He entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way.
When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.” Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Once in a while I would see an enduring characteristic in a student that would prompt me say, “I’ve noticed you are _______. You would make a good Jesuit.” Usually students would say thanks or I don’t think so and then there is that one time when I got, “Oh, I can’t do that. I have too many possessions.” I don’t know that this student intended to quote the story of the rich young man, but he did.
Luke Timothy Johnson, in his commentary on Luke 19, reminds us “that the disposition of the heart is symbolized by the disposition of possessions.” The rich young man, who clings to his possessions, walks away from Jesus’ call. Zacchaeus, who is willing to share generously, can happily welcome Jesus.
Today, I might look to my orientation toward possessions as an insight into the orientation of my heart. Am I attached? Am I free? I speak with God about this.
—Brad Held, S.J., a Jesuit of the Wisconsin province, is currently a theology student at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. He has just come from 3 years of teaching at Red Cloud Indian School on the Holy Rosary Jesuit Mission in Pine Ridge, SD.
O our Father, the Sky, hear us and make us strong. O our Mother, the Earth, hear us and give us support. O Spirit of the East, send us your wisdom. O Spirit of the South, may we tread your path of life. O Spirit of the West, may we always be ready for the long journey. O Spirit of the North, purify our hearts with your cleansing winds.
—Sioux PrayerPlease share the Good Word with your friends!