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Greetings to all who love to wander along the paths of the Holy Scriptures! The purpose of this blog is to share some of the insights of ordinary Catholics who have begun to delve into the mysteries of the Sacred Scriptures. Hopefully you will find these reflections inspiring and insightful. We are faithful to the Church, but we are not theologians; we intend and trust that our individual reflections will remain within the inspired traditions of the Church. (If you note otherwise please let me know!) Discussion and comments are welcome, but always in charity and respect! Come and join us as we ponder the Sacred Scriptures, which will lead us on the path into His heart, which "God alone has traced" Job 28:23.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Pass Me Not By

A reflection by Heidi Knofczynski

Whenever this Gospel is proclaimed at Mass, I always connect it with the hymn, Pass Me Not, Gentle Savior.  

Pass me not, O gentle Savior,
Hear my humble cry;
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by.

Oh, how Zacchaeus wanted to get a glimpse of Jesus,!  So much so that this man, who had a great deal of power within the community, was willing to cast aside his ill-gotten dignity and climb up a tree to do so.  An impulsive act perhaps, but Jesus, who knows what occurs in the depth of our hearts, was there at exactly the right moment.  He willingly entered this bully’s home to dine with him.  This caused much grumbling among those who had also gathered to see Jesus.

Many of those grumblers may have been scandalized by this because Zacchaeus so willingly took the side of oppression and dishonesty for his own personal gain.  But among those grumblers, there were some in that crowd who may have been deeply hurt by Zacchaeus’ unscrupulous actions.  Their honor has been stolen; stolen and misused by this little man in a tree!  Why would the healer pass by the victims in favor of the victimizer?

Let me at Thy throne of mercy
Find a sweet relief;
Kneeling there in deep contrition,
Help my unbelief.

I admit in my meditations, sometimes I find myself to be a major grumbler in the crowd.   I see myself standing in the crowd as someone wounded by that small person.  I am still struggling under the burden of the dishonor and humiliation that was heaped upon me.  I had hoped beyond hope that the Savior would reach out His hand and call me to Him, to restore what was taken.  But instead, He passed me by to get to Zaccheaus, did I deserve my dishonor?  Is there nothing about me or my sorrow that calls to His Heart?  I do not even have the strength to even want to forgive this little man you are calling on.   I start to fear my hopes; I start to doubt my Savior. Better to not hope than to be let down.

It is really hard to stay with a meditation like this, because it is so painful.  There is often so much fear that He will not respond to the pain.   And on top of that, in the background of these thoughts are the murmurings of our own guilt, because we know we have failed others.  It is easy to think: Maybe I don't deserve His attention.   Maybe I am selfish is desiring it. 

Trusting only in Thy merit,
Would I seek Thy face;
Heal my wounded, broken spirit,
Save me by Thy grace.

Listen carefully to what Jesus is saying when you start to waiver.   Allow the Lord to draw you out of your fears.  “Do you trust me?”   He speaks so softly you can miss it: “I have not passed you by.  Those who hurt you cannot truly pay their debt to you without Me. Fourfold you will be repaid. My justice surges like water and spreads its splendor like an unfailing stream. (Amos 5:24 ).

Thou the spring of all my comfort,
More than life to me,
Whom have I on earth beside Thee,
Whom in Heav’n but Thee.

Truly we should not begrudge Zacchaeus his joy at being singled out by Christ in this way; we all are a Zacchaeus to someone.  We have stolen someone’s honor, or made them feel insignificant or worse.   Mostly we do this blindly, but not always. In Him only is our hope for repaying our debts, and in Him is our only hope of recovering what has been taken from us.  Christ does not pass you by ever in indifference to your hurts!  He is always bringing you to a deeper level of healing with a stronger faith and a higher hope!

How do you relate to the story of Zacchaeus?  Are you ever worried that He might pass you by?

As Christ approaches you this Advent, let Him draw out your deepest fears and replace them with a hope that is deeper still.  Let your trust in His gentle ways cause your justice to surge like waters and flow like an unfailing stream!