Tuesday of the 33rd Week of the Year

Luke 19:1-10

Zacchaeus the Tax Collector


For a simple act of welcoming, Jesus gave Zaccheus a new freedom, deep joy and trust. Enlightened by the holiness of Jesus, Zaccheus expressed his yearning for a fresh start. His thirst for a clean conscience became transparent and same to his house that day.

The gospel today is for me a living reminder of Jesus’ presence in the midst of any situation in life. He is constantly “passing by.” After my day’s work among the sick and elderly Sisters, I spend time in the Chapel even late at night. I want to be there in case Jesus passes by for me. There I thank him for all the graces I received, ask his forgiveness for my failures and pray for the grace of a fresh start. This helps me see each new day as a joyful anticipation of encountering Jesus in my healing ministry. (Sr. Marie Bernard, SSpS Bible Diary 2002)


One quality of God is initiative which means he initiates moves to save us. This is clearly proclaimed in the classic words of Paul to the Romans, “…while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (5:8). Before we even realize our needs, God is there providing them already. And even in doing good things, God has already inspired us to do them. God initiates the move.

The case of Zaccheus however seems to be an exception to this. Before Jesus could reach out to him, Zaccheus beat him by climbing a sycamore tree and initiated contact with him. What this man did in order to see Jesus must have flattered because this tax collector was a wealthy man and must have been known figure in town.

Wealthy and famous personalities do not climb trees to see something; in the Philippines famous characters have reserved seats on the stage. Could you imagine for example senators, congressmen, mayors, showbiz celebrities, priests, bishops, climbing a tree just to see the Pope pass in his armored vehicle? Only the type of Nora Aunor would wait down the stage for her name to be called be called before she climbs the stage. Only the type of Zaccheus would climb a tree for someone he perceived was worth losing his poise.

Jesus was embarrassed by the action of Zaccheus, because the latter initiated the move; Jesus knew that the man put one over him. He could not let this pass unrepaid. So Jesus decided to also lose his poise: he invited himself to the house of Zaccheus. Normally, no sane person invites himself/herself to the house of someone he/she has just met. And yet Jesus could not be outdone in generosity.

To people like Zaccheus who may be short in body but tall and big in heart, Jesus, the Son of God, visits: ‘Today salvation has come…” to this man. (Fr. Atilano Corcuera, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


Genuine and authentic conversion means abandoning things that would hinder one in following Jesus.

Those who follow Him shall bear witness to His goodness and might. Where there is light, there He is. Once you’ve found it, stay on with it. Let not darkness have a chance over it. With him, there maybe death in flesh but life eternal in spirit.

All the best things He has given unto man. But should darkness come as in problems weighing him down or things going wrong, he must trust Him, remain faithful to Him. For with Him, everything will come to light. (Fr. Jojo Caballes, SVD Bible Diary 2005)


Why do we ask the priest or deacon to bless our house or other properties? Every time this question is asked, people offer varied answers such as, “for our house or property to be spared from fire, natural calamities and the like.” ‘To make it special and memorable due the presence of the priest.” While this can’t dismissed as invalid answers, one thing has to be remembered and that is the value of responsibility. This means that blessing of the priest on a house for example becomes effective only when we do our part in making it a “blessed house,” a haven of love, peace, respect, sharing and other kingdom values. A blessed house is a meeting place between the “human” and the “divine.” The same can be said of Zaccheus when Jesus paid him a visit. When the grace of God came upon him, he did his part by promising to reform his life (leaning his past life and misdeeds behind). His conversion was concretely expressed. We have a share of that Zaccheus in us who needs to be touched and be visited by God in he home of our hearts for conversion to happen. But it does not stop there;  we are given the responsibility to do our part in making such a conversion concrete and sustained. ( Fr. Jun Javines, SVD Bible Diary 2006).


A friend once told me that she was shocked to hear about priests celebrating Mass at the Bureau of Internal revenue (BIR) headquarters, home to allegedly corrupt tax collectors. She was almost fuming as she demanded to know why priests were not prophetic enough to dress them down and lecture them on social justice and Divine wrath instead of currying favor with them. I retorted that the people attending these Masses, in all fairness, are not the wealthy officials but rather normal and everyday employees who earn their livelihood from this mammoth government agency.

My friend’s sentiment echoes the aversion that the Jews had towards tax collectors who betrayed their own people not only by serving imperial Rome but also by exacting an extra surcharge to fill their own pockets. Zacchaeus was such a persona non grata, midget in stature and living in splendid isolation as head of the Roman BIR. Ironically, his name means, “pure and clean” in Hebrew, but in the eyes of his contemporaries he was considered as “dirty” as the lepers and harlots. Deep within him, however, was a hunger for a forgiving God. Upon hearing about this man, Jesus, he ventured out and climbed up a sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of him. The Lord knew that Zacchaeus, like every person, harbored basic goodness in him. Jesus took the initiative and called Zacchaeus by name, much to the consternation of self-righteous people around. There were no words of condemnation or lectures on social justice which might have driven Zacchaeus further up the tree! By entering Zacchaeus’ house and dining with him, Jesus entered the inner chambers of his heart restoring his alienated self to dignity.

Too often we are harshly judgmental in our attitude towards others and ourselves. We keep purifying ourselves in order to be worthy of the Lord. The shocking thing is that God loves the sinner just as much as he loves the saint. Shocking indeed, but also liberating to know that salvation comes primarily from God’s initiative and not from our own vain efforts of self-justification. (Fr. Oliver Quilab, SVD Bible Diary 2009)


November 15, 2016 Tuesday

Nowadays it is common that we receive texts or email messages telling us to our surprise that we have won a huge prize money. Surprise turns to quandary when we realize that we have not joined any sort of contest or lottery. All of these are of course scam and many are duped, reversing the luck and blessing into misfortune.

The experience of Zacchaeus is different. Only wanting to see Jesus, it was far from his mind that he would be the lucky guy among those who wanted a glimpse of this rising miracle worker. His prize was more than money could buy, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”

But what made Zacchaeus deserving of Jesus’ special and instant blessing? It was not his riches earned through dishonesty as a tax collector. It was rather his sincere desire to see Jesus. Seeing Jesus in this case is not merely a simple getting a glimpse of how Jesus looks but a burning and genuine desire to go back to the righteous path. Climbing a sycamore tree was expressive of this desire for conversion, not minding the embarrassment he would get from those who would nd his action ridiculous. Ridiculed by his town mates, Zacchaeus declared his decision to amend his sinful ways, repaying fourfold those whom he had extorted money. Any genuine conversion is always matched with a corresponding action.

When Pope Francis visited the Philippines in January last year 2015, countless Zacchaeuses lined up, climbed trees and buildings, braved either the scorching sun or the soaking rain in order to get a glimpse of this man with the mercy and compassion of Jesus. Countless of us were touched, blessed and transformed. (Fr. Raul Caga, SVD | DWST, Tagaytay City Bible Diary 2016)



TUESDAY OF THE 33RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR A) – LUKAS 19:1-10. Unsa man ang tinuoray nga paghinulsol sa sala? Si Zaqueo wala na malipay sa iyang kahimtang ug nahimutangan. Anaa siya sa ibabaw sa katilingban, apan gibati siya’g dakong kamingaw. Adunahan siya, apan wala siyay kahigalaan. Mao kini ang bunga sa iyang daotang binuhatan. Karon, gusto na siyang magbag-o ug mobalik sa Ginoo. Giingnan niya si Hesus: “Katunga sa akong mga kabtangan, Ginoo, ihatag nako sa mga kabos, ug kon aduna man ganiy akoy nalimbongan sa bisan unsa, ulian nako siyag upat ka pilo.” Aron maangkon ang kaluwasan, andam si Zaqueo nga mobiya sa tanan niyang katigayonan. Pinaagi kang Zaqueo gitudloan kita sa ebanghelyo nga ang matinud-anong pagbasol pagaubanan gayod og dakong tinguha sa pag-ayo sa mga relasyon nga nadaot tungod sa sala nga nahimo. Posted by Abet Uy

LUKE 19: 1-10. What is the true repentance of sin? Zacchaeus was not happy with his situation and location. He is up to society, but she will feel great loneliness. Rich, but he had no friends. It is the fruit of his deeds. Now, you want to change and return to the Lord. Jesus said: “Half of my possessions, Lord, I give to the poor, and if I even have any fooled, he restored me four times.” To gain salvation, Zacchaeus ready to leave all that he had. Zacchaeus through the gospel tells us that sincere repentance must be coupled with a desire to repair relations damaged by sin.



Monday, November 16, 2015

TUESDAY OF THE 33RD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B) – LUKAS 19:1-10. UNSA MAN ANG TINUORAY NGA PAGHINULSOL SA SALA? Si Zaqueo wala na malipay sa iyang kahimtang. Anaa siya sa ibabaw sa katilingban, apan gibati siya’g dakong kamingaw. Adunahan siya, apan wala siyay kahigalaan. Mao kini ang bunga sa iyang daotang binuhatan. Karon, gusto na siyang magbag-o ug mobalik sa Ginoo. Giingnan niya si Hesus: “Katunga sa akong mga kabtangan, Ginoo, ihatag nako sa mga kabos, ug kon aduna man ganiy akoy nalimbongan sa bisan unsa, ulian nako siyag upat ka pilo.” Aron maangkon ang kaluwasan, andam si Zaqueo nga mobiya sa tanan niyang katigayonan. Kining ebanghelyo nagtudlo kanato nga ang matinud-anong pagbasol pagaubanan gayod og dakong tinguha sa pag-ayo sa mga relasyon nga nadaot. Sakto ang giingon, “True repentance involves a change of heart and not just a change of behavior.” Posted by Abet Uy



JESUS ENCOUNTER – “Come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” – Luke 19:5

Our two popes, Benedict XVI and Francis, have one virtue in common:humility. The first was humble enough to resign from the papacy because he could no longer function well due to old age. The other asked the crowd in Rome to bless him first before he gave his first papal blessing.

Humility is the willingness to bow down in any circumstance. Zacchaeus, a high official of his day, was quick to respond to Jesus’ call to come down from the sycamore tree and receive the Master at his house. Right then and there, Zacchaeus encountered Jesus, felt His love and received salvation. His transformation was instant.

We don’t need to climb to the top to be able to see God. Like  in our story today, God will make the effort to meet us halfway. “The Son of Man has come to seek and save the lost.” I know this to be true when I was forced to give up my ambition to be a famous scriptwriter after I had a stroke in 2003. I humbly detached myself from mundane concerns and focused on seeking the Lord in a more intimate way, through prayer and service. Banjoy N. Santillan (pasantillan58@yahoo.com)

Reflection: “The promise (of seeing God) surpasses all beatitude… In Scripture, to see is to possess. Whoever sees God has obtained all the goods of which he can conceive.” (St. Gregory of Nyssa)

Lord, let me bow down in humility that You may live gloriously in my life forever.



UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST! – The trip to Jericho is still true for today’s tourists and pilgrims in the Holy Land. One feature of that trip is the sight of an old, big sycamore tree.

Zacchaeus was a small man, but he had huge assets as a chief tax collector. But more than this, Zacchaeus sure knew how to add more than just a few inches to his low stature. He clambered up one of those trees to catch a glimpse of the Lord who was passing by.

Those of you who have been there would know that it is not easy to climb up a tree with such a massive trunk. Presumably, Zacchaeus was able to do so with a little help from friends. After all, what were a few shekels for, if they could buy you a willing shoulder or two to step on as you move up higher, literally heads and shoulders above the rest of the crowds?

But I do not intend to bash Zacchaeus today. In fact, I intend to honor him and offer him as an example for you and me. At the very least, Zacchaeus was a man who looked actively for the Lord and did everything to achieve his dream. I really couldn’t care less how he did it, whom he used, and whose shoulders he turned into a makeshift stirrup.

But I do admire the man’s curiosity and deep interest to see the Lord, even from a distance. His desire was laudable, and his commitment and dedication to do whatever it took to catch a glimpse of the Lord even commendable.

We all have pious thoughts and desires. We come up with resolutions each time we celebrate Holy Week or Christmas, or even New Year. But often we lack resolve. Resolutions go the way of most political promises during campaign periods. We lose sight of them and we end up exactly the way we were.

We should give credit to Zacchaeus for showing an efficacious desire that was translated into concrete actions. He did all he could and used whatever he had just to see the Lord. Fr. Chito Dimaranan, SDB

REFLECTION QUESTION: When was the last time you did the utmost for His Highest?

Grant me a resolute heart, O Lord, to do my best to live as a real Christian every day.



FROM THE SAME FAT HER – “Salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.” – Luke 19:9

I had the shock of my life on my first day in the corporate world. My colleagues were rowdy, throwing profanities and obscenities at each other while downing bottles of alcohol in between puffs of nicotine — all on a weeknight.

I was a stranger to such behavior. Violence had no place at home and never had I heard my parents utter a vile word. Yes, my dad smoked but never within sight, and he would drink only socially. In high school, I was a straight-A student. In college, I belonged to a Charismatic community.

For a time, I had difficulty relating to my colleagues. I kept thinking I was a better person than they were, until conversations with them made me realize that wasn’t true. They had vices; I had my share of weaknesses. They cried out foul words; I sometimes did — in my head. They’ve had failures; I was never perfect.

The truth is, we are all the same: children of God. And because we are from the same Father, I should see them as brothers and sisters, in need of the same love and mercy I continuously ask of God. Osy Erica (osy.erica@gmail.com)

Reflection: “Let him who has no blemish be the first to cast the stone.” Let go of that stone today.

Father, You have shown me great mercy. Teach me to be compassionate towards others. Help me to love them, keeping them in my prayers and choosing not to judge. Amen.



Tuesday of the 33rd Week in Ordinary Time

Rev 3:1-6, 14-22; Lk 19:1-10

Jesus…only Jesus

Once an industrialist visited mother Theresa in Calcutta. He was amazed to see how the nuns wash the stinking wounds of the dying patients. Very often they used to take out the live-worms out of the wounds. The man said to the Mother, “I would not have done such a work even if someone agrees me to give one lakh rupees. The mother replied, “We also would not have done it for one lakh rupees if it not for Jesus.” She valued Jesus and only Jesus.

The story of conversion of Zacchaeus gives us the message that Jesus alone has got the value in our lives. Zacchaeus was a rich man who enjoyed power and prestige in the society of Romans as he was a rich tax collector. But when he got Jesus in his life, Zacchaeus valued Jesus and only Jesus and gave away his money.

Jesus is the greatest possession that we can have in our lives. In order to realise it we must initiate few steps in our lives just as Zacchaeus did such as;

  1. Desire –The first step is to have the deep desire to have Jesus in our lives. It was the desire for Jesus that made Zacchaeus to run ahead of Jesus and get ready to meet him.
  2. Willingness to climb up – Very often we are caught up with the cares and concerns of daily life that we are not willing to climb up above these concerns to meet Jesus.
  3. Courage to stand up – Zacchaeus had the courage to stand up among the people and announce his decision that he values only Jesus, not money. We often lack this courage thinking of the comments others would make of us.

When we reach a state where Jesus alone matters in our lives, and then will consider other things as rubbish as St. Paul did. St. Francis of Assisi was willing to leave away the wealth of his dad who was a silk merchant to posses Jesus. Because Jesus is the precious ‘diamond’ that the merchant possessed by selling his all wealth. Jesus is the ‘treasure-hidden-in-the-field’ for which the farmer sold even all his livelihood. The feast of dedication of the Cathedral of Peter and Paul that we celebrate today also reminds us that these saints lived their life valuing Jesus and only Jesus. Fr. Johnson Bezalel CMI



November 15, 2016

We all remember that in the Second Creation Story about the fall of Adam and Eve, the snake promised them that, if they ate of the forbidden fruit, they would become “like gods,” in the words of the snake. Such a glorious goal seemed desirable indeed, and they eagerly agreed to the snake’s suggestion. And why not? What is wrong with wanting to be like gods? Nothing, actually. In fact, as we learn from today’s first reading, making gods of Adam and Eve had been all along God’s secret dream for them—had they first refused the snake’s offer. As Christ says: “I will let the victor sit with me on my throne.” But the radical difference of perspective here is that Christ makes us “like gods” as an act of unmerited kindness, as pure grace, whereas the trouble with Adam and Eve was that they wanted to be “like gods” on their own initiative. They wanted to seize divinity by force, instead of receiving it as a gift.

God has not changed. If we try to be happy without him, it will not work. He is our only happiness, and his dream is to share his throne with us.



See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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