10/30/2022 (Sunday) Today’s Gospel Reading: 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 all 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.”
10/30/2022 (Sunday) Today’s Gospel Reflection: Luke 19:1-10
Most people remember Zacchaeus for his physical appearance – short in stature as the bible tells us. Yet being short in stature is not just physical. It can also be spiritual. For being sinners, we fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23-24). It can also be social. When we have a bad reputation due to some reasons, we have a low (short) standing in the community. It can also be emotional or psychological. When we have a low self-esteem, we may have some depressive moments looking at our selves as small (short) and insignificant.
Being a chief tax collector and a wealthy individual, Zacchaeus should have a large ego. Yet his behavior belies his social standing. He could have arranged a special meeting with Jesus like what some Pharisees did. However, he chose to climb a sycamore tree to have a better look which maybe a demeaning act. But God works in mysteriously ways. It was actually a defining moment for him. In God, ego as well as social standing do not matter at all. Not even public opinion. Jesus and Zacchaeus did not mind what the people were murmuring. For in God, repentance and salvation are all that truly matter. On this day, Zacchaeus showed repentance and received salvation.
It can be argued that Zacchaeus had long wanted to see Jesus. Yet despite his wealth, he cannot arrange a special meeting with Jesus because he was too ashamed of himself. The stigma of sin made him short in stature spiritually. But deep in his heart, he desired to see Jesus. So when he heard the news that Jesus is passing by, he made sure he will get a glimpse of Him. And so the bible passage, “If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me (Jeremiah 29:13)” was fulfilled in him.
On the other hand, we can also say that by climbing the sycamore tree, Zacchaeus was just himself, a proud individual trying to gain advantage over other people. That is why for salvation to happen, Jesus has to command Him to come down, a euphemism for humility. Then Jesus invited Himself to Zacchaeus house, an analogy for opening up. In Revelation 3:20, it says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will have supper with him, and he with me.”
Indeed, when we encounter Jesus, change happen. We are cut down to our real worth – a descendant of Abraham. When we open our heart to Him and repent of our wrongdoings, salvation is given to us. Then we realize that our true wealth lies not with material riches but in the grace of God that is poured out unto us when we have a deep relationship with Him.