As the liturgical year nears its end, the readings reflect more on the life to come. In answering the query, Jesus points out that our earthly attachments are not our focus in heaven. When we reach the next life, nothing will be as it is this world, where people live and die and marry and are given in marriage. There, the focus will be on God.
One can imagine the joy o Zacchaeus, when Jesus sees him. But the story does not end with this tax collector’s rejoicing. The next verses tell of the change of heart that Zacchaeus experienced. Not only did he say he would give half his possessions to the poor but he would repay fourfold anyone he had extorted. Upon entering Jesus, Zacchaeus was able to detach from his possessions. In the Word and Eucharist we meet Christ. Have those encounters prompted you to detach from any possessions in any way?
“LOW,” I AM WITH YOU
“The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds.” —Sirach 35:17
Clouds can be a sign of God’s presence or, figuratively speaking, a barrier preventing us from “getting through” to God. Clouds present no problem to the prayer of the lowly, for their prayer pierces the clouds.
We can surmise that the prayer of many people is not “getting through” to God, for many people pray infrequently. If they were “getting through,” they probably would be encouraged to pray always (see Lk 18:1). Who wants to keep calling a phone number when you seldom “get through”? Many of us must not be lowly, or we would be “getting through” and praying more.
Sign of not being lowly are:
- Not forgiving
- Not going to confession often
- Not submitting to the authority of the Lord through the Church
- Focusing on ourselves
Jesus is lowly — from the stable at Bethlehem to the cross on Calvary to appearing as bread and wine in the Eucharist. Be like the lowly Jesus, and your prayer will pierce the clouds.
How do we sound when we pray? A spiritual director shared that she had asked people to record themselves in their prayer. She maintained that the spiritual life could be deepened through listening to one’s prayer. For example, if a person found that in prayer, the world was blamed for problems, he or she might move blame to gratitude and humility. Praying “be merciful to me a sinner,” the tax collector stood before God with humility. He knew his place before God.