Arulvakku

31.10.10 MAN IS PRECIOUS

Posted under Reflections on October 30th, 2010 by

 He came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town. Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house." And he came down quickly and received him with joy. When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying, "He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner." But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, "Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over." And Jesus said to him, "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."  (Lk 19:1-10)

 

 

Zacchaeus from Jericho was a wealthy man; he was a chief tax collector. Tax collectors by nature were after money. Tax collectors made money on the side, in addition to their legitimate collections. Since he was the chief tax collector he also made money from the tax collectors working under him. So nobody liked him, in fact every despised him. Wherever money changes hands, the hands all too easily get dirty. Whenever money speaks then honesty, respect and human dignity are silenced.

 

This Zacchaeus, who was greedy and after money, was inquisitive about Jesus. Jesus looks through him and beyond his sickened heart. Jesus once again finds himself relaxing with the wrong sort of people. Zaccaeus had no respect for people and human dignity was not the type of thing that he cared for. Jesus respected him and gives him the dignity that he should have.

 

There is repentance in the person. Repentance is not just the change of heart. In the right sense of the word, here repentance means restoration. Zacchaeus does so lavishly. More than just restoring the wrong things that he had done he begins to have respect for the poor (half of his wealth to the poor) and give fourfold the people whom he has cheated (values human dignity). Man is precious than money including Zacchaeus. 

30.10.10 PLACE OF HONOUR

Posted under Reflections on October 28th, 2010 by

On a sabbath he went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully.

 He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table. "When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him, and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, 'Give your place to this man,' and then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place. Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, 'My friend, move up to a higher position.' Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted." (Lk 14:1,7-11)

 

 

Jesus is there in the house of one of the leading Pharisees for a dinner. There would have been many who were invited for the dinner besides Jesus and Jesus would have watched those who were choosing places of honour at table. He also would have noticed the host going around allotting places for the guests as they arrived and giving them places of importance according to their roles in he community.

 

Jesus also would have seen the embarrassment caused because of movements of people from higher places to lower and esteem expressed by the movements from lower to the higher places. There were faces gleaming with joy and there were dull faces with sadness. Preferences and positions are part and parcel of everyday life in a society. A man in a society has to live with all these.

 

If one wants to live in a society with gleaming face then he should by himself choose to be humble. The places are given by someone else and it is his choice to give the place of honour to whomever he wants. It is not the right of the guest to choose the place of honour. So if the guest wants to gleam with joy then he should lower himself in front of the others. 

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