Sunday, August 31, 2014

Luke 19:1-10: Accepting the Invitation of God's Grace

"For the Son of Man has come to seek
and to save what was lost." (Luke 19:10)

Read Luke 19:1-10

This passage has a deep, significant meaning for me, for I was assigned to read this passage at my first Communion Mass.  As an eight-year-old, I remember vehemently reading and and trying to memorize the passage so that my delivery would be poised and practiced.  Reflecting on those times, I vividly recall a picture of the small man Zacchaeus perched in a tree in order to see Jesus among the crowd.  That vision made a lasting impression.  

Why does this tax collector want to climb a tree to see Jesus?  Being a child myself, I was “short in stature,” so I was mesmerized by Zacchaeus’ act of ascension to see the Son of Man. The meaning, then, clicked for me.  Zacchaeus had to rise above who he was, a loathed sinner, and accept the invitation of our Lord.  But it was our Lord who sought Zacchaeus first, not the other way around.  Even more, Jesus calls Zacchaeus by name.  He already intimately knows this seeming stranger, as he does every one of us.  And if we listen carefully, Christ calls us all by name and desires to shed His mercy and forgiveness on our sins. We have to accept that grace-filled invitation, however, as Zacchaeus does, and truly repent in our hearts. 

Jesus invites all of us to faith in Him. He wants us to embrace his love and forgiveness, just as Zacchaeus does, “for the Son of Man has come to seek and save the lost.” Let us thank God daily for offering us His mercy and forgiveness and, by His grace, raising us up from our low, sinful state.