My Beloved the benevolent November 2018
Grace and peace wishing every goodness and blessing
Christ teaches us to care for the needy and offered us an example by taking care of each needy soul. And the needy are made up of many categories like the poor, the sojourners, the sick, the prisoners and those who don’t have anyone to remember them. But, what about the rich? Is it possible for one to be rich, but in need? And if the rich are in need, what would be their need or needs?
Christ cared for the rich as well and we see an example of this in the story of Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was a rich man and his problem was not that he was of short stature, but in the reason that made him wealthy. As St. Luke the evangelist mentions “Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was chief tax collector, and he was rich” Lu. 19:2 The tax collectors were rich but were oppressors. For the tax collector used his job to collect from people more than was allotted and this is to their personal benefit. This is why the tax collectors were hated by the people. And we see in St. John the Baptist’s ministry that the tax collectors came to him for baptism. “Teacher, what shall we do? And he said to them, collect no more than what is appointed for you.” Lu. 3:12,13
Zacchaeus the chief tax collector asked to see Jesus, for who He is. This was the outwardly need for Zacchaeus, but the real need was to whom would lead him to repentance and change him into a person who is fair and compassionate towards the poor and needy.
Christ gave Zacchaeus more than what he asked for; he asked to see Jesus and went up on a tree to see Him. As for Jesus, he had a greater and better goal thus He told him “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house. So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully.” Lu. 19:6.7 Christ our Lord said in the Book of Revelation “Behold I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Rev 3:20 Our Lord Jesus knocked at Zacchaeus’ heart and he opened and accepted Him joyfully. The acceptance of Zacchaeus to Christ was not a theoretical or emotional acceptance only but rather, a practical one. “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.” Lu. 19:8 Jesus our Lord accepted Zacchaeus’ repentance and said to him “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.: Lu. 19:9,10
We could learn from this beautiful story of a soul that repented a practical repentance:
- True repentance is the fruit of meeting with Christ the Lord the Most Holy of the holy. Darkness clears before the true light that lightens the darkness of our hearts. The light that entered Zacchaeus’ heart that was darkened by sin, enlightened his heart and mind. And changed him from a greedy, oppressive person who loved money to a fair person who returned fourfold to those he oppressed and gave half of his money to the poor.
- True repentance is a practical repentance. Zacchaeus expressed his repentance by correcting the mistake of his oppression toward others.
- True repentance is not only to stop doing evil but also to do good. Zacchaeus did not only stop oppressing people and returning what he took but took a step further and gave the poor half of his money.
- We have a mission towards every soul that is away from God to invite them to a life of repentance. Sometimes our care for the rich to help us in helping the needy, without caring for their spiritual life. If Zacchaeus gave half of his money to the poor without returning what he took from those he oppressed, Christ would not have accepted his money.
The church should not accept any money without knowing the source of the money. And should reject any money that comes from deception or oppression. As giving is a sacrifice of love and a sacrifice of love offered to God should be a pure sacrifice.
May the Lord grant us true life of repentance and a true ministry to every soul to offer our lives and our money, a pure sacrifice of love to our Lord who loved us and died for us. May the Lord bless your offering to support Santa Verena Charity programs.