Today's Gospel: Luke 19: 1-10
I wonder why there's such a big crowd all of a sudden. Do you suppose that preacher everyone has been talking about is going to pass by? Darn, I wish I wasn't so short, I really want to see him!
Wait, I have it! I'll climb this tree. My friends will call me silly, but so what? I have to see this man!
Almost there, I can just barely see above the heads in the crowd. Wait, is that him? He's so handsome. Undoubtedly, he has worked outside, perhaps as a farmer or an artisan; he is sound in body. His smile is radiant and those eyes, the way they look at the people ... wait, those eyes, they are looking at me! All of a sudden the world is moving in slow motion. Everyone around me has disappeared and I can see only him. His eyes, piercing blue ... they are piercing my heart and my soul.
Goodness, he is speaking to me! "Zacchaeus, come down quickly for I must stay at your house."
Did I hear him correctly? My house? Is he aware of my vile reputation as a tax collector? I am an outcast in this town. Why does he want to stay at my house? I better move quickly, he is coming closer! His arms reach up for me for I am falling out of the tree in my excitement. This prophet wants to talk to me!
There. I am on the ground looking up at him. I am speechless and tingly inside. The hairs on my arms are standing up! His smile is warm, gracious and his eyes are probing. Such acceptance, such love! I have never felt that before in my entire life.
"Lord, behold, half of my possessions I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over."
Did I really just say that?
I couldn't help it. I love him.
If you were Zacchaeus, what would feel like gazing at Jesus? Would it change your heart in an instant as it changed his?
Oh Lord, how I long to see you face to face! I yearn for You more and more each day. But I know I have to wait until the day You call me home. In the meantime, Lord, help me to remain close to you and to love everyone I meet the way that You did. Amen.
Copyright 2014 Susan Bailey
About the Author
Susan Bailey is the author of River of Grace: Creative Passages Through Difficult Times (Ave Maria Press), and Louisa May Alcott: Illuminated by The Message (ACTA Publications), part of their Literary Portals to Prayer series. Along with her blogs Be as One and Louisa May Alcott is My Passion, Susan writes for the Diocese of Worcester newspaper, The Catholic Free Press.