Climb That Sycamore Tree: Learning How to Live From the Blind Man of Jericho and Zachaeus
"No longer do I live but Christ lives in me and the life I now live I live by faith in the Son of God." (Gal 2:19, 20) We also live "in Christ" by living in His Body, the Church, of which we are members by our Baptism.
That way of living "in Christ" is meant to become our daily reality as well. Christians are called to live differently because we live "in" Jesus Christ. We are also called to love differently, because we love "in" Jesus Christ. We are invited to "be" differently, because we are different now, at the deepest level. Jesus Christ continues His life and mission on this earth through His Body, His Church, of which we are members. (Rom. 6, Coll. 2, 1 Cor 12)
Choose to live your life in the Sycamore tree
The Sycamore tree created a clear line of vision for Zaccheus. It helped him to rise above the crowd and see the Lord clearly. It placed him in the right position for the invitation that would follow. Jesus told him to come down for he was coming to his house! Imagine the thrill. For us, the Sycamore tree is a symbol of that place in our own lives which enables us to have a clear vision of Jesus. Zaccheus did not hesitate. With the same lack of caution which he had demonstrated in climbing the tree, he came down to stand in the presence of God Incarnate. There he heard the call that would forever change his life. So may it be with all of us. When God calls we have only one choice, to respond without reserve.
Zaccheus looked foolish that day. Especially to a crowd that was so quick to judge him. It did not matter to him. In fact, looking foolish to the crowd is "part of the program". Are we willing to do so? St. Paul reminded the Corinthian Christians in his first letter: "God has chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise." 1 Corinthians 1:20-27 The Corinthians lived in a City that prided itself on its great accomplishments. It was also drunk on its own debauchery. The early followers of Jesus did not and could not "fit in." They had to be willing to look foolish. In our own day, we share a similar plight. In the midst of a culture that has seemed to have forgotten God, we are called to live differently.
Always look for Jesus Passing By
Where is Jesus passing through in our own lives? He always shows up for those who have their spiritual eyes opened to see Him. How about in our workplace? How about in our relationships? How about in our families? Are we running out to meet Him? Or are we afraid? Are we wondering "if we see Him, what will He ask of us?" The invitation of this story is to climb that Sycamore Tree; to find the place that will make it possible for us to see Jesus, unimpeded, so as to hear Him call our name. He still comes to seek and to save what is lost. He still comes to the homes of all who open their hearts wide to his presence and are willing to live lives bathed in the light of His refining fire.
When we see Jesus on the Jericho Road of our own lives we are invited to exercise our faith, to choose Him and change. He does not do the changing in the relationship. He is the same "yesterday, today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).Prayer is not, in the first instance, about getting God to do what we want. It is about entering into an intimate communion with Him and in Him, and then abiding (St. John 15). In that relationship, we invite Him to change us and we learn to surrender all to Him in love. It was the late, "great" (though he would reject the accolade) Henri Nouwen who once warned of the "lure of upward mobility"; he referred to it as the greatest sin of the age.
He spoke of God's extraordinary love, revealed in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, as an alternative, a "downward mobility." How extraordinary is this wonderful love of God and how hard it is to comprehend its invitation. The God of the entire universe came among us as a man to show us both the love of the Father and how we are now invited and empowered, through His life, death and resurrection, to live in this world and prepare for the next. Zaccheus teaches us about life in a Sycamore Tree. Let us learn to live our lives always looking for Jesus.
Let us find our own Sycamore Tree, the place from which we can seee Jesus clearly, and climb.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Zachaeus, Zacheus, Blind man of Jericho, faith, living faith, spirituality, spiritual blindness, revelation, living faith, discipleship, Christian living, Deacon Keith Fournier
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