On Today’s Gospel

Posted: November 19, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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If I were chosen this day to die for my Faith, would I be remembered by my family and friends to have had such dignity, piety dedication, faithfulness, integrity, humility and conviction of faith as did Eleazar! It is one thing to die refusing to profane against the Lord my God, but another to lay down my life lived worthily of Him, such that I might honour and glorify my Lord fully by my death. Will they say, “Ah here was a man who encountered and lived in the presence of our Lord!”

Zacchaeus will always be remembered as a man small in size but great in stature. What might have begun as sheer curiosity, he was then moved by a growing desire to witness the Lord such that he humbled himself to climb a tree. Jesus called out to him, sinner as he was and granted his heart’s desire to be in His presence, for then He welcomed the Lord joyfully into His home. Such was His transformation that He vowed to make good for his past mistakes fourfold and to give half of what He owned to the poor. He thus brought salvation to his home! I can only imagine how his face shone after his Master. And everyone around him would have cried out, “Ah here is a man who encountered and lived in the presence of our Lord!”

Lord Jesus Christ let me always live in Your presence. Amen

First reading

2 Maccabees 6:18-31 ·
‘I will make a good death, eagerly and generously, for the holy laws’

Eleazar, one of the foremost teachers of the Law, a man already advanced in years and of most noble appearance, was being forced to open his mouth wide to swallow pig’s flesh. But he, resolving to die with honour rather than to live disgraced, went to the block of his own accord, spitting the stuff out, the plain duty of anyone with the courage to reject what it is not lawful to taste, even from a natural tenderness for his own life. Those in charge of the impious banquet, because of their long-standing friendship with him, took him aside and privately urged him to have meat brought of a kind he could properly use, prepared by himself, and only pretend to eat the portions of sacrificial meat as prescribed by the king; this action would enable him to escape death, by availing himself of an act of kindness prompted by their long friendship. But having taken a noble decision worthy of his years and the dignity of his great age and the well earned distinction of his grey hairs, worthy too of his impeccable conduct from boyhood, and above all of the holy legislation established by God himself, he publicly stated his convictions, telling them to send him at once to Hades. ‘Such pretence’ he said ‘does not square with our time of life; many young people would suppose that Eleazar at the age of ninety had conformed to the foreigners’ way of life, and because I had played this part for the sake of a paltry brief spell of life might themselves be led astray on my account; I should only bring defilement and disgrace on my old age. Even though for the moment I avoid execution by man, I can never, living or dead, elude the grasp of the Almighty. Therefore if I am man enough to quit this life here and now I shall prove myself worthy of my old age, and I shall have left the young a noble example of how to make a good death, eagerly and generously, for the venerable and holy laws.’
With these words he went straight to the block. His escorts, so recently well disposed towards him, turned against him after this declaration, which they regarded as sheer madness. Just before he died under the blows, he groaned aloud and said, ‘The Lord whose knowledge is holy sees clearly that, though I might have escaped death, whatever agonies of body I now endure under this bludgeoning, in my soul I am glad to suffer, because of the awe which he inspires in me.’
This was how he died, leaving his death as an example of nobility and a record of virtue not only for the young but for the great majority of the nation.

Gospel

Luke 19:1-10
Salvation comes to the house of Zacchaeus

Jesus entered Jericho and was going through the town when a man whose name was Zacchaeus made his appearance: he was one of the senior tax collectors and a wealthy man. He was anxious to see what kind of man Jesus was, but he was too short and could not see him for the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus who was to pass that way. When Jesus reached the spot he looked up and spoke to him: ‘Zacchaeus, come down. Hurry, because I must stay at your house today.’ And he hurried down and welcomed him joyfully. They all complained when they saw what was happening. ‘He has gone to stay at a sinner’s house’ they said. But Zacchaeus stood his ground and said to the Lord, ‘Look, sir, I am going to give half my property to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody I will pay him back four times the amount.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek out and save what was lost.’

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