Reflection: Tuesday of the 33rd Week

Mass: Tuesday, November 17, 2009
First Reading: 2 Mc 6:18-31
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 3:2-3, 4-5, 6-7
Gospel: Lk 19:1-10

In keeping with this week’s theme of how our daily scriptures connect with the movie industry, we are given a simple message based on the lives of two leading actors: Eleazar and Zacchaeus.

In the first reading, we find Eleazar, the 90-year old scribe, given the opportunity to escape the death penalty by eating pork—thus demonstrating loyalty to the king and renouncing his own religion. Instead of escaping the death sentence, Eleazar remained faithful to the practices of his religion and, because of his faith, was tortured and killed.

What compelled Eleazar do to such a thing?

In the Gospel, we find Zacchaeus, the wealthy, chief tax collector of Jericho, climbing a tree to get Jesus’ attention while passing by. When Jesus tells Zacchaeus that he will dine at his house, Zacchaeus announces publicly, “I’ll give half of all my possessions to the poor and repay back anyone who I extorted money from 4x as much!”

What compelled Zacchaeus to do such a thing?

Indeed, Eleazar and Zacchaeus are powerful central figures in their respective ‘movies.’ Both performed extraordinary acts by taking a leap of faith. Inspired by their examples, we, too, can be asked the same question: What compels us to do extraordinary things on a daily basis—such as dedicating our lives to the service of Mary’s mission? What fuels our efforts to do the best we can with limited resources? What encourages us when the challenges of life become burdensome and difficult?

Like Eleazar and Zacchaeus, may what compels us to do extraordinary things on a daily basis be our response—through our words and actions—to the many blessings that God gives us.

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