Very Rev. John Hemsing
St. Francis de Sales Seminary

The Lord be with you.

And with your spirit.

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.

Glory to you O Lord.

At that time, Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town. Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said, "Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your home." And he came down quickly and receive him with joy. When they all saw this they began to grumble saying, "He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner." But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, "Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over." And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the son of man has come to seek and to save what was lost."

The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.

Today in the gospel we hear the wonderful story of Zacchaeus and Jesus we heard how Zacchaeus, a tax collector and a wealthy man wanted to see Jesus. The only problem was that Zacchaeus, the scriptures tell us, was a man small in stature. He found himself in a crowd of people, all who were following Jesus so it was quite clear that he could not see above the crowd to see Jesus. Zacchaeus ran ahead of the crowd along Jesus' route and he climbed a sycamore tree he was then able to see Jesus Zacchaeus really made an extra effort to see Jesus. Zacchaeus not only saw Jesus, he had an encounter with Jesus and was saved. This story could be a story for any one of us. We too want to see Jesus but so often our lives can be so crowded with so many things we can have fears or ambition or greed or doubts or anger or resentment. Maybe concerns about employment or retirement we may worry about our families or we worry about world events all these things seem to cloud up and crowd our lives. We may even have struggles with debt or have health problems all these things can crowd up our lives and keep us from truly seeing Jesus. In our faith we need to climb above these things in our crowded lives to see and encounter the Lord. Zacchaeus was able to climb not just the sycamore tree but the tree of faith, above those things that really didn't matter. He was touched by Jesus and it changed his life for the better. May we also climb that same tree of faith, above the crowdedness of our lives and come to truly encounter Jesus.

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