When Jesus entered Jericho and was going through the city, a man named Zaccheus was there. He was a tax collector and a wealthy man. He wanted to see what Jesus was like, but he was a short man and could not see because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed up a sycamore tree. From there he would be able to see Jesus who had to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, ‘Zaccheus, come down quickly for I must stay at your house today’. So Zaccheus hurried down and received him joyfully.
All the people who saw it began to grumble and said, «He has gone to the house of a sinner as a guest». But Zaccheus spoke to Jesus, «The half of my goods, Lord, I give to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone, I will pay him back four times as much». Looking at him Jesus said, «Salvation has come to this house today, for he is also a true son of Abraham. The Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost».
We can approach this encounter of Zacheus with Jesus in two way. The first is to look at the way God loves us and the risk that He takes, to reach to us. It is always His initiative to come and stay with us. All that is needed from our part is to understand this invitation and appropriate it, in due time, for the maximum profit of divine grace that God desires to offer to us.
The second approach is from a human point of view and imitate the way Zacheus has approached the event, to have a divine encounter. It is here I come in help to my readers in the application of the gospel message in our daily life.
This man has some sense of self-realisation, and factually correct in all his observation. Identified his desire and knew his limits and strengths. If he finds that the height is a limit from him, he searched the way (route) Jesus will undertake and he used the means (the tree) to climb up. Once this basic home-work is done, the God takes everything unto Himself and raises us, from nothing to a height that we don’t even be able to dream. Here, a simple curiosity of this man is pushed into a personal invitation and ends with radical conversion, a total transformation. It is important that we know Jesus and with this knowledge, we too are called to engage positively. A mere knowledge is not enough for the conversion, there is a need for engagement and perseverance.
Action of the Day: Come out of your house and climb up.
«The Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost»
Fr. Enric RIBAS i Baciana
Today, I'll be Zaccheus. This personage was a wealthy man and the chief of the Publicans; I have more than I need and, perhaps too often, I behave like a Publican and forget about Jesus Christ. Amidst the crowd, Jesus seeks Zaccheus; today, amidst our world, He is precisely looking for me: «Come down quickly for I must stay at your house today» (Lk 19:5).
Zaccheus wants to see Jesus; if he does not run ahead and climbs up the sycamore tree, he will not be able to see him. I would also like to see God's deeds as much as possible!, but I'm not too sure I am willing to behave like a fool as Zaccheus did. To allow for Jesus' reaction, the disposition of the chief among the Jericho Publicans is required; and, if he does not hurry up, he may eventually lose the opportunity to be touched by Jesus and be therefore saved. Maybe I have had too many occasions to meet Jesus and maybe it is about time to be courageous, to leave home to meet him and invite him to enter me, so that He can also say about me: «Salvation has come to this house today, for he is also a true son of Abraham. The Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost» (Lk 19:9-10).
Zaccheus receives Jesus into his home, his life and his heart, even though he probably does not feel worthy of a visit like that. His conversion is total: he begins by giving up any ambition for riches, followed with the intention to share his goods and he ends up with the strong decision to impart justice, while remedying his sins. Maybe, since a long time ago, Jesus has been asking me something similar, but I did not want to hear him and turned my deaf ears; I must still be converted.
St. Maximus said: «There is nothing God loves more and pleases him best as a man converting with true regret». Let him help me to make it come true today.