Memory of the Poor

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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

Jesus arrives in Jericho, the most ancient city of the world, symbol of every city. Jesus is not distracted and hurried as we generally are when we walk the streets and squares of our cities. Jesus is always attentive to people. Zacchaeus a tax-collector, and well-known sinner, wanted to see Jesus, but he was short in stature. He was a little bit like all of us who are close to the ground, too concerned with our things and therefore unable to see Jesus. It is not sufficient to make some adjustments, maybe rising on our tiptoes, and yet remaining where we are. We need to climb a little higher; that is we need to leave the confusion of the crowd. Zacchaeus climbed a tree. This gesture was enough. And it was Jesus who saw him. Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus but the opposite occurred. Jesus lifted up his eyes; he called Zacchaeus and invited him to come down and to host him at his house. This time the rich man did not go away sad, on the contrary he came down quickly and welcomed Jesus at home. After the meeting with Jesus, Zacchaeus was not the same: he was happy and had a new, more generous heart. He decided to give half of his possessions to the poor. He did not say, “I give everything.” Zacchaeus’ story invites each of us to welcome the Lord and to find our own measure in charity.