Grace to you!
Yesterday, I shared the story of Bartimeus (Luke 18:35-43) who was healed of his blindness, in part, because of his persistence in seeking to see Jesus. His faith trumped discouragement from others.
Today, we see a similar story. It’s about Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10). You may read my previous reflections on Zacchaeus. One may observe that just as in the case of Bartimeus, Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector, sought to see Jesus.
While Bartimeus’ obstacles were blindness and discouragement from the people, Zacchaeus’ was smallness, and the crowds who made it impossible for the short man to see Jesus. For both persons, the efforts they made counted. Bartimeus did the best he could and Jesus took care of the rest. Zacchaeus made the effort of climbing the sycamore tree to see Jesus. Jesus rewarded his effort with a promise of the gift of salvation, as well as followed him home for dinner.
Many times, we are prevented from encountering Jesus because of many factors. We have control over some and seem helpless over others. Those moments call for a little token of our effort – those little efforts we make matter. We may think they don’t, but in the pool of divine mercy, they are great opportunities of grace. Little things are crucial in the spiritual life.
Our little efforts are like the beckoning hands of a child. Those hands, no matter how little, indicate the child needs something. Or, our efforts are like the cries of the baby seeking attention from the Mom. Moms hardly ignore their baby. Even if they do, God doesn’t forget His own (see Isaiah 49:15).
A true story comes to my mind as we reflect on this. A girl was tormented by her past. She was a fallen away Catholic. She neither knew how to put the past behind her, nor how to put herself back together again. Nonetheless, she trusted that going to church could make a difference. She did. And it did.
God had already, in His great providence, set the stage for her renewal and second homecoming. She came into the church at the time the Sacrament of Reconciliation was going on. She didn’t plan it that way. It was divine providence and mercy at work. A door of grace has been opened to her.
It had been years since she confessed. She even forgot all about this grace and healing sacrament. But as she came into the church, providentially when a priest was hearing confessions, she felt God was telling her: “I am here to heal you.” She went in and confessed.
Coming out of the confessional, she felt completely different. What seemed complex, a life that seemed scattered was pulled together in a twinkle of an eye. Her joy was great and her renewed interest to go and do better was firm.
God works in mysterious ways. The little effort you make to journey with Jesus is greatly rewarded.
May God bless those little efforts we make, no matter how imperfect they may be. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.