31st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Ages 3-6): Seeing Jesus
(Adults, you could begin by reading the scripture passage to your child. Alternatively, read the intro to the reflection, then the scripture, then continue with the reflection.)
In the Bible, we often hear about Jesus walking with his friends from town to town. In each new town, people come out to see Jesus and to listen to what he has to say about the Kingdom of God. In the Gospel for this Sunday, one person who comes out to see Jesus has a problem. His name is Zacchaeus.
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature.
What is Zacchaeus' problem? He is too small. He really wants to see Jesus—he is so curious about him—but he is too short. He cannot see Jesus because there are so many tall people all around, blocking Jesus from his sight.
We know about this, don't we? We know about wanting to see, but being too small. We know how big people block us from seeing. It can be very frustrating to want to do something, but cannot because we are small.
Zacchaeus wants something very important. Zacchaeus wants to see Jesus.
We know about Jesus, too.
Jesus, the Good Shepherd.
Jesus, the Light of the World.
Jesus is someone we really want to see, too.
It would be very upsetting not to get to see Jesus because everyone is bigger, because everyone gets in the way.
Zacchaeus has a problem.
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see Jesus, because Jesus was going to pass that way.
Oh this a good plan, isn't it? Perhaps it is not the safest plan, if Zacchaeus is not good at climbing trees, but it will help him see over everyone's head, won't it? Way up high, peeking through the leaves, Zacchaeus can get a good look at Jesus.
What does Jesus do?
When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.”
Jesus sees Zacchaeus.
This is even more than Zacchaeus had hoped for!
Zacchaeus wants to see Jesus; now Jesus sees Zacchaeus!
They look at each other!
Not only that, but what does Jesus say?
Jesus calls Zacchaeus by name.
Jesus knows Zacchaeus.
And now Zacchaeus knows that Jesus knows him.
That's a lot of knowing! We remember that Jesus says,
I am the good shepherd.
I know my own and my own know me. (John 10:14)
Zacchaeus fills with joy.
So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him.
It would be so good to see Jesus and know that Jesus sees us.
It would be so good to know Jesus, and know that Jesus knows us.
Can we do this, too?
Where can we see Jesus?
We know we can see Jesus at church. We know that he is there on the altar in the bread and in the wine because he wants so much to be with us. When we gather at Mass we remember what he said and did at the Last Supper, and Jesus is with us again, in the bread and the wine.
Jesus takes the bread and says,
this is my body
and he gives them the wine saying,
this is my blood
Can we live without our blood? No! Jesus gives us his whole life!
But can we see Jesus anywhere else?
Would it not be good to have quiet, private time with Jesus? A special place, maybe a corner of a quiet room, where we can put a Bible and a small candle, maybe a picture or a cross? We could ask an adult to help us set up this special place where we can sit and be with Jesus for a short while. Maybe an adult could read a few words from the Bible, or could print Jesus' name on a card for us to look at. Then we can sit all by ourself, with no one in the way. We can look at Jesus and know that Jesus looks at us, too.