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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Memory of Zacchaeus who climbed a tree to see the Lord and received as a gift the conversion of his heart.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 19,1-10

He entered Jericho and was going through the town

and suddenly a man whose name was Zacchaeus made his appearance; he was one of the senior tax collectors and a wealthy man.

He kept trying to see which Jesus was, but he was too short and could not see him for the crowd;

so he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus who was to pass that way.

When Jesus reached the spot he looked up and spoke to him, 'Zacchaeus, come down. Hurry, because I am to stay at your house today.'

And he hurried down and welcomed him joyfully.

They all complained when they saw what was happening. 'He has gone to stay at a sinner's house,' they said.

But Zacchaeus stood his ground and said to the Lord, 'Look, sir, I am going to give half my property to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody I will pay him back four times the amount.'

And Jesus said to him, 'Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too is a son of Abraham;

for the Son of man has come to seek out and save what was lost.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

While he is walking down the road in Jericho, Jesus lifts his eyes towards Zacchaeus, a man who had climbed up a tree because he was small in stature, and calls him down. Zacchaeus was a tax collector, and hence a sinner, but he wanted to see Jesus. In this alone he is already an example for us, we who often stay down on the ground, concentrating on ourselves and our old habits. If we want to see Jesus, we need to leave ourselves and our resignation behind and let ourselves be questioned by the Gospel. In fact, as soon as he sees him, Jesus calls Zacchaeus and tells him that he wants to come to his house. If Zacchaeus only wanted to see Jesus, Jesus wants to meet him and give him salvation. At Jesus’ invitation, Zacchaeus hurries down from the tree and joyfully welcomes Jesus. This time the rich man does not go away sad, and Jesus too is full of joy. The encounter has changed Zacchaeus’ heart: he is a happy man who has a new heart. At the end of their encounter, Zacchaeus decides to give back what he had stolen and give half of his property to the poor. This is the beginning of his conversion. He is no longer the same man as before. He decides on an amount (he days not say "I will give every" but "I will give half my possessions") and then acts on it. Zacchaeus invites us not to let ourselves be dragged down by our resignation, but to welcome Jesus into our heart and to find our measure in charity.

Memory of Jesus crucified