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Doctrines & Morals

Salvation has come to your home

2 Macc. 6:18-31, Lk. 19:1-10. Today’s readings give us accounts of individuals who were willing to publicly witness to their allegiance to God. The aged Eleazar, a Jewish Scribe was respected by his contemporaries for willing to die rather than defile himself by eating meat forbidden by the law of God. The Greek ruler passed a law that people had to eat swine’s flesh, which is against the Jewish faith. Eleazar’s friends pull him aside and suggested he substitute another meat for swine’s flesh and therefore obey his conscious and still appear to be doing what the Greek oppressors requested. Eleazar stood firm in his faithfulness without pretence. He would not give false impression, especially to the youth who would think that he had deserted the ways of the Jewish faith. He was flogged to death as a witness to his relationship with God. Like Eleazar the Psalmist is threatened by his opponents, yet stood firm with his faith in God.  
Such great faith is rewarded in today's Gospel, as Jesus continues His journey to Jerusalem. He passes through Jericho. There, a short tax collector heard that Jesus is passing by. The tax collector, named Zacchaeus, heard about Jesus and wants to see Him, but two things prevented him from seeing Jesus. First, he was short and cannot see through the crowd. Secondly, since he was a tax collector, he was despised by the people who refuse to let him get in a position where he can see Jesus. Using some of the cleverness he has as a tax collector, but doing something unbecoming for a man of his position, he ran ahead of the amassing crowd and climbed a sycamore tree. As Jesus pass under the tree, He looks up and spies Zacchaeus. He calls Zacchaeus by name and orders him to come down from the tree. Jesus then informs him that He will be eating at his house that day. At the dinner, Zacchaeus professes his new found belief in Jesus and shows that he is committed to change in his life. First, he promises to give half of his wealth to the poor. Secondly, he promises to refund fourfold anyone whom he has cheated. What is fascinating about the conversion of Zacchaeus and the other story in today's first is how important it is to be a witness to what we believe. We must publicly stand up for our faith, as Eleazar did, the Psalmist and Zacchaeus. Obviously Eleazar gave the ultimate sign of martyrdom by being willing to die rather than go against his relationship with God. 

May the Lord strengthen our faith and help us to be willing to stand up for what we believe! Amen!! Good morning and have a gracious day!!!

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