Daily Devotional for December 3 – 9
Luke 19:Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2 Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up [a]and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, [b]make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 So he [c]made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. 7 But when they saw it, they all [d]complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.”
8 Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.”
9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Prayer: We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.
*Sub Tuum Praesidium
Navarre Commentary on Zacchaeus..
Zacchaeus was a tax collector and, as such, was hated by the people, because the tax collectors were collaborators of the Roman authorities and were often guilty of abuses (cf. note on Mt 5:46). The Gospel implies that this man also had things to seek forgiveness for (cf. vv. 7-10). Certainly he was very keen to see Jesus (no doubt moved by grace) and he did everything he could to do so. Jesus rewards his efforts by staying as a guest in his house. Moved by our Lord’s presence Zacchaeus begins to lead a new life.
Zacchaeus wants to see Jesus, and to do so he has to go out and mix with the crowd. Like the blind man of Jericho he has to shed any kind of human respect. In our own search for God we should not let false shame or fear of ridicule prevent us from using the resources available to us to meet our Lord. “Convince yourself that there is no such thing as ridicule for whoever is doing what is best” (J. Escrivá)
Prayer: O Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things, Treasury of good things and Giver of life: Come and dwell in us, and cleanse us of all impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.
Navarre Commentary on Zacchaeus..
This is a very good example of the way God acts to save men. Jesus calls Zacchaeus personally, using his name, suggesting he invite him home. The Gospel states that Zacchaeus does so promptly and joyfully. This is how we should respond when God calls us by means of grace.
8 Responding immediately to grace, Zacchaeus makes it known that he will restore fourfold anything he obtained unjustly — thereby going beyond what is laid down in the Law of Moses (cf. Ex 21:370. And in generous compensation he gives half his wealth to the poor. “Let the rich learn”, St Ambrose comments, “that evil does not consist in having wealth, but in not putting it to good use; for just as riches are an obstacle to evil people, they are also a means of virtue for good people” (Expositio Evangelii sec. Lucam, in loc.). Cf. note on Lk 16:9-11.
10 Jesus’s burning desire to seek out a sinner to save him fills us with hope of attaining eternal salvation. “He chooses a chief tax collector: who can despair when such a man obtains grace?” (St Ambrose)
Prayer: Holy angel of the Lord by guardian, pray to God for me.
Luke 19:11 Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. 12 Therefore He said: “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten [e]minas, and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.’ 14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us.’
15 “And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. 16 Then came the first, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned ten minas.’ 17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’ 18 And the second came, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned five minas.’ 19 Likewise he said to him, ‘You also be over five cities.’
20 “Then another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. 21 For I feared you, because you are [f]an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ 22 And he said to him, ‘Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. 23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’
24 “And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.’ 25 (But they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas.’) 26 ‘For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 27 But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.’ ”
Prayer: Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed by Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Navarre Commentary on the Minas…The disciples had a wrong concept of the Kingdom of heaven: they thought it was about to happen and they saw it in earthly terms: they envisaged Jesus conquering the Roman tyrant and immediately establishing the Kingdom in the holy city of Jerusalem, and that when that happened they would hold privileged positions in the Kingdom. There is always a danger of Christians failing to grasp the transcendent, supernatural character of the Kingdom of God in this world, that is, the Church, which “has but one sole purpose — that the Kingdom of God may come and the salvation of the human race may be accomplished” (Vatican II, Gaudium et spes, 45).
13 The “mina”, here translated as “pound”, was worth about 35 grammes of gold. This parable is very like the parable of the talents reported in St Matthew (cf. 25:14-30).
Prayer: O Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Lord, blot out our sins. O Master, pardon our iniquities. O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities for Thy name’s sake.
Navarre Commentary on the Minas…
God counts on our fidelity in little things, and the greater our effort in this regard the greater the reward we will receive: “Because you have been in pauca fidelis, faithful in small things, come and join in your master’s happiness. The words are Christ’s. In pauca fidelis! . . . Now will you neglect little things, if heaven itself is promised to those who mind them?” (J. Escrivá, The Way, 819).
24-26 God expects us to strive to put to good use the gifts we have received — and he lavishly rewards those who respond to his grace. The king in the parable is shown to be very generous towards these servants — and generous in rewarding those who managed to increase the money they were given. But he is very severe towards the lazy servant, who was also the recipient of a gift from his lord, who did not let it erode but guarded it carefully — and for this his king criticizes him: he failed to fulfil the just command the king gave him when he gave him the money: “Trade till I come”. If we appreciate the treasures the Lord has given us — life, the gift of faith, grace — we will make a special effort to make them bear fruit — by fulfilling our duties, by our hard work and doing apostolate. “Don’t let your life be barren. Be useful. Make yourself felt. Shine forth with the torch of your faith and your love.
Prayer: Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us. (3X)
The invention of the willing, or of the reluctant hardships, which constitute the meaning of the cross, takes away pleasure and abolishes its active movement. According to the spiritual law, human debts incurred in this life are being paid off with the onslaught of willing or reluctant hardships.
The result of all human activity has two elements: pleasure and pain. Pleasure always comes first since the ailing intention prefers it or rather actively looks for it. Every transgression or wrongful deed, which in essence is sin, occurs for the sake of some kind of satisfaction, which in essence is pleasure. In order to abolish pleasure, or rather to pay for it, one must undergo hardships and sorrow caused either willingly by repentance or by any other painful way allowed by God’s providence.
(Elder Joseph of Vatopaidi)
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.