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necessary for winning great graces and the Kingdom of Heaven.
C. And the blind man said, Rabboni, that I may see.
Rabboni was the word used by Magdalen when our Lord appeared to her at His tomb. The interpreters translate it by, “My Master," or, “Master mine”. They consider it a more reverential word than Rabbi. Perhaps, too, there is more heart and affection in it.
Rabboni, that I may see. Cor Jesu amans Loving Heart of Jesus, that I may see," see myself and see Thee ; see at last all the hidden sins that have been a barrier between my soul and Thee; see all my own past sins with contrition and with hope, so that I may now find it impossible to look any longer on the faults of my neighbours; and then, at length, see also all Thy loveliness, all Thy compassion, all Thy charity, that I may love Thee, and love all men for Thy sake.
D. And Jesus having compassion on them, touched their eyes. Observe this compassion of our Blessed Saviour. How much more is He moved to great pity as He looks on the blindness of our souls! Thou sayest, I am made rich, and have need of nothing ! and knowest not that thou art wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. I counsel thee, anoint thy eyes with eye-salve that thou mayest see (Apoc. iii.).
E. And immediately they saw; and the first object that met their awakened eye-sight was the sacred face of Jesus and His eyes of mercy. Oh, what a surprise! what joy unspeakable !
Yet what is this joy and this surprise but a faint image of what is coming, if all be well with us, when we pass from this dark world and wake up in the admirable light, and find the eye of our Lord resting on us in mercy and great love, and His Sacred Heart saying, Come, thou blessed of My Father?
F. The first gaze of those dead eyes restored to life was for their God. Our God loves first-fruits. Oh, how He yearns that the first years of childhood may be kept sacred for Him! How consoled too is His suffering Heart if when we wake up from the blindness of sleep, the first glances of our souls are turned to Him !
Therefore it is that Satan makes such a persevering struggle to rob our Father in Heaven of the souls of children, those first-fruits in which He has so much delight. With what a gratitude will our Saviour welcome us if we fight a good fight for His little ones and are able to say with holy Job: I broke the jaws of the wicked man, and out of his teeth I took away the prey (c. xxix.).
G. And he followed Him, glorifying God. The blind men did not forget, as the nine lepers had forgotten, to give thanks and glorify God. They followed our Lord, it is said, to Bethany; and the Apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus, which may contain many true statements, records that a few days later Bartimeus spoke out loudly in defence of Jesus in the Prætorium of Pilate, testifying courageously, “ I was blind, He touched me, and I see ”.
H. And the people gave praise to God.
How often and often we receive greater graces from God than this cure! Every absolution, each Holy Communion, each assistance at Holy Mass, the grace of our Lady's protection. Then also, each time we are helped to conquer a grievous temptation what hearty thanks do we not owe to our Father in Heaven, Who is always bestowing favours, and always preserving us from evil?
And again, we must learn from these Galileans and these Jews also to glorify God and praise Him for the graces and blessings He bestows on others around us ; for the conversion of sinners, the call of heathens to the Church, the holiness and zeal we meet with among the faithful. Indeed, if our thanksgiving is to keep pace with the goodness of our God to us, we must carry out thoroughly the wish of Holy Church by praising and thanking Him semper et ubique--at all times and in every place.
And entering in, He walked (was walking through Jericho
(St. Luke xix. 1). A. Look at our Lord. Watch Him attentively. He is not fixing His thoughts on the fine buildings, or the fragrant gardens, or the luxuriant orchards; but walking with His face and His Heart set towards Jerusalem and Calvary. But meanwhile, as He goes, He is always seeking and saving those that were lost.
B. Men travel now so rapidly that they look upon a journey as a necessary and unavoidable break in their work, which they intend to resume when they come to the end of it. It is not so with our Saviour. His day of travelling is always a working day. He travels slowly, on foot, surrounded by His disciples, teaching them and healing the sick, and converting sinners. St. Peter afterwards, in the house of Cornelius, the first convert from the Gentiles, described these journeys of our Lord in these words: He went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed by the devil; for God was with Him (Acts x. 38).
Some pious persons pray at Mass in the morning that our Lord will during the day throw some one in their way to whom they may do good. An officer used a few years ago to tell how some words said to him by a chance companion in a railway carriage, as he was going to Southampton to sail for India, sank into his soul like a good seed, and bore fruit some years later when he was received into the Church. Many earnest prayers for the living and the dead may be said on a journey, and the providence of God may bless us by bringing near to us some one to whom we can give valuable help. To be ready for such golden opportunities we ought to study our religion well, and know how to remove skilfully prejudices and fears that stand in the way of grace. How many souls St. Francis Xavier won while journeying!
And behold there was a certain man named Zacheus, who
was the chief of the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus, Who He was, and he could not because of the crowd, because he was low of stature (vv. 2, 3).
The district round Jericho was exceptionally productive, and was a great centre of commerce. There was a flourishing trade, especially in fruits and balsams. A large revenue, therefore, went from thence to the coffers of the Roman Emperors, who, much to the disgust of the Jews, had laid on them heavy taxes. There were, therefore, many collectors of taxes in Jericho, and Zacheus was their chief. He was himself rich. For the Romans took care to select for such a post rich men who could some. times advance the money wanted by the Government, and also make up deficiencies when there were defaulters. The Chief Collector had plenty of opportunities of repaying himself with interest by extortion. No wonder that the Jews hated and despised these tax-gatherers in the pay of Rome. Probably they often had reason to chafe under the injustice practised. For we observe that when the publicans came to St. John to be baptised, and in their turn asked him, Master, what shall we do? he said to them, Do nothing more than that which is appointed to you (St. Luke ii.). That is to say, do not extort anything beyond the appointed tax.
A. And he sought to see Jesus.
The Chief Collector is not moved by a mere idle curiosity. Though he has not yet seen Jesus, our Blessed Lord has seen him and fixed His Heart on him, and has begun to draw him. With an everlasting love I have loved thee, therefore have I drawn thee, taking pity on thee (Jerem. xxxi.).
“ Prevent, O Lord, that is, forestall our actions by Thy holy inspirations; and turn Thine eyes of mercy also upon us."
B. Follow Zacheus and watch the many eager attempts he makes to see Christ Jesus. But what can one of low stature do in a large crowd such as this? A fainthearted man whose desires are not strong would give up the attempt, and go away to find comfort in a good dinner, or in counting his money, or in some pleasant conversation. But Zacheus has a strong desire.
He really wishes and wills, and has a share of that beata violentia, as St. Ambrose calls it, which bears off the Kingdom of Heaven.
A weak desire for grace falls far short of the “holy violence” with which the saints fought their good fight.
Blessed Mother of God, obtain for us a strong will for good, that we may continue to ask, to seek and to knock till we receive and find, and till the door is opened to
Call to mind certain desires we have felt at times at Holy Mass which seemed so fervent that we wondered why they were not granted. How long did they last? We went to our breakfast, we read the news, we busied ourselves about some trifles, and we found our consolation and contentment in these things. The passing desires of the morning have vanished. Strong desires do not pass away so quickly. Rachel yearning for her lost children could not be consoled by other things.
And running before he climbed up into a sycamore-tree, that
he might see Jesus, for He was to pass that way (v. 4). A. For He was to pass that way.
When Herod wished to see the child Jesus, not in order to adore Him but to kill Him, our Lord knew well how to elude his search. The Wise Men were directed to go home by another road. So now, too, our Saviour, Who knows all things, could, if so minded, change His route and disappoint the chief of the publicans. But He has no will to do that. He Himself is inspiring Zacheus and directing his endeavours. When we are doing work that God has inspired and chosen for us, He assists us and