REFLECTION: Making do, making up, moving on PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 02 December 2014 12:11



Everytime I read about the gospel story of Zacchaeus (Lk 19,1-10), I get moved and strongly reminded that in our life, with its share of blessings and misfortunes, we just have to learn to make do with whatever we have, to make up for what deficiency can still be made up, and most importantly, to move on.

Zacchaeus epitomizes this attitude. He had his share of blessings. He was wealthy, being the chief tax collector. But he also had his misfortunes. During his time, to be a tax collector is equivalent to being a sinner. Besides, he was short of stature, such that he had to climb a sycamore tree to be able to see Christ pass by.

He made use of this combination of blessings and misfortunes to do what he thought was proper. He was generous. If he cheated anyone, he said, he repaid fourfold. As to his shortness, he did not make it a hindrance to see Christ by climbing up a tree.

In short, he made do with what he had, tried to make up for whatever mistakes he might have committed, and continued to move on with his life, doing whatever good he could.

We need to cultivate this attitude. In fact, we should try to spread it around, because with all the twists and turns of our life, this is what will guide us to reach our ultimate goal, life with God in heaven, and to effectively do our part in our communal life in this world.

All this attitude should be firmly rooted on the belief that with God, everything will always work out for the good of all. His providence is abiding and so wise, powerful and merciful that even our misfortunes, mistakes, deficiencies would somehow, in some mysterious ways, be useful.

In the story of Zacchaeus, we see Christ paying special attention to him. Christ did not mind so much the not-so-good reputation Zacchaeus had among the people. He readily understood and forgave Zacchaeus for whatever mistake Zacchaeus committed.

Most importantly, he reassured everyone that he came “to seek and to save what was lost.” He did not come to condemn, but to save. In other words, if we find ourselves condemned, it’s not because of him, but rather of us.

And so we should be like Zacchaeus who, in spite of his mistakes and other misfortunes, went to see Christ, instead of running away from him. Then he just simply admitted his mistakes and misfortunes, expressed his contrition for them, did whatever needed to make up, and moved on.

We should also learn how to make do with whatever misfortune we suffer in this life, avoiding the temptation to rationalize and change something that cannot be changed without resorting to immoral means.

We have to remind ourselves that we are not expected to solve every problem we have the way we want it solved. We have to learn to live with our unsolvable problems, but always with Christ, and never without him.

That situation of helplessness can only occasion the great power and mercy of God. What is impossible to us is always possible to God. We therefore have to learn how to abandon ourselves in the hands of God, to surrender our condition to him after doing everything we could that is licit. God, in his inscrutable ways, knows what to do with our mistakes and misfortunes.

Sad to say, nowadays we are seeing a trend of not accepting things as they are. Instead, many are trying to justify their wrong understanding of things, if not their own wrongdoings. In short, they are making themselves their own god, the author of what right and wrong, good and bad in our life.

This is usually the case regarding questions of sexual or gender identity and in many other issues besetting us today, like poverty, justice, peace, environment, etc. All kinds of rationalizations are thrown in.

Yet, we have to remind ourselves that even in this kind of confusing situation, God in his mysterious ways would know how to derive some good. This is the core belief that we should have and that we should never allow to disappear.

We should try our best o clarify things, always within the bounds of charity and truth that would already include justice and mercy. And if everything is done and still the issue is still unresolved, then we have to learn to suffer.

This is where God will pull his surprises on us. We just have to learn to make do, make up and move on.