sister invited me to visit a family I did not really know. But I was so surprised that upon leaving the house, I got a valuable gift from the couple. I was deeply moved, thankful and happy.
Zaccheus too was given an unexpected gift in today‘s gospel story: the joy of being called by Jesus which he never expected. He heard about Jesus. He wanted to meet Him. However, two conditions initially prevented him. His small physical stature made it difficult for him to have even a glimpse because he was in the midst of a huge towering crowd. Secondly, his shameful reputation, being a tax collector for the Roman colonizers, made him even smaller in the eyes of his countrymen. But because of his intense desire to meet Jesus he decided to overcome these barriers. He decided to climb a sycamore tree.
Today‘s Gospel reminds us that we have different “crowds” that hinder us from approaching Jesus in our time. That can be our busy schedule. It can be our gadgets (mobile phones, ipads, tablets and the like); at times we cannot even turn them off while attending Mass. It can be an illicit relationship. It can be a stressful decision. We need to climb up a “sycamore tree ” of regular prayerful meditation and examination of conscience, to be at peace with Jesus so that we can see for ourselves what we really need. Hopefully, like Zacchaeus, we will have an inner conversion and follow Him more faithfully.