I grew up near Lake Victoria - Africa’s biggest freshwater lake. It is in the same area where the Nile River starts its three-month long journey to Egypt. While I grew up near these two important waterbodies, I never really learned how to fish well. This is because good fishing is an art. It requires a specific personality and particular qualities for it to be fruitful.
Today's iconic symbols of cities include the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Big Ben in London, the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai, and the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In the first century, Jerusalem’s magnificent Temple was its icon. Every pilgrim to Jerusalem was deeply impressed by it. But Jesus wasn't impressed by what was going on in the temple. Jesus was downright angry.
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Zacchaeus was wealthy and famous. Although he was a Jew, he enjoyed power and prestige in the society of the Romans because he was a rich tax collector. Zacchaeus’, the name means, “pure and clean” in Hebrew, but ironically, in the eyes of his contemporaries, he was considered “dirty,” dirty as the lepers and harlots. However, deep within him, he had a hunger for a forgiving God. Upon hearing that Jesus was passing through his town, he ventured out and climbed up a sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of him.
“I am not a saint. I am not a saint!” “Please do not get me wrong, I am no saint either!” These common expressions tell of a popular perception of saints. They speak of an understanding of saints as men and women who are perfect in everything and as people who live an out-of-this-world life. This perception is not accurate. While there are saints who live in heaven, there are also saints on earth trying their best to live out the gospel.
I have come to enjoy watching a program on National Public Television called Finding Your Roots. Each week the program explores fascinating ancestries and family mysteries of notable guests. Guests are introduced to ancestors that go back generations and, in some instances, the ancestors are from a notable blood line.
In the Luke's Gospel we hear the moving story of Jesus meeting a woman who had a debilitating illness. For 18 years she was bent over, incapable of standing erect. Jesus saw her and simply said, “Woman you are set free of your infirmity.” He laid his hands on her and she immediately stood up and gave glory to God.