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"I am here to see you ..."

Entrance Antiphon: Ps 38(37):22-23 — “Forsake me not, O Lord, my God; be not far from me! Make haste and come to my help,

O Lord, my strong salvation!”

First Reading: Wis 11:22 – 12:2 — “You have mercy on all because You love all things that are.”

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 145:1-2, 8-9, 10-11, 13-14 — “I will praise Your name for ever, my king and my God.”

Second Reading: 2 Thes 1:11 – 2:2 — “May the name of Christ be glorified in you and you in Him.”

Alleluia: Jn 3:16 — “Alleluia, alleluia. God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might have eternal life. Alleluia, alleluia.”

Gospel: Lk 19:1-10 — “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”

Communion Antiphon: Ps 16(15):11 — “You will show me the path of life, the fullness of joy in Your presence, O Lord.”

Traveling Broadway performances are often proclaimed as “must see” shows in their advertisements. Speaking from experience, sometimes the traveling version of the production is a lot better than the original New York performances. The Kimmel Center in Philly has had some awesome performances ... the revival of West Side Story, Wicked, and Hamilton just to name a few. When a show gains enough popularity, patrons might travel a great distance or pay a very high price just to see what everyone is talking about.

In this weekend’s Gospel, by the time Zacchaeus hears about Jesus, it’s clear that Jesus had become a “must see” kind of person. The miracles and healings Jesus performed had gained Him quite a following, so much so that Zacchaeus was unable to find a decent sightline in the crowd. Undeterred by his lack of height, he was determined to get a good look at Jesus and so he resolutely obtained a bird’s eye view in a now-famous sycamore tree. Just as we might be willing to watch a sold-out Broadway show from a theater balcony, Zacchaeus somehow found a way to see Jesus.

But imagine if that “must see” person shouted up to us on the balcony, “I am here to see you!” This is essentially what Jesus said to Zacchaeus. Even though Jesus originally intended to pass through Jericho, he could not resist staying with the tax collector. Once Zacchaeus opened his heart to seek the Lord, Jesus revealed his desire to seek him out. The key was that Zacchaeus made himself visible to Jesus. Rather than hide from Jesus because of his sins or shortcomings, he placed himself fully in the sight of the Savior.

Like Zacchaeus, we are called to seek out Jesus, knowing that He is also seeking us. This mutual “seeking” is what ultimately produces a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ. When we seek out Jesus in prayer and the Sacraments, we come to know Him personally and allow Him to know us personally. In prayer, we allow ourselves to be seen by Him and have our lives transformed by His closeness to us. Jesus isn’t content with us watching Him from a distance. He calls out to us and says, Come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house. Even if we have a sinful past like Zacchaeus, Jesus’ desire to stay with us remains the same.

It’s so important to recognize Jesus’ desire for us and – at the same time – our desire for Him. These mutual desires are each gifts of God, so that we might fulfill our created purpose for union with Him. When we come to celebrate the Mass, these mutual desires are profoundly met in the reception of Holy Communion. And one day these desires will be fully realized for all eternity – when our joy at seeing Jesus face to face will only be surpassed by His joy at seeing us.

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