Collect for the Week: of Pentecost 24
whose sovereign purpose none can make void:
give us faith to be steadfast amid the tumults of this world,
knowing that your kingdom shall come
and your will be done,
to your eternal glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen APBA p.603
GOSPEL for the Day: Luke 19: 1-10
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.”
GOSPEL Reflection : Contributed by Kathy Allen
Imagine both his exhaustion and his commitment as Jesus travels on to Jerusalem, this time passing through Jericho. Jesus sees Zacchaeus the very much disliked – and very short – rich man sitting in a tree, so eager is this chief tax collector to see the Son of God. Few people in the Bible are shown to be as enthusiastic and joyful as Zacchaeus. It is Jesus who calls out to Zacchaeus not only to climb down but also to prepare his house as Jesus has decided to spend the day with him. Zacchaeus is over-joyed but the rest of the people are not happy. By his profession alone, Zacchaeus is scorned by others in the crowd but Jesus praises him as a true Son of Abraham.
It is Zacchaeus who tells Jesus of his stewardship – helping others, especially those that he has wronged by giving away half of his treasure and making restitution for past misdeeds. It is as if Jesus came expressly to Jericho to find Zacchaeus. This moment illuminates the joy emanating from those who believe and try to implement Jesus’ teachings. Jesus knew this man’s heart and witnessed his transformation.
Zacchaeus does not overthink his response. He is doing what he can – the Lord’s love has brought him love and he shares it. Because of his transformation, a tax collector was able to help others with an open and honest heart. We do not really know the hearts of others. Even if we are not naturally effusive, we can practice joy one step at a time and not be too quick to judge others in the process. Jesus loves us. It is only when we are transformed by God’s love, that we can transform our own lives and the life of others.
FINAL PRAYER A Gift from Julian of Norwich
For this was shown,
that our life is all grounded and embedded in love,
and without love we may not live.
In this endless love our soul is kept whole
in which endless love we be led and kept by God
and never shall be lost.