A reading from the gospel according to Luke 19:1-10
1 At that time Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town.
2 Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man,
3 was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature.
4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way.
5 When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.”
6 And he came down quickly and received him with joy.
7 When they saw this, they began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.”
8 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.”
9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.
10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”
Reflection: Jesus wants to stay in our house.
Zacchaeus became a wealthy person as a chief tax collector for the Roman Empire. The people abhorred such kind of a job not only because of the corruption and abuses involved but also because it was unpatriotic. Yet within him lay a heart that was ready to be transformed. That was why when he heard about Jesus coming into town, he did everything to see who this miracle-performing man was. When he finally met Jesus, his life was never the same again.
There are several lessons to be learned here.
1. We seek Jesus only to find out that He is the one looking for us. As the Good Shepherd, He is willing to leave behind the 99 in order to look for the one who is lost. That is how much He loves us who are lost through our sinfulness.
2. An encounter with Jesus is transformative. Zacchaeus wanted only to have a glimpse of the man who was always the talk of the town. Yet when he met Him, his life made a 180-degree turn around. He is now a changed person.
3. Come down quickly. Zacchaeus was literally perched on the branches of a sycamore tree but as a wealthy man, he was also on top of his own world looking down on everyone else. For salvation to occur, he must lower himself.
4. Invite the King into our house. In the gospel story, it was Jesus who actually invited Himself to the house of Zacchaeus. JESUS WANTED TO STAY IN HIS HOUSE. For sure, Zacchaeus did not expect it but he agreed with JOY to receive Him even if he knew that his house was not prepared for the coming of an important guest. Perhaps the house was messy but that was no problem. Once Jesus was in, everything was put in order. The mess was transformed into a message of salvation.
5. People grumbled about Jesus going into the house of a sinner. People will always have something to say about anything and most of what they actually say is negative. Jesus and Zacchaeus did not mind what people had to say. Both of them were focused on the new day that had come to the house of Zacchaeus.
6. While there is life, there is hope for change. What happened to Zacchaeus will happen to anyone else. People can change. Sinners can become saints. There is hope for this world.
7. The change in the life of Zacchaeus was not only internal but also external. It involved a distribution or rather redistribution of his wealth which were mostly extorted from the people. Just imagine what happens if all the rich people today were to distribute their accumulated wealth. Can we work for policies that involve this kind of redistribution?