Category Archives: Scriptural Arson

Zacchaeus

Some thoughts on last Sunday’s Scripture Readings at Mass:

St. Luke (Lk 19:1-10) tells us that as Jesus passed through Jericho, there was a man named Zacchaeus who sought to see who He was.

Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector in Jericho—a chief public sinner. “A wealthy man” apparently from extorting money.

Now a man there named Zacchaeus,
who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man,
was seeking to see who Jesus was;
but he could not see him because of the crowd,
for he was short in stature.
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus,
who was about to pass that way.

He ran and climbed up a tree… in front of people. You just didn’t do those things, especially if you’re a short dude and a chief tax collector! Yet Zacchaeus had such a longing to see Jesus that he risked looking like a fool. As my parish priest punned, he went out on a limb.

Jesus, who knew Zacchaeus before he was born, looks up and tells him get down from the tree. Jesus sought him.

“Zacchaeus, come down quickly,
for today I must stay at your house.”

And he came down quickly and received him with joy.

Now Zacchaeus really got to see who Jesus is, firsthand—a friend of sinners.

When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying,
“He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.”

But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord,
“Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor,
and if I have extorted anything from anyone
I shall repay it four times over.”

Jesus doesn’t call him out on his sins…Zacchaeus repents! As it says in the book of Wisdom: “you overlook people’s sins that they may repent” (Wis. 11:23). That verse reminds me about St. John Bosco (I just watched the movie on his life, St. John Bosco: Mission to Love), in imitation of the Lord, overlooked the sins of the kids on the street and befriended them that they might repent.

As a result of this encounter with Jesus, Zacchaeus vows to give half of his possessions to the poor. That’s not all–he’s giving back 4 times the amount to anyone he extorted from.

Jesus wanted to in stay in his house—of his heart. In our hearts.

The “Son of Man [Who] has come to seek and to save what was lost” wants us to seek Him–even if may mean looking like a fool. In seeking Him in our prayer, may we make resolutions to change.


Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament and Revised Psalms © 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

The Assumption of the Ark

In Exodus 25, God instructed Moses to construct the Ark of the Covenant. If you’ve seen Raiders of the Lost Ark you know what it may have looked like. Made with worthy materials, acacia wood overlaid with pure gold, the Ark was the sign of God’s presence dwelling among His people.

Later on in the Old Testament, King David assembles all the people and the Ark is processed into Jerusalem with great joy and solemnity.

When Jerusalem was destroyed by the armies of Babylon, the prophet Jeremiah brought the Ark to a hidden place.

Since that time no one has seen the Ark. But then in the New Testament St. John says he saw the Ark of the Covenant… in Heaven!

“God’s temple in heaven was opened,
and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple.”

– Revelation 11:19

Huh? St. John goes on to describe this Ark:

“And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars;

she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery.”

– Revelation 12:1-2

The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Woman clothed with the Sun, is the Ark of the New Covenant. God created Her without spot or stain—pure, Immaculate, that She might be a worthy God-bearer. In her Virginal Womb, the Word was made Flesh and dwelt among us!

The old Ark contained the Ten Commandments, Manna, and the Rod of Aaron High Priest. The new Ark contained the One Who IS the Lawgiver, the Bread of Life, and the Eternal High Priest.

St. Luke also “saw” the Ark when he wrote the account of Mary’s Visitation in his Gospel. Check it out:

  • King David arose and went to a house on a hill of Judah, to bring the ark (2 Sam. 6:2-3). “Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah” (Luke 1:39-40)
  • David said “How can the ark of the LORD come to me?” (2 Sam. 6:9). Elizabeth said “why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:41-42)
  • The ark stayed in a house for three months before (2 Sam. 6:11). How long did Mary stay in Elizabeth’s house? Three months! (Luke 1:56).
  • King David danced and shouted with joy before the ark (cf. 2 Sam. 6:14-15). Elizabeth’s baby leapt and she exclaimed with a loud cry before Mother Mary:

“when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit

and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”

-Luke 1:41-42

She’s the Ark of New Covenant and she is now in Heaven!

“We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool. Arise, O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength.”

– Psalm 132:7-8

Just as King David brought the ark up to Jerusalem, Jesus brought His ark, Mary, up to the New and Eternal Jerusalem with great joy! That’s the Assumption! That’s why the Ark vision of St. John and the Visitation account were read at today’s Mass of the Assumption!

God preserved Her body from the decay of death. How could He not? He created Her without sin. She put flesh on Jesus by Her willing cooperation with God’s plan of Salvation. She was His dwelling place for 9 months! GOD is never outdone in generosity! After He Ascended into Heaven how could Jesus allow His Mother’s flesh to rot in the ground? So He assumed her body and soul into Heaven at the end of Her early life! That is Catholic Doctrine.

Thanks for reading!

His yoke is easy

 

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
– Matthew 11:28-30

 

Lately this passage has been on my mind. That’s because I haven’t been devoting enough quality time for prayer. I need to come to Him because anxieties, idle cares and desires—and sins are burdensome to me, weighing me down.

 

His burden, His yoke is where I’ll find rest from mine.

 

A yoke is a wooden bar fastened around plowing oxen. A yoke is for two. Christ’s yoke is light–He picks up one side, we pick up the other.

 

Everything is so much easier if done through, with and in the One who makes all things possible. And when we unite our sufferings to His, we are carrying the Cross with Him, or rather, He is carrying us.

 

This passage “happens to be” today’s Gospel Reading at Mass. Also at today’s Mass:

 

Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, `The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, `What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?”

 

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, `I AM has sent me to you.'”
God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, `The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’: this is my name for ever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.
Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, `The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, “I have observed you and what has been done to you in Egypt;
and I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt, to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Per’izzites, the Hivites, and the Jeb’usites, a land flowing with milk and honey.”‘
And they will hearken to your voice; and you and the elders of Israel shall go to the king of Egypt and say to him, `The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us; and now, we pray you, let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.’
I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless compelled by a mighty hand.
So I will stretch out my hand and smite Egypt with all the wonders which I will do in it; after that he will let you go.

– Exodus 3:13-20

 

In the Reading, God wants to liberate the Israelites from the yoke of slavery. The liberation from Egypt points to liberation from sin—oppression of the worst kind. Moses, trying to make excuses, asks God “who shall I say sent me?” The Lord God responds with His Sacred Name “I AM”.

 

“I AM”. He is He Who IS. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says of the Name: God is the fullness of Being and of every perfection, without origin and without end. All creatures receive all that they are and have from him; but he alone is his very being, and he is of himself everything that he is. (#213)

 

God will go with us always—it’ll be Him, not us. We need to give our burdens to Him and pick up His.