Memory of the Mother of the Lord

Share On

Memorial of the dedication of the Roman basilicas of Saint Peter’s in the Vatican and Saint Paul’s outside the walls

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

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

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus enters Jericho. Archaeologists say it is the most ancient city in the world, like a symbol of every city. Actually, Jericho is a decisive destination in “Jesus’ journey;” the last stop before Jerusalem. Situated on the border of Perea, it was a strategic point for the Roman authorities in Palestine. It was not difficult to find imperial officials, army men and tax collectors there. Jesus is not distracted when he enters the city; as we often are when we walk along the streets of our cities. He always pays attention to the people. He knows that everyone needs love and salvation. No one is a foreigner to his heart. He feels he is the shepherd of all. Only in the Gospel of Luke do we find the story of Zacchaeus, a tax collector, a noted sinner who nevertheless wanted to see Jesus. We could say that the evangelist wants to identify a sort of religious restlessness in the soul of that rich and sinful man. Zacchaeus, however, was small of stature. He was a little like us who are too close to the earth, too preoccupied with our material things, and walking looking down. Zacchaeus however had a spiritual restlessness that led him to climb a little higher for only then could he see Jesus. To do so, it is not enough just to make a slight adjustment, like standing on tip toe, but remaining where one is. To see Jesus we need to rise a little higher, to get out of the muffled confusion of the crowd, to go beyond the habits and customs in which we often get comfortable. If we remain with eyes focused of the hearth, we continue to be prisoners of ourselves and of the mentality of the world. Zacchaeus climbed a tree. This was enough. In fact, it was Jesus who saw him. If earlier Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus, then just the opposite happened. It was Jesus who raised his eyes and saw. Whoever seeks the Lord—no matter how or where they are m—that person has already been found by Him. The entire spiritual tradition of the Church confirms that we would not seek Jesus if we had not already been found. Jesus, passing under the sycamore tree, raised his eyes, saw Zacchaeus and called him by name: he invited him to come down and asked him to host him in his house. This time the rich man did not go away sad; just the opposite, he came down in a hurry and welcomed Jesus in his house. After this encounter with Jesus, Zacchaeus was not as before: he was happy, had a new heart and was more generous. In fact, he decided to give half of his goods to the poor. He did not say, “I give all that I have.” Half was sufficient. Everyone, in fact, must find his and her measure. What counts is to follow the Lord. The story of Zacchaeus invites each of us to welcome the Lord and find our own measure in love.