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Jesus from the Deesis Mosaic

Jesus from the Deesis Mosaic (Photo credit: jakebouma)

Luke 19:1-10 (New International Version)

Zacchaeus the Tax Collector

19 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

Source: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=luke%2019:1-10

Commentary:

This follows the Catholic liturgy for today. It’s a fairly well-known passage, one that reminds me of another passage where Jesus describes himself through an analogy of a physician who doesn’t come for the healthy but for the sick (Mark 2:17).

Why is it that when I tell some people I’m a Catholic they suddenly assume I should be a perfect person? One of the things that marks a Christian is his or her realization of imperfection. Whenever some spiritual teacher claims to be perfected or fully “realized,” a huge red flag goes up in my mind. And I admit, I usually think they’re inflated.

Inflation is a psychological term for overly identifying with the gods or God. Instead of relating to the deity, people with inflated egos actually believe they are the deity. To me, this is a sure sign of… well, let’s just say, I think it’s a good idea to remember that God comes to us in our weakness and imperfection. So anyone who thinks a Christian is a hypocrite for not being utterly sinless is just being unrealistic and uninformed.

And to be honest, I often wonder what they’re up to!

—MC

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