Daily Reflection
November 16th, 2004
Rev. Richard Gabuzda
Institute for Priestly Formation
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Searching for Something More

What, do you suppose, Zacchaeus was looking for as he climbed the sycamore tree?  Perhaps he was fascinated by the spectacle of a large crowd gathered around this stranger passing through Jericho.  But was he just looking for a “better view”?  We might imagine that, just as the crowds knew this was no ordinary stranger, so did Zacchaeus.  Far from looking for a “better view,” Zacchaeus seemed to be looking for something more.  Chief tax collectors and wealthy individuals do not easily make spectacles of themselves; no, Zacchaeus had more in mind than a better view. 

When we hear Jesus address the people of the Church of Laodicea, he quotes their own words in criticism:  “I am rich and affluent and have no need of anything.”  What makes them “lukewarm, neither hot nor cold,” is a position of self-satisfaction; they have “no need.”   The logic is simple and direct:  no need, no need for God, no way to find God.

We might imagine that Zacchaeus went looking for Jesus because, amidst his wealth and position, he still felt some need, a need for “something more.”  His spontaneous conversion which accompanies the news that Jesus is coming to eat at his house, speaks loudly about someone who has found what he was looking for.

One of the most difficult things to admit is that we have needs, that we are not self-sufficient.  In a world which proclaims the importance of needing no one, of being independent, much conversion and holiness is lost by believing that lie.  Zacchaeus encourages us to be bold in acknowledging our needs, and then to seek, to do whatever it takes to find the One without whom we have no life.

What do we need today?  Where are the holes, the places of blessed poverty that we would rather hide from others?  Are we aware of our fears, inadequacies or failures?  With them in mind, may we “climb the sycamore tree,” seeking Jesus so that we too may discover a new way of living.

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