Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector and therefore a wealthy man, has a great desire to meet Jesus. In order to express this desire, certainly he had heard about Jesus before. He was informed of his passing through his home town. He went out and waited to see him. A lot of people also went out to meet Jesus and it was impossible for Zacchaeus to find a good spot where he could greet him. He was too short in stature and he could not make his way through the crowd. His determination, however, to know Jesus moved him to overcome the obstacle. Zacchaeus, therefore, went ahead and climbed a sycamore tree! I assumed he wasn’t just standing in that tree. I think he was screaming aloud, “Jesus have mercy on me!”
Zacchaeus achieved his goal. Jesus looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly for today I must stay at your house.” Zacchaeus received Jesus with joy. I think about the importance of speaking about Jesus to those whom we know are in need of God in their lives. Since we come from God, we are always searching for him. There are many distractions which impede people from meeting him. If we are able to foster a great desire in them to meet Jesus, they will overcome the obstacles. After meeting Jesus and gradually getting to know him, a person’s life will change. That personal encounter with Jesus fostered in Zacchaeus’ life a great generosity and a sense of justice.
People noticed that Jesus went to stay at the house of a tax collector. They chattered about it. Even that did not stop Zacchaeus from opening his life to Jesus. He knew by then that Jesus had brought salvation to his entire family. Some people may experience a similar situation. Many people know us and they know our difficulties or limitations and will speak about them. ‘Look at him, every Sunday at Mass and yet…’ But even that should not stop us from strengthening our friendship with God. We know how much we need him and we know the great difference he makes in our lives. Jesus’ words to Zacchaeus are also for us, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.” And that is what matters.
God bless you all.
Rev. Johnson Lopez
Father Lopez is Pastor of Saint Patrick Catholic Church in Rochelle, IL.