Stretching to See God

November 16, 2021
Tuesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 3 which well might reflect the prayer of noble Eleazar from our first reading:

You, O LORD, are my shield;
    my glory, you lift up my head!
When I call out to the LORD,
    he answers me from his holy mountain.
R.    The Lord upholds me.
When I lie down in sleep,
    I wake again, for the LORD sustains me.
I fear not the myriads of people
    arrayed against me on every side.

Psalm 3: 4-7

Eleazar’s faithful character is so strong that he can look beyond his present circumstance to:

… leave in his death a model of courage
and an unforgettable example of virtue
not only for the young but for the whole nation.

2 Mc 6:31

Both Eleazar’s story and Zaccheus’s are about living in the big picture of God’s vision for us. These stories invite us to stretch beyond ourselves to see God in our circumstances.

Eleazar was a giant in the virtues necessary to “see beyond the trees” of his current circumstances. A more spiritually short-sighted person might have succumbed to the temptation to save himself at the cost of his faith and witness.

But Eleazar’s faith was long, both in years and in depth. He kept the eyes of his heart focused on that faith and was delivered beyond any short-sighted choices.


In our Gospel, we meet Zaccheus who, due to his short stature, was unable to get a glimpse of Jesus walking nearby. He wasn’t getting the whole picture – but he desperately wanted to!


Sometimes we miss Christ in our midst, don’t we? It may be because we’re “short” on time, patience, faith, attention, courage, peace, desire … you name it.

Zaccheus may have been physically short, but he was tall in will and intention to see Jesus. The trees became his tools not his obstacles.


It’s hard sometimes to see the forest beyond the trees – to direct our choices, attitudes and actions by a vision we glimpse only on the tippy toes of faith and prayer.

Perhaps these two God-seekers can inspire us today, by their courage, steadfastness and faith, to always live within God’s long eternal vision for us.


Poetry: Walking on Tiptoe by Ted Kooser

Long ago we quit lifting our heels
like the others—horse, dog, and tiger—
though we thrill to their speed
as they flee. Even the mouse
bearing the great weight of a nugget
of dog food is enviably graceful.
There is little spring to our walk,
we are so burdened with responsibility,
all of the disciplinary actions
that have fallen to us, the punishments,
the killings, and all with our feet
bound stiff in the skins of the conquered.
But sometimes, in the early hours,
we can feel what it must have been like
to be one of them, up on our toes,
stealing past doors where others are sleeping,
and suddenly able to see in the dark.

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus – written in 1922 by Helen Lemmel, sung here by Michael W. Smith

O soul are you weary and troubled
No light in the darkness you see
There's light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and free

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace

His word shall not fail you he promised
Believe him and all will be well
Then go to a world that is dying
His perfect salvation to tell

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace

O soul are you weary and troubled
No light in the darkness you see
There's light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and free

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace

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