December 18, 2017, 10:35 pm
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1 Philippine Peso = 1 Philippine Peso
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1 Philippine Peso = 151.44898 Sierra Leone Leone
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1 Philippine Peso = 413.80507 Sao Tome Dobra
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.26054 Swaziland Lilageni
1 Philippine Peso = 0.6449 Thai Baht
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.07666 Turkish Lira
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.5944 Taiwan Dollar
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.01985 United States Dollar
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1 Philippine Peso = 160.57959 Uzbekistan Sum
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1 Philippine Peso = 450.55577 Vietnam Dong
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.05144 Samoa Tala
1 Philippine Peso = 11.07165 CFA Franc (BEAC)
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1 Philippine Peso = 11.49782 CFA Franc (BCEAO)
1 Philippine Peso = 2.00337 Pacific Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 4.96129 Yemen Riyal
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He found me

AT that time, Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town. Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And he came down quickly and received him with joy. When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”

***

In his native language, Zacchaeus as a name is translated “Mr. Clean”. This is ironic because everything they see in him as a chief tax collector is dirt and filth. Every Jew hated Zacchaeus because he worked for Rome, their nation’s enemy. In order to reach this top post, and to be able to keep it, Zacchaeus must be work-savvy and, as seen in today’s Gospel, also street-smart.

The big crowd following Jesus on Jericho road prevents Zacchaeus from seeing Jesus. He turns ingenuous, forgets protocol and decorum, and climbs a sycamore tree. The Scripture also makes a remark on Zacchaeus’ height – he is ‘short in stature’. Later, we will see that the real reason he was hindered from seeing Jesus earlier was not his short stature but the negative conclusions made by people about him. Zacchaeus did not belong to the crowd and had to fend on his own. It must be chillingly lonely to be on top of the sycamore tree.

What made Jesus stop at that particular spot and call out to Zacchaeus? It must probably be Zacchaeus’ desire for God that became very transparent to Jesus. He saw Zacchaeus’ burning desire for God so Jesus commands him: “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” Jesus and Zacchaeus share each other’s excitement and joy. Jesus is glad because his mission —to save the lost–is being fulfilled in Zacchaeus. On his part, Zacchaeus is overjoyed and proclaims: “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.”

There are people in today’s story who grumble and complain about the joy shared by Jesus and Zacchaeus. “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner,” complains the sad and unforgiving people. All they see in Zacchaeus is a failure of a person and a sinner, and nothing else. Jesus looks at Zacchaeus and sees him in a different way: “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.”

His own community considers Zacchaeus to be “damaged goods”, not anymore trustworthy and therefore already worthless. Jesus however sees him as a man of faith, with a faith like that of Abraham. And if God had done great things through Abraham, he can do the same for Zacchaeus, and to every lost sinner who will long and hunger for God.

The huge crowd that followed Jesus along Jericho maybe had expected only to see more miracles. Or maybe they wanted to see the face behind the miracles. Zacchaeus at least was sure why he climbed to the sycamore tree. He wanted to see his Savior. The Savior came and found Zacchaeus instead.

Can we tell ourselves that we are earnestly and sincerely seeking our Savior? Be prepared to be found by Him, as we climb our own sycamore tree.

***

– Fr. Paul J. Marquez, SSP

– (Oct. 30, 2016)
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