Standing at 5’2” tall, most people would describe me as ‘short.’ This is why it is easy for me to relate to Zaccheaus, who “was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature” (Luke 19:3).
When a parent notices that a child can’t see, they often carry them up in their arms or shoulders. I remember my dad would do that often for me. When we were lined up to see a parade, I had the best seat in the house. Perched up on my dad’s shoulders, I could see the whole world from a safe place. … talk about a VIP seat! But now things are different. I’m still short, but I’m a full-grown adult. Hopping up on someone’s shoulders is not a solution anymore.
I can not count the times I have been unable to see because of the people in front of me. It is even worse now; due to my disability, I must often remain sitting while others stand. Even sitting in a reserved wheelchair area, crowds often gather in front of me and block my view. They don’t intend to block me, but they do. In their eagerness to see, they miss the full picture. Not aware of my presence and how their actions affect me, they focus only on themselves and what they came to do.
Going back to the story of Zacchaeus, he was so determined to see Jesus that he found a way.
The crowd gathered was there to see Jesus, but it was Zacchaeus who was caught in His gaze. Perched high up the sycamore tree, on his VIP seat, he did not let the unfairness of the situation get the best of him. His heart was not divided; He did not lose sight of Whom he sought.
But what about the crowd? Weren’t they focused on trying to see Jesus?
I imagine that climbing the tree was not Zacchaeus’ first action plan. I can see him pleading with his fellow men, saying, “Excuse me, may I please move in front of you? I just want to see.” And like an echo from the night Our Savior was born, their voices answered saying, “Sorry, there is no room for you here.” (cf. Luke 2:7).
We cannot be blind to the needs of those around us. Not wishing them harm is not enough. We will be judged on what we failed to do. We will be judged on when we failed to love. Will we be one more in the crowd blocking the way to Jesus, or will we lift others on our shoulders so they can see?
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We are Ivonne J. Hernandez, Rick Hernandez and Laura Worhacz, Lay Associates of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, and brothers and sisters in Christ.
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