Tuesday, November 18, 2003> >
Dedication of the Churches
of Sts. Peter & Paul
St. Rose Philippine Duchesne
humility in pride's place
Jesus "looked up and said, 'Zacchaeus, hurry down. I mean to stay at your house today.' He quickly descended, and welcomed Him with delight." —Luke 19:5-6
During Jesus' time on earth, Jericho was considered a city of affluence and arrogance. Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector of the city, fit in well with the spirit of Jericho, for he was also affluent and arrogant. However, when Zacchaeus came down from the sycamore tree he had climbed, he began to come down off his pedestal of pride, even in the midst of a city of pride.
Jesus commanded Zacchaeus to come down out of the tree and to "make it snappy" (see Lk 19:5). We naturally don't want to take orders, and we don't want to be told to hurry. When Zacchaeus obeyed these commands, he was humbling himself. Then Jesus invited Himself to be a guest at Zacchaeus' house (Lk 19:5). Naturally, we want to do our own inviting. But again Zacchaeus humbled himself. Next, Zacchaeus heard himself called a "sinner" (Lk 19:7). Jesus Himself said Zacchaeus was "lost" (Lk 19:10). No matter how lost and sinful we are, we don't want to admit it, and we don't want others to say it. Yet again Zacchaeus was humble. He humbly accepted salvation for himself and his house (Lk 19:9). He humbled himself further by promising to give half of his possessions to the poor and to make fourfold restitution to anyone he may have defrauded (Lk 19:8).
In the USA, we live in another Jericho. Our country is known world-wide for its arrogance. In this place of pride, be like Zacchaeus in humility.
Prayer: Jesus, gentle and humble of heart, make my heart like Yours (Mt 11:29).
Promise: "This is how he died, leaving in his death a model of courage and an unforgettable example of virtue." —2 Mc 6:31
Praise: Sts. Peter and Paul brought the good news of salvation and risen life in Christ to both Jew and Gentile.
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Giles H. Pater, April 24, 2003
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 28, 2003