17th November 2020

Tuesday, Thirty Third Week in Ordinary Time

Memorial of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious

Rev 3:1-6,14-22; Ps 15:2-5;  Lk 19:1-10


‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ is an ancient Indian tradition of hospitality, synonymous with treating a guest like God. Luke tells us about Zacchaeus’ experience with a guest who was truly God himself – an invitation that would change his life forever!

Many times, we see in the gospels that when people asked Jesus for an instruction, he responded with an invitation. He invited them to follow the truth instead of blindly making up laws based on derivations and assumptions. He invited the young man with many possessions to leave them all and follow him. He invited the children to come and listen to him. However, this time Jesus invites himself to the house of Zacchaeus.

Why Zacchaeus? Just before this passage, Luke wrote about a blind man who gained healing by calling out to Jesus, even addressing him as ‘Son of David’. He recognized Jesus for who he truly was, God. Zacchaeus too, could not see Jesus. He climbed up a Sycamore tree to get a glimpse. In his case, it was Jesus who turned his gaze towards him and called him out of his perch. Standing amidst the herd of people who despised Zacchaeus for being a tax-collector, Jesus chose him. He accepted him, and dined with him.

What changed? Zacchaeus made haste to meet Jesus. He was excited, thrilled and overflowing with joy. On the inside, he was transformed too. He repented and committed to make restitution, without any persuasion. Something had changed inside him. Such a deep conversion can only take place when someone truly encounters God’s love. Jesus calls us also to embrace holiness as we begin to journey with him. Sometimes, we might have to call for God’s attention; amidst the chaos, we want him to hear us. He will usher us down from our high pedestals and invite himself over to dine with us, and save us.

Responsorial Psalm: To the one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne.

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